In the heart of Seattle, the design professionals at Mithun see a farm rising vertically into the sky. Although it may never be built, the Center for Urban Agriculture (CUA) won “Best of Show” in the Cascadia Region Green Building Council’s Living Building Challenge. Vertically constructed on a .72 acre site, the off-grid building is designed to be completely energy and water sufficient and will include 318 affordable apartments (studio – 2 bedroom). And on top of that, there will be greenhouses, rooftop gardens, a chicken farm, and fields for growing vegetables and grains.
Twenty teams have been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to compete in the 2007 Solar Decathlon, which takes place in Washington D.C. from October 12-20, 2007. As part of the competition, teams are challenged to design, build, and operate the most attractive, energy-efficient solar-powered home. Using only energy from the sun and with an eye towards modern design, teams meticulously choose the products and materials that go into their home. Interestingly, at least five teams, including MIT, UT-Austin, U. of Maryland, U. of Cincinnati, and Lawrence Technological University, are using the Warmboard Radiant Subfloor system. I’ve noticed the increasing use of Warmboard in several green projects, so I thought I would do a small post on the subject.
Solar Cynergy has developed a self-contained, in ground, solar-powered LED light that can be used in residential, commercial, and city applications. Eliminating the need for batteries, these solar LED lights use Nichia condenser technology to provide blue, green, white, halogen white, and red lighting. With the simple design of having everything built in, there’s no need for complicated wiring, and they’re strong enough to withstand the pressure of a tank. As you can see, the lights are embedded into the ground to create various design and lighting effects. Initially a Japanese innovation, Solar Cynergy introduced the lights at Lightfair International 2007, and business has taken off! I can imagine that the opportunities are endless with this kind of technology. More images below.
I sat on this post for a while trying to find up-to-date information on its status but was unable to locate anything. This is a storage facility planned for the east bank of the Willamette River. Typical storage facilities can take up to 30 acres, but this one, designed for house boats, recreational vehicles, and storage pods, is going to be maxed out on 3 acres. The taller tower rises 22 stories into the sky and uses a giant mechanical arm capable of lifting 40,000 lbs. Interestingly, the project is planning construction to LEED Platinum standards and will include more than 175,000 sf of solar panels (making it the largest solar facility in the northwest). With the estimated project costs at about $40 M, Portland City Storage also plans to rehabilitate the riverfront property adjacent to the towers.
PieceHomes is a new modern prefab offering by Davis Studio Architecture + Design, set to debut in about a week at Dwell on Design. Notice the interesting tagline — "pH: for a balanced home." Nice. PieceHomes plans to distinguish itself among the pack by providing custom and standardized, modern, modular architecture that is green and affordable. With a variety of home designs taking shape, pieceHomes will be available this fall and manufactured by XtremeHomes. Take a gander at the website and some of the home designs. I’m particularly intrigued by the Container House, 3×4, and Solar Passage (all pictured in this post). Like many prefabs, pieceHomes also will be designed to incorporate solar panels, green roofs, and other environmental features that fit home site conditions. It’ll be nice to see some of these renderings in real life.
This is a modern, concept home design by Gau Designs & Concepts, a multi disciplinary design consultancy based in Montreal, Canada. The idea of a green prefab home made of bamboo is quite compelling–that is, assuming the bamboo can be sourced locally. Depending on the species, bamboo is quick to grow. It’s also light and durable and has become popular to use in a variety of applications. The house design allows for a slightly slanted roof, which is not too slanted to preclude a green roof, but that is oriented at the right angle to generate power with a photovoltaic array.