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?
The husband and wife team of Liz Miranda and Tim Rempel started Greenpads LLC in 2005, and 5th STREETpads is their first project. Matter of fact, this six-unit multifamily development received a slew of awards, including the 2006 Build It Green Award + 2006 Design Advocates Design Award for Multi-family Development. 5th STREETpads has six, 2-3 floor townhomes that vary in size from 1360-1640 sf. The development is a great example of comfortable, lower-impact living as a result of building up, not out. Here are some of the green features: Borrego solar system that provides up to 85% of each unit’s electricity; hydronic radiant floor heating with floor-to-floor thermostat control; blown-in wet cellulose and bonded logic thermal insulation; SIP panel roof system; low-VOC painting in all the units; FSC-certified Brazilian cherry flooring; large double-glazed, low-E windows and sliding doors for optimal natural lighting; skylights in all the units; green Italian laminate cabinetry; filtered water and Energy Star appliances throughout; and Toto low-flow toilets. These are incredible homes. And although some materials seem to have a heavy carbon impact due to shipping and transporting, we’re talking about a solid step in the right direction for the greening of multifamily real estate development.