I watched this video of the Jellyfish House by architects Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott, and needless to say, I was kind of blown away. It’s quite compelling to watch, but at the same level, it’s complicated. I can’t say I understand everything that’s going on but I like it. Jellyfish are responsive to the environment around them, so like jellyfish, one concept with this house is that water is filtered and harvested through the actual structure of the home. The structure uses UV light filtration, which could come down in price in the future, and titanium dioxide, which is now used for self-cleaning glass in tall skyscrapers. This concept prototype for the future of sustainable living was designed (hypothetically) for Treasure Island, a decommissioned military base in San Francisco Bay with toxic top soil.
I’m excited about this post. When it comes to surface materials, there’s a lot out there, and I’ve blogged about a few companies that have good products. Concrete countertops appear on house flipping-type shows every now and then, so I thought it was time we all got to know VitraStone. VitraStone products are made from 70-85% recycled content (post consumer & post industrial) such as recycled glass and fly ash blended with a proprietary mix of ceramic cement. Products in the VitraStone line up include vessel sinks, sink tops, countertop systems, back splash, floor tiles, wall cladding, and furniture and accessories. VitraStone is strong, too. Scratch and chip resistant. Freeze/thaw cycle resistant. Mold resistant. VitraStone products come in a variety of colors (as you will see below) for interior and exterior applications. No off-gassing here.
Couple cool things about VitraStone: (1) you may get LEED credits for using these materials, and (2) VitraStone offers free design services to create 3-dimensional layouts for client approvals (or they’ll work directly with architectural specifications). Matter of fact, the green building store here in Salt Lake City carries VitraStone, so maybe I can push the old landlord into a green kitchen renovation? Any thoughts …
- Housing slowdown offers a chance to get real about HOME SIZES … good design and quality construction ultimately will prove more worthwhile than square footage.
- Nine ways to make your home more energy efficient.
- Thin Film PV market could top $7 billion by 2015 … low cost, low weight, ease of manufacturing, and success on roof, wall, and window applications is driving the growth (see also Nanosolar).
- U.S. House of Representatives passed a Democratic rewrite of U.S. energy policy that strips $16 billion in tax incentives away from Big Oil and puts it toward renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.
Trend USA has just released details of their new engineered, agglomerate stone product called "Trend Q." Trend Q is a USA-made, 1/4" surface material that is impervious to stains and fading. It can be made in sizes as small as 12" tiles and as large as 10′ x 4′ slabs. Containing up to 72% post consumer recycled content, Trend Q not only contributes to LEED certification, but it comes in a veritable cornucopia of colors. Organic neutral. Fiery orange. Brilliant red. You name it. Another cool aspect of the product is that it’s made to be applied to all types of surfaces, whether it’s walls, counters, or floors. Just bust out the water jet machine and make that magic happen.
There's an excellent interview by CNN with Ken Yeang, principle of the UK firm Llweleyn Davis Yeang. Almost a year ago, I wrote about Yeang's fascinating Menara Mesiniaga building, and that article has been a popular one in terms of visitors. Yeang is an ecological, architectural visionary designing in a way that blurs the boundary between the natural and human-built environments. With eco-logical design, the goal is to build a structure with no pollution or waste. And we're getting there, too. To quote Yeang, "we'll see green buildings long before 2020 — I think the movement is intensifying. Within the next 5-10 years we'll see a lot more green buildings being built. Not just buildings but green cities, green environment, green master plans, green products, green lifestyles, green transportation. I'm very optimistic." The green buildings pictured in this post are only a fraction of those designed by Ken Yeang. If you're looking for more information, feel free to pick up his latest book: ECODESIGN: A Manual for Ecological Design.
Based on the old "hippy" classic VW Westfalia camper, Alexandre Verdier has completely redesigned the Westfalia into a modern, green camper with major appeal. This camper is powered by a 200 hp hybrid (fuel or diesel) + electric engine. Some other features include solar panels on the camper roof (40 watt – 12 volt), GPS navigation, wireless internet, and a sink with 4 spots for cooking. Priced at $69,000, I’m thinking there’s market for something like this. Don’t you? Video + images below; via Modern Flat.