Sustain Design Studio, based out of Toronto, makes contemporary prefab green homes, including the popular miniHome. They’re small and approachable in price terms but require no sacrifice of style. This home, the 12×36 TRIO, currently located in Brighton, Ontario, has about 400 square-feet of living space, including a master bedroom, kitchen with open living space, and a bathroom.
A few months ago, Alchemy set this weeHouse in Dundee, New York, and it's now complete. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom home sits at the end of a private road on Seneca Lake. On the exterior, the prefab has corrugated steel siding, while on the interior, there's bamboo flooring and wall wrap, doors and windows made with FSC-certified wood, and Energy Star appliances.
With the economy the way it is, retiring folks are downsizing or losing their homes, while newly educated folks are graduating with slim pickings. Not to be grim, but this is causing people to use property in new ways, such as with accessory dwelling units. The space can be used for family or as a rental to cover loose ends. In Vancouver, this is happening with laneway housing. Smallworks, a Vancouver-based design and build firm, specializes in small and laneway houses, just like this one, the West House.
Across the pond in the London Borough of Hillingdon, this infill development of five ultra-green buildings continues to garner attention. The project, Birchway Eco-Community, was built to Level 5 of the Code of Sustainable Homes (with 6 being the highest possible score) and provides 24 one- and two-bedroom affordable housing units. These buildings were finished on site after being prefabricated and delivered with kitchens and bathrooms already installed.
The other day, Martin Holladay, a blogger for Green Building Advisor, mentioned this energy-efficiency pyramid, which I found to be quite interesting. He said The Pyramid of Conservation originated from Bob McLean, CEO at Hunt Utilities Group, and was created for Minnesota Power. Minnesota Power uses the interactive graphic to help customers determine where to start when taking on energy efficiency projects.
When you buy a house, there’s no clear way to know what you’re getting. There’s no miles per gallon sticker, as with cars, or nutrition label, as with foods. You’ll pay for an inspection and walk through the place any number of times, but you definitely can’t see through the walls. It’s strange that we allow ourselves to spend, or mortgage, so much with so little information.