A new partnership between Silicon Energy and CrystaLite that was announced at the recent Living Future unConference in Seattle is bringing a new alternative to photovoltaic solar roof implementations and ground-mounted installations: the solar structure. PV-integrated structures provide home and business owners with extensive flexibility in the design and implementation of solar power when a solar roof is not cost effective or to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing integration of solar panels with structural design of patio and deck coverings, carport coverings, and picnic shelters.
In a recent article on Indian Country Today Media Network, journalist Nate Seltenrich covered the sustainable building initiatives of several Native American tribes who were the country’s “original green builders.” Through efforts to improve upon substandard housing and economic hardships, indigenous populations are returning to traditional methods of home construction while incorporating modern technologies. Contemporary sustainability calls tribal members back to their cultural heritage and opens up avenues for attainable home ownership and lower energy costs, with the potential to revitalize communities.
Kaplan Thompson Architects were challenged by their clients to build a farmstead home in the mountains of Virginia that could not only meet standards for Passivhaus and LEED, but include a roof on which sheep could graze.
The solution: Earthship Farmstead is a house that is nestled in the east-facing hillside with a floorplan that fits the contours of the surrounding fields. The dining and living room extend out onto the hill to allow south-facing shaded windows to capture warmth and light from the sun. Recently, Earthship Farmstead received Passive House certification and is gathering data toward LEED Platinum certification.
Designed by Charles Wright Architects to satisfy a desire for a carbon-neutral home, the Stamp House is located on the edge of the beachfront rainforest in Far North Queensland (FNQ), Australia, a region that includes over seventy national parks and contributes up to AU$700 million annually in agricultural products that include sugar cane, bananas, mangoes, and coffee.
Located in Venice, California and designed by Brooks + Scarpa, the Yin Yang home provides private living spaces for a family that includes several children along with commercial office space for its owners and recently made the top ten list of Green Projects as compiled by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE).
A new, green, custom home that has been built in Webster Grove, Missouri, is the work of Active House USA, a team of designers, builders, and materials manufacturers who are pooling their experience in environmentally conscious and sustainable building practices to construct homes around the world that utilize their Active House specifications, which combine focus on energy efficiency, healthy indoor climate, and minimal impact on the environment. To date, Active Houses are located in Portugal, Austria, Norway, UK, Italy, Netherlands, and Russia. The Webster Grove residence for the Smith family is the first Active House to be built in the United States and recently held its first open house.