In Atlanta, the door to San Marco — a purveyor of natural paints, plasters, and cements — is propped open all day, welcoming a never-ending stream of visitors. An architect brings his cabinetmaker by for a demonstration of their wood varnish. A young couple pops in to report how beautifully their bungalow’s paint job turned out. A flooring contractor spends several mornings perfecting a lime-washed effect for his client’s hardwood floors. I, too, have become a regular visitor; first drawn in by their limestone stucco, the discovery of all these other eco-friendly, high-performance and surprisingly affordable finish materials from Italy has me “just stopping by” for my own impromptu tutorials.
The biennial Solar Decathlon finished today and teams will begin the grunt work of taking their homes back or sending them off if the homes were acquired. As we’ve done in the past, here’s a short roundup of all 19 Solar Decathlon homes for 2011. The competition fosters the design, build, and operation of net-zero energy homes that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. Maryland won the entire competition, and Appalachian State was given the People’s Choice Award.
Austin-based Sett Studio makes unique and inventive prefab studios ranging in size from about 97 to 192 square feet. The company pairs modern design with energy-efficient construction to create what can be used as a home office, art studio, yoga space, kids room, game room, or guest room. Plus, a Sett Studio can be had for about $20,000 – $30,000, depending on the model.
zHome is a contemporary, new, townhome development in Issaquah, Washington. The homes go on sale this month and have received national attention, such as in the video embedded below with the Wall Street Journal. Homes in this community will use zero net energy — after considering all energy used and produced during a year — and zHome may just be the first townhome project in the country to achieve such a feat.
KB Home, a publicly-traded home builder with its headquarters in Los Angeles, this month announced the nationwide roll out of net-zero energy home designs called ZeroHouse 2.0. The standard KB Home with Energy Star certification is built to save homeowners about $1,000 in average annual energy costs, while a ZeroHouse 2.0 design is expected to eliminate monthly electricity charges.
Hammer & Hand, a design-build firm based in Portland, is getting well-deserved attention for transforming this circa 1905, dilapidated eyesore into an energy-efficient duplex that uses less than $100 per month in energy. With the help of Scott Edwards Architecture, the team expanded tiny spaces and transformed the lower level to facilitate aging in place.