The San Francisco based studio, Klopf architecture, in collaboration with mechanical engineering firm Monterey Energy Group has successfully completed a net-zero energy house in Cupertino, California. The renovation of the existing home on the site was aimed towards scoring as high as possible on the “GreenPoint Rated System.” The result is a two-story home that is filled with natural light and is capable of producing as much energy as it requires. The net-zero status of the home was achieved through features such as insulated concrete forms, structural insulated panels, high-performance windows, cementations siding and a rooftop-mounted solar photovoltaic array.
The Art Deco home situated on a Colonial Lane property in Palm Beach, and designed by architect Jacqueline Albarran recently received the LEED Platinum certification. The home was completed in November 2013, and took two years to build. This home is the first in the Palm Beach area to receive this, highest LEED certification. The building team consisted of architect Albarran, as well as the local contractor Tim Givens and Kyle Abney, a Palm City-based LEED consultant.
Solar ovens are a great way to cook sustainably, but they have the drawback of not working very well on cloudy days. However, the new SunFocus solar hybrid oven, made by Sun BD Corporation, takes care of that problem. And what’s more, you can even use this oven to cook at night. This is possible because the SunFocus oven has a hybrid solar and electric system, with the latter taking over once the sun sets or hides behind the clouds.
While living in solar powered homes is very sustainable and environmentally friendly, the materials from which most solar PV arrays are constructed are not. Since they are often made from rare natural materials or plastics, researchers are constantly looking for way to improve this flaw and make the whole package more eco-friendly. A team of scientists from the University of Maryland, the South China University of Technology, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have recently developed a type of paper, which is made from wood fibers. This paper is 96 percent transparent and could conceivably one day be used instead of the plastic materials used to construct the solar cells of today. This would make solar cells more eco-friendly as well as much cheaper.
The premade container home maker Cargotecture now offers a prefab home that is a perfect way to downsize yet retain the comforts of living in a larger space. The c-series 640 Lookout model measures 640 square feet, and features a large living area with a kitchen, a spacious bedroom and bathroom, a media room and a lofted sleeping area for guests.
When Phoenix and her 24-year old son decided to downsize they opted to move into 2 joined tiny houses built by Jeff and Brad of Portland Garden Cottages. The home is located in the Mississippi Historic District of Portland, Oregon and measures only 364 square feet. This is quite a change from their former 3500-square-foot home in Maryland, which they left behind. Phoenix and her son are much happier living in the new home, which despite its small size still fits a kitchen, living area, bathroom, an art studio and several spaces to practice yoga in.