This 3,600 square feet home in Leon Springs, Texas is LEED Platinum-certified and features several affordable green building strategies that contribute to its net-zero water use. The homeowners asked architect Karla Greer (of Lake Flato Architects of San Antonio, Texas) for a sustainable home that celebrated nature and provided space for entertaining and energy-efficient living.
Team ASUNM, a collaborative effort between Arizona State University and University of New Mexico, has come together to address the inefficiencies of urban sprawl and to create a model for sustainable desert living that has been dubbed SHADE (Solar Home Adapting for Desert Equilibrium), which is an entry in the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition that takes place on October 3-13, 2013 in Irvine, California.
Featuring a five-story atrium lit by natural sunlight at its entrance, the expansion of the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware incorporates significant amounts of prefabricated modules and materials into its construction. Project executive and prefabrication manager for Swedish builder Skansa USA, Marty Corrado, hired Rob Whartnaby as foreman and superintendent to build 144 pie-shaped rooms and bathrooms at a warehouse, using prefab technology that has rarely been used on hospitals and high-end commercial buildings, from which they would be shipped and installed on-site.
“It’s very innovative,” said Whartnaby, in an interview with Architectural Record. “We’re relearning the trade. It’s definitely good for the unions. It’s good for the customer . . . because you’re getting the building done faster. And there’s a big safety factor. On a wet day like this, we have a very controlled environment. Nobody’s going to fall over six feet on this job.”
“This is a radical departure,” said Corrado. Pipes and ducts are built into “one big box” that is linked to headwalls, which are then pre-approved by Underwriters Laboratories prior to installation. Each box is then lifted and hung in the building. While the project is not saving significant amounts of money by using prefab technologies, the reduction in construction-related injuries is notable. “We’re still using the same amount of material,” says Corrado. “We’re fairly confident that we are using less labor, but subcontractors are still reluctant to bid less on prefab commercial jobs. The practice is that new.”
Expected to open in 2014, the expansion features outdoor views from all patient rooms, which are private, single-bed areas, each with two televisions, shower, refrigerator, and closet space. Each unit has a playroom, serenity room, laundry facilities, overnight sleeping areas for residents, conference room. There are 24-bed patient care communities with three eight-patient neighborhoods, along with multiple serenity gardens, a Discovery Zone for children, and 188 underground parking spaces.
High in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the roof planes of this guesthouse are both meadow and super-insulated envelope, blending structure into scenery to be nearly imperceivable from a road above the site while preserving the view from the main house.
Last month, we posted an article about how to use interior sliding glass doors to increase home energy efficiencies in which we talked about how glass can add LEED points:
Glass doors can contribute to achieving U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings. Use of glass can add LEED points for reductions in lighting power density. Using glass, especially if it is made of recycled and recyclable materials, instead of drywall is a good, sustainable, and eco-friendly choice and will promote better indoor air quality by reducing the use of emitting materials such as adhesives and sealants. In new construction or renovations, smaller living spaces can be designed by reducing the access space that is required by traditional doors.
Early in June, the Pacific Coast Building Conference presented its 50th Annual Golden Nugget Awards to architects and developers at its annual convention dubbed The Art, Science + Business of Housing. The awards are given to firms that show “excellence and innovation in addressing complex design/build issues.”