This home isn’t necessarily modern, but it has all the modern conveniences one could ask for: solar panels, small wind, radiant floor heating, air filtration system, and a trombe wall, etc. Kent and Kathy Lawrence’s custom country home, which was completed in 2005, ended up costing roughly $300 psf. The wind turbine alone came in at a cool $37,100 (producing 13,000 kwh/year), and that’s without tax subsidies. And unlike many custom homes that tend to explore new boundaries of profusion, this home is only 2,200 sf. Not bad. But the Lawrence’s weren’t just concerned with smart design and energy efficiency. Currently, they’re removing invasive plant species and planting native flowers, just trying to be gentle stewards of the land they inhabit. I think this is a rather picturesque setting for a home … much the American Dream.
Have you ever wanted to walk through a prefab or see what the excitement is about in person? If you live on the west coast, the opportunity to walk through a prefab happens fairly frequently. Just wait for the right conference or event and you'll hear about a tour or walk through. Now, two hours north of San Francisco in Napa County (Pope Valley), there's a Rocio Romero prefab open for tour, rental, or even for commercial photo, movie, and production shoots.
Many of you have probably seen this house by Stuart Tanner Architects, it was the Architectural Record House of the Month in July 2006. But I just noticed it and want to post a few images. It’s a small house of 1,184 sf located near Eaglehawk Neck on Tasmania’s Tasman Peninsula. As you can see, it juts out into the air, blending the boundary between the wildlife and sea. I’m sure the owners have witnessed the grandeur of nature at its best, being enveloped by the eucalypt forest and the sea. Due to the location, the architect had the home partially prefabricated — framing was complete in two days. The home also has many of the green features most homes should have, such as energy-saving lights, heating, and appliances. It’s well-insulated throughout and designed to maximize cross ventilation. And there’s an on-site waste management system, greywater recycling, and fresh water catchment and storage, too.
Over the weekend, I noticed another good article in the NY Times by Amy Gunderson, with the above illustration by Nancy Doninger. The article makes some salient points about prefab, things that must be considered before getting into it. For instance, one customer said "there is no substitute for seeing a house in person," because what you see online or in a rendering, may not be what you actually get. The same customer opted for Rocio Romero, and the home took 10 months to build at a cost of $300 psf (including installation and finishes). That price ends up being pretty decent, when compared to the cost of going after a custom-design modernist home.
I’ve got a press release on "One of the Greenest Luxury Homes Ever Built," a home that is "sure to raise the bar for building green in the high-end market." Folks, in our day and age, why spend $2,000 per month on heating and electricity for your 9,800 sf home, when you can trim that bill right down to a paltry $350 per month? At a time when luxury living is scrutinized for excess energy consumption, why not build a 5 bedroom, 6.5 bath high-end home with a "small environmental footprint"? Seriously, with smart, energy-efficient design (read: 4 extra solar panels), you can generate enough electricity to run all 6 interior refrigerators. And by using recycled and reclaimed wood (where possible of course), non-toxic blow-in insulation, and low-VOC finishings, this home is going to surpass Built Green standards. Designers worked their hearts out to build the greenest home possible without sacrificing precious square footage, and this home could house at least four regular sized families by our calculations. You’ll be glad to know this hulking home, located at 995 Longbow Place in Larkspur, Colorado, is on sale for the very reasonable, and very green, price of $4.5 million.
Are we confusing the words "green," "sustainable," "energy efficient," and "small footprint"? You tell me, is this green?
The Tread Lightly House was designed by Garrison Architects for a site where the building footprint had to be minimal because of nearby wetlands. This modular house prototype touches lightly on the earth, demonstrating a different way to reduce the home’s ecological footprint and help minimize the impact of the built environment on nature. Prefabricated construction of the home draws upon an ecologically friendly modular design which is fast and easy to build (not to mention, offers the potential for saved energy, time, money, and natural resources). You can read more about this + other green projects at the Garrison Architects blog.