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.
This studio house is located in the desert near Joshua Tree, CA. It has been fully converted into a cozy retreat for two, and the owners are renting it out for just that purpose. This design also demonstrates just how easily old, disused out buildings like this barn can be repurposed for modern uses. A refurb like this makes for a great vacation house, but it could also easily be used as a studio or office space for a work-from-home individual. Read more »
Late in October, 36 new homes made from recycled shipping containers began arriving in Brighton to become temporary dwellings for men and women that have had a history of homelessness.
The initiative was begun by the Brighton Housing Trust, a housing charity, and QED Estates Ltd, a housing developer. Located in New England Road on a plot that is known as Richardson’s Yard, the development is taking the place of a car park and a former scrap metal yard. Because the land is not suitable for long-term housing, the location is temporary, but the container homes can be easily relocated when the five-year permit expires.
The first team from the Czech Republic to enter the Solar Decathlon is Team CTU, made up of 26 students who set their sights on designing and building a prototype for future housing while raising awareness of solar energy, energy efficiency, and Czech architecture and engineering.
Their submission in the Solar Decathlon 2013, for which judging takes place in October 2013 in Irvine, California, is AIR House, which stands for Affordable – Innovative – Recyclable. Utilizing energy effective materials and technologies, AIR House provides a comfortable environment for older generations that appeals to the senses and respects the environment.