Articles With "residential" Tag

VitraStone Eco-Friendly Sinks + Surfaces

Wedgesink 2314cgrey

I’m excited about this post.  When it comes to surface materials, there’s a lot out there, and I’ve blogged about a few companies that have good products.  Concrete countertops appear on house flipping-type shows every now and then, so I thought it was time we all got to know VitraStone.  VitraStone products are made from 70-85% recycled content (post consumer & post industrial) such as recycled glass and fly ash blended with a proprietary mix of ceramic cement.  Products in the VitraStone line up include vessel sinks, sink tops, countertop systems, back splash, floor tiles, wall cladding, and furniture and accessories.  VitraStone is strong, too.  Scratch and chip resistant.  Freeze/thaw cycle resistant.  Mold resistant.  VitraStone products come in a variety of colors (as you will see below) for interior and exterior applications.  No off-gassing here. 

Couple cool things about VitraStone:  (1) you may get LEED credits for using these materials, and (2) VitraStone offers free design services to create 3-dimensional layouts for client approvals (or they’ll work directly with architectural specifications).  Matter of fact, the green building store here in Salt Lake City carries VitraStone, so maybe I can push the old landlord into a green kitchen renovation?  Any thoughts …

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Home Design + Construction, Consumer Environmentalism + Corporate Sustainability (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Why is new housing so big and lousy?  Why do builders build these homes? 
  2. Despite unwavering focus by the media, government and business, "going green" is only of moderate concern to most consumers, according to a recent research study.
  3. There is a reason why homes rot (hint: it has to do with much more than age). 
  4. Shades of Green – with more large companies going green, the entire industry is under scrutiny. 

Boulder's Green Hickory Home by VaST

Hickory Home

This green home was built in 2003, so it’s not anything new in particular, but I wanted to share some of the green concepts the homeowners worked through during process of building it.  First, the owners, Brandy LeMae + Joseph Vigil, purchased an odd-shaped lot near a well-traveled road for $157k.  It was rather cheap, with some lots in Boulder costing nearly $400k, so the design would have to solve the noise and space problem.  Second, they wanted a green home on a budget.  In the end, they were able to build the Hickory House for about $91 psf.  There’s an excellent article from Dwell about their process, but I’m going to explain a little below.

The owners raved about structural insulated panels, or SIPs, which went up quickly, were cut to size, allowed for minimal waste, and helped to defray the costs of the project.  They also used Forbo natural linoleum countertops, radiant heating in the concrete floors, and denim by-product cotton insulation.  LeMae + Vigil tried to keep the design simple — the more complicated the design is, the less money there is to go towards green things (check out VaST’s 3 Design Strategies to Build Green + Save Money).  Vigil also designed a foot-wide concrete-block wall stuffed with foam insulation for the west side of the house.  By doing this, he was able to block out noise from the road and provide shading for the home.  They finished up with some interior design straight from IKEA and were happy with the final product.  Looks great from this angle.  More images below. 

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Denver's 2020 Lawrence – Green + Affordable?

2020 Lawrence

2020 Lawrence breaks ground early next year, but it’s already making headlines.  With prices ranging from $290k-$800k, 20 of the 60 units have been pre-sold.  But there’s a compelling financial scenario lurking in the numbers of this $20 million development:  buyers that go with the 2-kw photovoltaic system will get a quarter point break on the 30 year mortgage (assuming buyer’s go with Countrywide Financial).  The result is that it becomes cheaper to buy a unit with the pv system, than without the system.  Nice. 

Additionally, 2020 Lawrence will be built to LEED silver certification and will be the first condo community in the region to receive a Near-Zero Energy Home designation.  As far as green amenities, 2020 Lawrence will have dual-flush toilets, sustainable hardwood floors, reserved hybrid vehicle parking, and rooftop solar power, to name a few.  Via BGTV

Power Pod Can Reduce Energy Costs Up to 80%

Powerpod

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.

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12.5 Condos Bring Eco-Modernism to Portland

12.5 Condos

Quality modern, green projects just keep coming and there’s no stopping them.  Here’s a project called 12.5 Condos.  Why 12.5?  Well, there’s going to be twelve 3-story townhouse condominiums and one 2-story condominium.  Designed by Holst Architecture and built by Portland green builder Barrs & Genauer Construction, 12.5 will be located in the MLK corridor.  With construction expected to finish by the end of this year, 12.5 is going to be an awesome example of green construction.  At least 90% of construction debris will be recycled.  Materials will include FSC-certified wood, recycled content site and structural metals, low-VOC non-toxic products, and fly ash concrete.  Appliances will be Energy Star certified, toilets will be dual-flush, and the HVAC system will be ultra-efficient.  Count on the skylights to usher in natural light, and everything will be super clean and linear.  Extremely sustainable and extremely good looking.  Look for these condos at the corner of NE Knott Street and NE 7th Avenue in Portland, Oregon.  Prices starting from $295k and $375k. 

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