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.
One of the more unique recycled home ideas is certainly the Morton Loft in New York City, which was constructed from a disused petroleum trailer tank. The architecture firm LOT-EK, which specializes in building homes from shipping containers, completed this project back in 2000. They used the tank to create 2 sleeping pods, which come complete with hydraulic piston hatchback doors, and 2 capsule bathrooms, which were placed on top of each other. The home was commissioned by Joshua Morton. To build the loft, the architects used a decommissioned tanker trailer, which still shows signs of wear and tear from its days on the road. It once carried 7,200 gallons of gasoline and weighs roughly 100 pounds per linear foot.
Altius RSA (Rapid Systems Architecture), the makers of MiniHomes recently unveiled their newest prefab housing model, the Solo 40. The company has been designing and manufacturing eco-friendly and sustainable prefab homes since 2002, and their latest model offers a great balance between wide market appeal and price. The Solo 40 is longer, wider, more spacious, and resembles conventional homes in its layout. It measures 480 square feet and the fully equipped model costs only $195 per square foot. The units can be shipped from the company’s facilities in Ontario or California.
Danish architecture student Konrad Wójcik has come up with a very modern and unique way for people to live in the suburbs of large cities, with minimal impact on the natural habitat. At the heart of his so-called “Primeval Symbiosis” plan are tree shaped houses that have a tiny footprint and very little environmental impact on the forests where they could be built. In his design, he drew inspiration from trees and the way animals use them as shelters. His tree houses are powered by renewable energy, while they also fertilize soil, clean the air, provide shade, and have natural ventilation.
Researchers at the University of Illinois, or more precisely the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, have discovered a process that can turn used plastic shopping bags into a compatible drop-in diesel fuel and a number of petroleum products. The recycling process also works to recover most of the initial manufacturing inputs that go into producing plastic shopping bags. Given that each year an estimated 100 billion shopping bags are thrown away in the US alone, this is great news indeed.