Older homes frequently aren't very energy efficient because power used to be extremely cheap and building codes varied widely. In mild climates, that tended to happen even more. Our home in Oakland was built in 1948 and was far from energy efficient when we bought it: single-pane windows and doors, some of which didn't close well; original floor furnace; no insulation in the ceiling or walls; drafty fireplace.
It’s interesting to see Passive Houses — like the Breezeway House in Millcreek, Utah — gain more and more recognition in both the mainstream media and design and construction circles. Another project worth keeping an eye on, Passive House in the Woods, is quietly moving forward with carbon neutral ambitions and a goal to be the first Passive House in the state of Wisconsin.
A new start up company based out of Boulder is making these Studio Sheds for use as equipment, storage, or office sheds. They're modern, green, and somewhat affordable with models starting at $4,900 (while the DIY flat-pack kit sells at a small discount). You purchase the shed, secure the permits, set the foundation, and Studio Shed installs the shed in about 6-8 hours.
This Samsung Green Tomorrow project is the first in East Asia to achieve LEED Platinum certification and the first zero-energy house in South Korea, according to project consultant ARUP. Located in Yongin of the Gyeonggi Province, the project includes a zero-energy home of 4,553 square feet and visitor pavilion of 3,208 square feet with some incredible green features.
Joshua Foss, principal of Thrive Design Studio and ambassador for the Living Building Challenge, recently completed this clean and contemporary kitchen renovation in a home near Theodore Wirth Park. Foss and the owners went with a color palette that, in the end, resembles nature in many ways. The light blue walls resemble water or clear blue skies, the steel and aluminum mimic smooth stones, and the cabinets and floors ground the space with wood.
The folks at Davis Frame Co., a timber frame home company based out of New Hampshire, recently sent us details of this off-grid home in Oregon. The large, 2,850 square-foot home is undeniably traditional — something our readers have been pining for — and outfitted with a number of green features to go with Platinum certification from the Earth Advantage Institute.