The mkSolaire is currently the featured attraction at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) as part of the Smart Home: Green + Wired exhibition. As you can tell from the above video, it’s a prefab that includes cutting-edge green materials, energy efficient systems, a living roof, and a smart technology system. I love those rectangular, green tiles in the bathroom — check it out.
Thanks in part to the recent launch of FreeGreen, I think I’ve found the green house of my dreams. The home rendered above and below is called the Smart Box and it’s a stunner. Designed by FreeGreen, Smart Box is the newest free home plan that’s going to be available from the website in the next couple weeks. Smart Box was designed for practically any climate and can range in size from 1000 – 2200 sf. In addition, the plans will identify do-it-yourself type opportunities so that you can find ways to do more on a tighter budget.
Last October we blogged about the Inhabit prefab prototype built in Washington and designed by Mithun and Hybrid. Since then, there hasn’t been much news about the prototype, except that the initial two units are for sale right now. Now comes news, however, based on an article in The Seattle Times, that Unico Properties is planning to bring Inhabit to market in a legit, 62-unit apartment complex that includes a few live/work spaces. The development is planned for a site on Dexter Avenue North above Lake Union. Unico has been quiet about the project because the land is still under contract and the permitting process has just begun. But long and short, Seattle is on the cusp of becoming a major demonstration city for green, prefab apartments in the U.S. — fantastic news for proponents of healthy, affordable, and stylish living spaces.
The fulcrum of the green building revolution, I think, is conservation and living happily with less. It’ll be interesting to see how we get there, to see if we can live lighter. In the meantime, I like to monitor small projects to see what piques the interest of crowds. Lately Abōd® has been getting some quality attention. Abōd was honored by the AIA this year with a Small Project Award. The AIA explained the concept: "The design goal was to develop a breakthrough in value-engineered lowest cost housing with an extensive array of add-on options to personalize each home. The resulting design incorporating the Catenary arch is simple and structurally sound but also aesthetically pleasing and can be built by 4 people in just one day with only a screwdriver and an awl."
Gwendolyn Bounds invested about 16 months and $83k in her posh, green kitchen remodel. The process was slightly more difficult than she imagined, but nonetheless, as you can see from the below video: the result is quite nice. David Johnston, green building and renovation expert, unofficially inspected the work and gave her high marks for the eco renovation. Her remodel included Energy Star appliances, locally made fly ash concrete countertops, Plyboo and Arreis cabinets, no-VOC paints, FSC-certified wood floors, Nu-Wool recycled newspaper insulation, LED lights, and double-paned efficient windows.
Canühome is an impressive 850 sf home with a smart design that includes a kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room, and bedroom. Designed by Institute Without Boundaries, canühome is a healthy, sustainable, and affordable home. Perhaps, it is best suited for young couples, seniors, singles, and/or small families as either a “starter” or “finisher” house, but the possibilities are truly infinite.