- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.