Let’s talk about zero energy architecture and the Truro Residence. It’s an amazing residence, currently under construction on one of Cape Cod’s beaches in Massachusetts. Designed by Independence Energy Homes (IEH) and being constructed by Silvia and Silvia, the Truro Residence is meant to accommodate a large family and friends and still remain environmentally responsible. When complete, it will have a tight building envelope, a geothermal heating system, solar photovoltaic system, tank-less water heaters, compact fluorescent lighting, and Energy Star appliances. The home also will feature popular green materials such as bamboo flooring, blue-jean insulation, and natural stone.
What do you get with prefab? (1) modular economies of scale and supposedly less construction waste, (2) labor efficient construction process, (3) ease of variability or parts interchangeability, and (4) the possibility of green, energy efficient homes, if you make that happen. Jot Homes is backed by Yeh + Jarrard, who built the prototype JoT House in Joshua Tree (get it? JOshua Tree?) for a jaw-dropping $48 psf way back in 2004. It seems that one of the ways they kept the costs down was by using a "central utility core" for the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry supplies. Simple plumbing is cheaper, right?! In addition, they use SIPs and sustainable harvested birch plywood (as opposed to fir plywood that comes from old growth), Forbo Marmoleum and cork tiles for the flooring, double-glazed low-E glass for the windows, and LED lighting technology. Kitchen and cabinetry fixtures were all sourced from IKEA, too.
Currently, JoT House is planning some new stuff for release in early 2008 or so. They will have the JoT Original, JoT ‘L’, and the JoT Two-story ‘Urban JoT’, with standard model prices at $210k, $260k, and $300k, respectively. That works out to roughly $180 psf. If you’re going after the mini-JoT, that starts at about $45k+. And multiple mini-JoTs can be put together, too. Let’s keep an eye out for new developments in 2008, and check the detail in some of the images below.
And that’s pretty incredible. It can be used for personal, business, or industrial applications. The Power Pod arrives on a single flatbed truck and sets up in a day. But what’s so special about it? Well, it can outfitted with rooftop solar, the butterfly roof collects water for use in radiant floor heating, and the highly insulated walls (SIP R-28) keep the temperature just right. Plus, there’s also the typical energy-efficient lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and building performance monitoring system. Keeping track of things helps to optimize efficiency. And with the sculptural steel pier foundation, setup should be pretty quick, too.
Can you feel the modern, green prefab-type options increasing? Almost out of control? Well, competition is good and this company is based in Lawrence, Massachusetts. It’s not really practical to be shipping homes all the way across the country, so there’s going to be lots of options in places that demand this type of construction. The working prototype, as you will see below, looks pretty good, too. Via Treehugger.
Based on the old "hippy" classic VW Westfalia camper, Alexandre Verdier has completely redesigned the Westfalia into a modern, green camper with major appeal. This camper is powered by a 200 hp hybrid (fuel or diesel) + electric engine. Some other features include solar panels on the camper roof (40 watt – 12 volt), GPS navigation, wireless internet, and a sink with 4 spots for cooking. Priced at $69,000, I’m thinking there’s market for something like this. Don’t you? Video + images below; via Modern Flat.
There’s a lot of talk about prefab revolutionizing the world of residential living, but when it comes down to it, prefab could be used all over the place. This post shows how successful prefab could be in the commercial context. Just as a little background, there’s a mall in San Diego, California, called Westfield University Towne Center, or Westfield UTC. The mall has been around for some 30+ years, so it’s in the middle of an upgrade. As part of the upgrade, Westfield UTC wants to incorporate environmentally friendly designs, so they retained kitHAUS to create a Visitors Center pavilion to showcase the "UTC Experience." Basically, it’s a place for the community to interact with Westfield on design ideas for the mall remodel.
Ultimately, the kitHAUS design used two customized K2 structures. The first unit is the "lounge pavilion," and it’s designed to be open to the elements with louver doors for shade. It houses a lounge and interactive display. The second unit is the "Gallery," and it is enclosed with glass doors on all sides. The Gallery houses a model of the potential mall design, large plasma screens, and interactive displays. Notice the incredible looking straight lines of the deck, buildings, and trellises. It’s so clean and modern, it’s hard not to glare at every element of construction.
This is incredible. It would be nice if someone here in the U.S. would put something like THE ORB into production. According to the company’s website, The Orb "is a new generation of mobile structures created specifically to fire the imagination of a younger, style conscious generation. It has been designed to appeal across three distinct markets: commercial show units, holiday park homes and adaptable home offices. Built to a standard far beyond that of comparable structures using marine technology, it is both incredibly durable, lightweight and transportable." Appeal? Done.
Now, the website reveals some details on how The Orb is built (and Treehugger suggests that using GRP may not be that green), but I think one could use green materials to get it built. Plus, you could toss up a few solar panels on a separate pole and provide renewable energy for it too. Another positive aspect of The Orb is that it’s small by design, but chances are, this will not be a primary dwelling, so size is not an issue. Regardless, I dig it and think it could be used in a variety of applications. Plus, it’s kind of similar to Dasparkhotel (and we know that’s been successful). More images below. Via CubeMe.