This is part of the Jetson Green birthday giveaway, so make sure to leave a comment by midnight Friday, July 25, 2008, if you want to be considered for the contest.*

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I’ve been noticing some chatter about Zamore Homes, an online company that provides ready-to-assemble kit-homes that are built with off-the-shelf components.  Zamore Homes is looking to capture the market that wants high design at a low price.  They do that by flat-packing and shipping components to a home site, all of which seem to come from various different places with the lowest possible transportation costs.  They also claim to provide simple instructions for contractors to put all the components together.  With simple designs and flat-packed parts, Zamore Homes estimates that their affordable, energy-efficient kit homes can be put together in under 20 weeks!

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At the tail end of last week, Shirey Contracting broke ground on the Zero Energy Idea House located at Bass Cove near Bellevue, Washington.  The house is intended to be kind of an inspirational structure that can help homeowners move toward energy independence.  As a zero energy house*, the goal is to generate all the necessary energy from on-site power and efficiency measures.  Specifically, the Idea House will have rooftop solar, solar hot water, and a vertical-axis small wind turbine, judging by the rendering.  In addition, the 1700 sf home will have a large, 1200 sf green roof and a host of other green features, such as:

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This 5 story, 9 unit condo building is 2800 Lincoln and is planned for the corner of Diversey Parkway and Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.  Designed by Product Architects, this contemporary green building is aiming for LEED Silver, and might even catch LEED Gold.  2800 Lincoln has a green roof, large terraces, solar panels, solar thermal hot water heating, and will be powered, in part, by geothermal energy (see diagram below).  Yo Chicago reports that the developer, Helios Realty and Development, plans to break ground in the next month or two and has a lease for the ground-floor retail space in the works. 

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In the Spring 2008, the NY Times commissioned a study to learn how the real estate market and economy may be affecting people’s attitudes towards buying a home.  Their study skewed young, affluent, and New York/Metro area (with roughly 250 NY participants).  It was also conducted in two-stages with the online study portion first and a follow-up interview second.  They concluded the study with Five Core Insights, with the following two points relating to environmental concerns:

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If you’re like me, the architecture and sheer grandiosity of Beijing 2008 Olympics is blowing your mind.  Gotta give props to what’s going on over there, seriously.  The precision, planning, and persistence of this machine is quite compelling.   With all the new and temporary structures now built, it’s hard to discuss everything — but you’ll find some interesting images and information below.  Notably, China might have raised the bar for future cities that are presented with the opportunity to host the Olympics.  China’s work isn’t done, I mean, pollution is unreal and the country is now the world’s largest CO2 emitter, but this article is an attempt to recognize positive efforts.  When future Olympic cities start to build up infrastructure, transportation, and venues, as they invariably will, this website thinks China has presented some new lessons in how to be bold, economic, and green. 

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River North Properties LLC is planning to develop a LEED Certified, condo/retail project for Denver’s River North ("RiNo") neighborhood.  Named Beleza, a Brazilian Portuguese word for "beauty", this luxurious green community is modeled after the Brazilian city of Curitiba.  Like Curitiba, Beleza will focus on sustainable lifestyle, eco-friendly development, and planning that cuts pollution and waste while improving the quality of life for residents.  It will also have smart amenities, such as biometric fingerprint access, climate-controlled window blinds, power outlets in parking spaces, and digital screen controlled integrated lighting, communications, and A/V systems. 

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The NAHB rolled out its Certified Green Professional ("CGP") program earlier this year and already 1,000 builders, remodelers, and other members of the home building industry have earned the CGP educational designation.  Potential CGPs must complete 24 hours of classroom training, of which, 16 hours must be qualified green building instruction.  In addition, potential CGPs must have two years industry experience, sign a code of ethics, and commit to fulfilling continuing education requirements.

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This is the View Box green home plan by FreeGreen, a company we mentioned earlier with a similar house plan called the Smart Box. Since we mentioned the Smart Box in May 2008, FreeGreen has been tearing it up with new green plans of all sorts of styles. But not only are they expanding their selection of in-house plans, they’re also on Twitter and Allison Arieff gave them a NY Times shout out about a week ago. Things are going well …

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Although the finishing touches are still being placed on East Portland Community Center natatorium, or aquatic center, the expansion project is on target for beyond LEED Gold and possibly LEED Platinum territory.  Does this make it the world’s first LEED Platinum aquatic center?  Hard to say, we’ll just have to see, but certainly, this facility is indicative of a future where all buildings – whether parking garages, civic centers, libraries, museums, hangars, or skyscrapers – need to have a lighter impact on the environment, especially when mandated by the relevant state or local authority, as was the case here.  Here are a few green stats:

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Following in the footsteps of Dongtan and Masdar, the Danish firm of Bjarke Ingels Group has just released details of their masterplan for a zero energy resort and entertainment city on Zira Island, which is located within the bay of Baku, Azerbaijan.  The plan calls for roughly 10.8 million square feet of architectural landscape based on the natural landscape of Azerbaijan.  Indeed, Zira Island will feature seven residential developments, each in the shape of one of seven peaks of Azerbaijan, and 300 private villas with views over the Caspian Sea. 

