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VitraStone Eco-Friendly Sinks + Surfaces

Wedgesink 2314cgrey

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 …

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Denver's 2020 Lawrence – Green + Affordable?

2020 Lawrence

2020 Lawrence breaks ground early next year, but it’s already making headlines.  With prices ranging from $290k-$800k, 20 of the 60 units have been pre-sold.  But there’s a compelling financial scenario lurking in the numbers of this $20 million development:  buyers that go with the 2-kw photovoltaic system will get a quarter point break on the 30 year mortgage (assuming buyer’s go with Countrywide Financial).  The result is that it becomes cheaper to buy a unit with the pv system, than without the system.  Nice. 

Additionally, 2020 Lawrence will be built to LEED silver certification and will be the first condo community in the region to receive a Near-Zero Energy Home designation.  As far as green amenities, 2020 Lawrence will have dual-flush toilets, sustainable hardwood floors, reserved hybrid vehicle parking, and rooftop solar power, to name a few.  Via BGTV

$16 B to Clean Energy, Thin Film Solar, Home Efficiency Tips + the Economics of Homes Sizes (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Housing slowdown offers a chance to get real about HOME SIZES … good design and quality construction ultimately will prove more worthwhile than square footage. 
  2. Nine ways to make your home more energy efficient.
  3. 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). 
  4. 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.

Power Pod Can Reduce Energy Costs Up to 80%

Powerpod

And that’s pretty incredible.  It can be used for personal, business, or industrial applications.  The Power Pod arrives on a single flatbed truck and sets up in a day.  But what’s so special about it?  Well, it can outfitted with rooftop solar, the butterfly roof collects water for use in radiant floor heating, and the highly insulated walls (SIP R-28) keep the temperature just right.  Plus, there’s also the typical energy-efficient lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and building performance monitoring system.  Keeping track of things helps to optimize efficiency.  And with the sculptural steel pier foundation, setup should be pretty quick, too. 

Can you feel the modern, green prefab-type options increasing?  Almost out of control?  Well, competition is good and this company is based in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  It’s not really practical to be shipping homes all the way across the country, so there’s going to be lots of options in places that demand this type of construction.  The working prototype, as you will see below, looks pretty good, too.  Via Treehugger.

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The Conservatory to Become Florida's First LEED Platinum Building

Siderendering

Overture Development Group has what I think is the best designed website for a real estate group that I’ve ever seen.  It’s incredible looking.  They’re 100% confident that green buildings are the future of real estate, too.  Financial benefits?  Check.  Occupancy benefits?  Check.  Marketing and messaging appeal?  Check.  Good for the environment?  Check.  The Conservatory is in the final stages of receiving permitting approval from Osceola County, and once that’s squared away, we’re looking at completion in mid-2008 or so.  When finished, The Conservatory at Celebration Place will have 178,000 sf of Class A+ office condominium space spread through six floors.  And from the renderings, it looks like there will be a healthy dose of green roofing and solar panels, too.

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[Video] Nanosolar Causing Disruptions at 1/3 Cost

Nanosolar wants to create paper-thin, flexible solar panels that can be made at 1/3 the cost of heavy, silicon-made solar panels.  It’s important to keep an eye on tech like this because Nanosolar is currently building the largest solar panel manufacturing plant in the U.S.  If successful, this stuff is going to be on every building and structure starting in 2008.  It’s going to change the way the game is played in a major way. 

To give you an idea of how compelling, how enormous this is, check this:  the Google founders are investing in Nanosolar, an IBM manufacturing executive just joined Nanosolar, and the U.S. Department of Energy just awarded them $20 million. 



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