With the economy the way it is, retiring folks are downsizing or losing their homes, while newly educated folks are graduating with slim pickings. Not to be grim, but this is causing people to use property in new ways, such as with accessory dwelling units. The space can be used for family or as a rental to cover loose ends. In Vancouver, this is happening with laneway housing. Smallworks, a Vancouver-based design and build firm, specializes in small and laneway houses, just like this one, the West House.
Across the pond in the London Borough of Hillingdon, this infill development of five ultra-green buildings continues to garner attention. The project, Birchway Eco-Community, was built to Level 5 of the Code of Sustainable Homes (with 6 being the highest possible score) and provides 24 one- and two-bedroom affordable housing units. These buildings were finished on site after being prefabricated and delivered with kitchens and bathrooms already installed.
The other day, Martin Holladay, a blogger for Green Building Advisor, mentioned this energy-efficiency pyramid, which I found to be quite interesting. He said The Pyramid of Conservation originated from Bob McLean, CEO at Hunt Utilities Group, and was created for Minnesota Power. Minnesota Power uses the interactive graphic to help customers determine where to start when taking on energy efficiency projects.
When you buy a house, there’s no clear way to know what you’re getting. There’s no miles per gallon sticker, as with cars, or nutrition label, as with foods. You’ll pay for an inspection and walk through the place any number of times, but you definitely can’t see through the walls. It’s strange that we allow ourselves to spend, or mortgage, so much with so little information.
It's been through several years of remodeling, but the Natural Home Show House is now complete. The word show house, though, is kind of a misnomer because the project includes two connected homes. One is on Nevins Street and the other is on Pacific Street in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. They both have distinct styles and both anticipate receiving Health House and LEED certifications.
Ideabox's newest prefab model, the Fortino, is on display at the Portland Home & Garden Show this weekend, so you'll want to check it out if you're in the area. The Salem-based prefab company teamed up with Crate & Barrel to design the interior and several landscape designers to transform a 50'x100' show space into a contemporary landscape setting. Jim Russell, president of Ideabox, says it's a complete "living experience" on an urban lot.