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This classic American home is the end result of smart planning, high performance materials, and passive design techniques.  Designed on a $100,000 dollar budget by the Michigan firm of Dominick Tringali Architects, the project is set to be a prototype for the next generation of Habitat for Humanity homes.  Lets take a closer look…

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Just recently, the new headquarters for the Barton Group was awarded LEED Platinum, a noteworthy achievement for an historic building originally built in 1865.  The building appears to be only the seventh Platinum building in New York (and the 105th in the country) and was a finalist for ED+C's 2008 Excellence in Design Awards.  The 16,000 square foot building now has a green roof, energy-efficient windows, a raised floor for air and electrical, a rainwater collection system, and a number of other green features:

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Update 5/18/09: This Blue Sky Homes prototype is complete!

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If you've ever been to Taiwan, you'll probably agree that this design for Chinatrust Bank's headquarters is spot on for the region.  Taiwan is so lush and green — the extensive allowance for green roofs, vertical courtyards, and open space in the central plaza likely blends right in to the terrain.  Designed by the LA office of NBBJ, with the assistance of local firm Fei & Cheng Associates, the development includes a 30-story headquarters building, 21-story commercial office building, 10-story hotel, and four-level retail center.  The development just broke ground earlier this month and will end up with 2.5 million square feet by about 2012. 

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We're giving a copy of this book away to one lucky commenter below, so make sure to comment before midnight on Sunday, March 15, 2009.*

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Design/build firm Aquidneck Fine Properties is getting ready for their next project called Swede Hill.  Designed by Estes/Twombly, the green home will be planted on an incredible patch of ocean-front land on Block Island, Rhode Island.  Aquidneck is seeking LEED Silver for the 3000 square foot home, which will be complete a little over a year from now.  I thought it would be nice to preview Swede Hill, since many of our readers favor the less modern of green homes.  In any event, here are some of the planned green features:

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If you didn’t already know, or couldn’t already tell, we’re seriously interested in the prefab world. Showing off new companies and innovative homes is what we do, so it’s our pleasure to talk about a relatively new company on the scene: Stillwater Dwellings. The Seattle-based company was founded by two architects and one builder/developer about eight months ago, and they’re going to break ground on the first home in Bend, Oregon this month. Stillwater put a lot of work into elucidating the “all-in” construction costs of a home, and they’re targeting prices in the range of $130 – 195 psf — quite competitive really for the prefab market. They also have a refreshing philosophy about how to do things; these are their fundamental beliefs:

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With the glut of commercial space available today and the promise of stimulus money, some developers are looking at green building as a way to stand out.  Brushing up on catch-phrases just isn't going to cut it; in the new construction space, they're competing with early adopters who have already embraced sustainable design, energy efficiency, and LEED and the like.  They'll be competing with commercial projects like this. 

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Solarsmith, a green building firm out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, recently helped Betsy Armstrong and Richard Barr build an eco-friendly, traditional southwest-style home in the foothills of Santa Fe.  The residence's roof is filled with solar panels, which are tied into the grid, helping to heat water for the radiant floors, exercise pool and appliances.  Excess energy is fed to neighboring homes.

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We've mentioned tons of prefab homes, but PLACE Houses is a new one for us.  This green home is a prefab design by PLACE Houses, a company offering smart, affordable, and green prefab designs to owners in the Pacific Northwest (and soon, the rest of the country).  Of note, the 2,800 square foot home is a far cry from the 5,400 square foot design another architect proposed, reports Metropolitan Home.  And in the end, the northwest modern residence incorporated a number of sustainable features:

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Just the other day, a hillside home in Palm Springs was featured in The Desert Sun.  The contemporary abode was designed by Lance O'Donnell of o2 Architecture, and he's hoping to get LEED Platinum certification in the next few months.  Lance was kind enough to provide some photos of the inside and outside, but if you're in the area and want to see more, make sure to attend the open house this Saturday from 1-5 pm at 2299 N. Via Monte Vista, Palm Springs. 

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About a year ago, we first brought you news of Method Homes and their plan to build a prefab cabin in Glacier, Washington.  And they built the inaugural Method Cabin in about three months.  Now, Method Homes, in collaboration with Balance Architects, is officially launching the Balance S-M-L Series of prefab designs with three main models: small, medium, and large.  Of note, these prefab models have been designed to arrive 95% complete within three months of purchase.  The models range in size from 540 to 856 square feet, and in price from $98,000 to $148,000. 

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It's been another fantastic month here at Jetson Green!  As you can tell with the above word cloud generated from article titles, we talked a lot about prefabs, homes, LEED, modernism, and all things "green."  Our coverage of technology and news was a little lacking, but tell me what you think.  If we're not talking about something that needs to be talked about, let us know.  Certainly, with Living Future 09 (Cascadia GBC's Unconference) from May 6-8, 2009, we'll be preparing a few articles on living buildings, biomimicry, and LEED for April and May.  In the mean time, follow us on Twitter or contact us if we lost your email or something … check out last month's articles and read what you might have missed. 

