Rocio Romero is a 35-year-old designer, manufacturer, and entrepreneur. She’s well known for her minimalist, modern LV Home. Do you know the history behind Rocio Romero? Christy Marshall authored an excellent article on her and her growing business in modern prefab. Romero is a graduate of University of California-Berkeley and Southern California Institute of Architecture (aka SCI-Arc). One of her first designs was a summer house for her parents in Laguna Verde outside of Santiago, Chile. That home was modified slightly and has become the LV Home that we see popping up all over the country. As for pricing, here’s what you can expect:
This is the Sustain Minihome, a green, urban RV for the modern-day recreationists. When you see this, you won’t believe how much functionality and comfort can go into a mere 325 sf. To get the real feel of it, go check out the HGTV video of Andy Thomson’s miniHome (the designer). Nice. I’m pretty sure this is going on the Christmas wish list.
I read an excellent article about San Francisco’s Clipper House by LORAX Development in Solar Today magazine and wanted to share some info about it. The Clipper House has become a showcase for residential sustainable features, basically showing off everything but the financial case for green building. The 2,600 sf home was designed by John Maniscalco/Architecture, Inc., and was completed in the summer of 2006. For a cool $1.9 M, you could probably purchase this incredible home–often referred to as the Greenest Home in San Francisco.
If you do, here’s what you’re going to get: 1.7 kw DC photovoltaic array with BP Solar panels installed by SolarCity (total cost $16,700, net AR $11,543); 64 sf of solar thermal glazed collectors by Heliodyne ($6,750); warmboard radiant heating system using PEX tubing ($50,000); rainwater-catchment system by Wonderwater Inc. ($25,000); hemp carpets colored with vegetable dyes; low-VOC paints and caulks throughout; energy-efficient windows and doors; hardwood floors made from 100-yr-old TerraMai railroad ties from Southeast Asia; FSC-certified kitchen cabinets; Richlite kitchen counters made from recycled paper products; recycled blue jean insulation by Bonded Logic; 50-year warranty James Hardie fiber-cement siding made partially with fly ash; and recycled plastic and wood Trex composite decking. The Clipper House certainly prioritizes energy-efficiency, properly sourced sustainable materials, and indoor air quality. Real nice.
Not only is Michelle Kaufmann Designs (MKD) taking the green prefab world by storm, but it looks like MKD is working with Communities by Design to build a 26-unit, green townhouse development. Nice. The two- and three-bedroom, two-story units will have covered parking, private and shared outdoor gardens, high quality finishes and fixtures, sustainable materials and systems, high-performance insulation, and solar panel systems. The townhouse development will be located somewhere in San Leandro, CA, and should be opening in late 2007.
Stories about sprawl are pretty compelling. With sprawl, on the one hand, you have unrestrained capitalism and the chase for economic distinction, and on the other hand, you have depleted community resources, mediocre homes, and limited city resources. Tough issues to deal with on both sides. Here’s the gist on two, new sprawl movies:
- The Unforeseen – Official Selection of the Sundance Film Festival 2007, this is documentary about a development near Barton Springs in Austin, Texas. Apparently, the story is told evenly from all sides and somewhere in the middle, the developer gets a little help from the future Governor George Bush.
- Radiant City: A Documentary About Suburban Sprawl – there’s a trailer for this one above. Garage-centric homes, side-by-side, with no community feel whatsoever. Apparently this film is comedic and tugs at the problems of sprawl in a unique way.
I haven’t seen either (other than trailers), but I look forward to seeing them when they come around.
REITs Going Greener, Consumers Priced Out of Green Products, Greener Hotels, and Eco-friendly Home Costing (WIR)
- Real estate industry quietly embracing green development, with 41% of U.S. REITs actively pursuing energy efficiency and green building upgrades.
- Business leaders aver that even though companies are greening products of all kinds, buyers are unwilling to pay a green premium (ed. note = consumers probably think the premium is unjustifiably exorbitant, even with the green components).
- Enjoy your green stay: hotels are rolling out all sorts of green programs, in part because customers demand them, and in part because they save money.
- The eco-friendly house (and renovation) has gone mainstream, but is it really worth the cost?