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It's fascinating to see the many and various forms created by prefab construction.  In this case, Live Edge and Paul Discoe are using a Japanese post and beam system of construction (see bottom two images) to create somewhat traditional (but clean) and warm prefab homes.  These homes are absolutely beautiful and built using reclaimed urban trees, which are removed for disease, storm damage, danger of falling, or construction clearing, etc.  The home pictured above is Live Edge's one-bedroom prototype, and the one immediately below is a two-bedroom home. 

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A competition for a community plan in China recently declared a winning entry entitled "The Tree of Light." The local government of Miyi County was looking for a way to create a landmark body of architecture to serve as a foundation for further development in the area.  From the banks of the Anning River rises a comprehensive master plan addressing needs for education, environmental restoration, and community identity.

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Just look at the before and after photos of this green home and you'll see a couple critical renovation strategies: (1) get rid of water-sucking grass without making your landscaping look crazy, and (2) keep the same size and scale of your home rather than building it into a monstrosity.  This home, located at 8020 S. W. Elmwood Street in Southwest Portland, is expected to receive the rare designation of LEED Platinum certification and is now listed for sale at $850,000.  Here are some of its green elements:

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We’ve heard that the value of green construction starts could reach $140 billion by 2013, but what about the market for green building materials? Thanks to a report by the Freedonia Group, Inc., we have some numbers to look at. According to the Green Building Materials to 2013 report released in February 2009, U. S. demand for green building products is expected to reach $80 billion by 2013. The market is currently at $57 billion, representing a whopping average 7.2% annual increase over the next five years.

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If you're the kind of reader that still likes the tactile feel of a good book or magazine, you might as well go give a couple magazines a quick look.  The March 2009 issue of Dwell focuses on the theme "Smarter, Greener, More Daring," while the April 2009 issue of Metropolitan Home looks at Green Renovations and the Greenest Little House in America.  There's plenty of high-quality reading material packed into both … well worth the combined cost of $10.98, if you buy them together. 

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Wow, isn't this home striking?  It's a green house and a house meant to act like a true greenhouse — the steel-framed structure is enveloped in alternating layers of insulated transparent glass and translucent polycarbonate plates, so when the sun comes through the glass and heats up the interior, the insulation in the glass keeps the heat inside.  The insulation and translucent materials also provide a level of privacy, particularly on the first level, whereas the glass is featured prominently in the more public areas of the home. 

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Currently, the only LEED Platinum (non-home) project in Kentucky is a visitor center, and this commercial building, The Green Building, could just become the next.  Located in the East Market District of Louisville Kentucky, an area increasingly being referred to as “NuLu,” or New Louisville, The Green Building is a major renovation of an old building.  Originally built 110 years ago as a dry goods store, the 14,000 sf masonry structure now houses a cafe, gallery, record label, book store, and more.  Its owners are Augusta and Gill Holland, transplants from New York who fell in love with the distressed East Market District.

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What's Sunday evening without a little Ty Pennington and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition?  I don't catch it every week, particularly if the Dallas Cowboys are on, but the program is a juggernaut for helping people in real need.  So we caught news that ABC was planning a green show for April 6 and were put in touch with the team doing a 5 kW solar photovoltaics installation.  They're using the Akeena Andalay system, which we mentioned previously was a Top 5 Green Building Product (as voted by the builders).  The Akeena Andalay system is pretty sharp, and Linda Panitz, a solar evangelist herself, was on the set with Akeena to install the system.  Here's our Q&A:

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About a month ago, we featured Concourse E's green home in Atlanta on 81 Weatherby, but Concourse E also developed the neighboring parcel with two townhomes.  Like 81, 85 and 89 Weatherby are both posh, modern, and green — just the way we like them.  85 is going for $524,500, while 89 is going for $529,500, which is roughly $170 per square foot.  For that, you get three bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms, and a large list of green features:

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It looks like Group 41 has been hard at work on a few designs for a multifamily project in Salt Lake County built entirely from containers.  Below you’ll see both proposals, the Curve Scheme and the Red Container Scheme, but the general idea is to create about 200 units of market-rate housing along the rail transportation corridor.  Group 41′s Container Nation developed the two proposals to take advantage of different approaches to the stacking and build out of the containers.  In all, probably 1000 containers would be used — but this is preliminary conceptual phase with preliminary local planning approvals expected in mid-2009 or so …

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This is the first citizenM hotel near Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.  Designed by Dutch design firm Concrete Architectural Associates, the hotel is made with prefabricated pods (or rooms) built in citizenM's own production facility.  The rooms have been prefabricated not only to reduce construction waste and save time, but they're also built this way to provide a consistent room experience to guests.  So when guests walk into a room, not only do they get a tightly designed and constructed space, but they get one that's full of geeky tech. 

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Recently, we mentioned reclaimed cardboard art, the kind of stuff that's perfect for your green boardroom, but here's another neat idea, this time from Studio Crank.  It's also a comically ironic idea: a waste paper basket made of 100% recycled cardboard.  It's called the "Chuck" Waste Paper Basket based on the notion that tons of reusable materials are typically chucked into landfills. 

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