The ultra-stylish bloggers at PrairieMod turned me on to a story in Kiplinger’s, which details the process that a couple went through to get their dream prefab home.  I liked this article for two reasons:  (1) they talk about the prefab process in terms of tangible, financial figures, and (2) they go through some of obstacles and intricacies particular to prefab purchasing and construction.  With many articles on prefab, authors glorify the design (which makes sense because many of them are extremely stylish) and harp on the price.  With prefab pricing, it seems that the common wisdom is that prefabs are cheap for custom-built, architect-designed homes, but they are expensive when compared to a traditional home. 

Read more...

Whether you’re a real estate developer, owner, seller, broker, agent, speculator, investor, enthusiast, or whatever, there’s a trend that is important to grasp.  I read news of a survey that illustrates the trend.  Here’s what it said:  Over 50% of homeowners would like to make improvements to their homes and given a choice of improvements, homeowners would opt for the eco-friendly improvements.  Even when luxury upgrades are available.  This was the scenario in a survey performed by Wells Fargo:  Select among nine home improvement choices, if you were given $50,000: 

Read more...

Recently I blogged about the Happy New House by Neil Denari, and the concept that home design has a lot do with our personalities–even our psychological well-being.  After reading below, I want to hear what you think, so feel free to drop a quick comment if you have the time. 

Read more...

"The ‘New Reality’ of Green Building from Environmental Cause to Financial Opportunity."  I wanted to put up a quick post regarding BD+C’s new green building white paper–it’s big-time informative, talking about green building in the context of office, retail, hotel, restaurant, residential, education, healthcare, and government buildings.  If you don’t read anything else (it’s a dense report of 64 pages, of which about 10-15 pages are for so called green sponsors), read the Executive Summary on page three to catch a drift about what’s going on in the industry.  One issue that keeps popping up is the issue of whether green buildings cost more than code-built buildings.  For one thing, certification will cost some money (unless it’s LEED-Platinum), but other than that, there’s a small premium that an owner will pay.  But that’s when you analyze the building on a first costs basis.  If you’re looking at first costs + operating costs (which the industry is still trying to work out), green buildings can be pretty attractive.  With the possibility of higher occupancy rates, less tenant turnover, and less $$ on energy + water, green building is a phenomenon to be reckoned with.  Plus, green buildings try to source materials locally, so to the extent that this happens, $$ spent on materials stay in the cities you’re trying to rebuild and develop.  There are lots of positives…

Read more...

I read an excellent article about San Francisco’s Clipper House by LORAX Development in Solar Today magazine and wanted to share some info about it.  The Clipper House has become a showcase for residential sustainable features, basically showing off everything but the financial case for green building.  The 2,600 sf home was designed by John Maniscalco/Architecture, Inc., and was completed in the summer of 2006.  For a cool $1.9 M, you could probably purchase this incredible home–often referred to as the Greenest Home in San Francisco. 

Read more...

If you know me, you know I like to read.  You name it, I read it.  Books.  Magazines.  Newspapers.  Online.  Actually, I have a theory on book reading, which goes like this:  if you don’t pay reasonable market value for it, you won’t be motivated to read it.  It’s like a gym membership.  With this in mind, I’ve put together an online shop of sustainable books, The Jetson Green Sustainability Bookstore, in case anyone is searching for good material on environmentalism.  There’s a lot out there.  Let me know if I left something out that you think merits inclusion.  Here are the categories:

Read more...

This is incredible.  It would be nice if someone here in the U. S. would put something like THE ORB into production.  According to the company’s website, The Orb "is a new generation of mobile structures created specifically to fire the imagination of a younger, style conscious generation.  It has been designed to appeal across three distinct markets: commercial show units, holiday park homes and adaptable home offices.  Built to a standard far beyond that of comparable structures using marine technology, it is both incredibly durable, lightweight and transportable."  Appeal?  Done. 

Read more...

This green home was built in 2003, so it’s not anything new in particular, but I wanted to share some of the green concepts the homeowners worked through during process of building it.  First, the owners, Brandy LeMae + Joseph Vigil, purchased an odd-shaped lot near a well-traveled road for $157k.  It was rather cheap, with some lots in Boulder costing nearly $400k, so the design would have to solve the noise and space problem.  Second, they wanted a green home on a budget.  In the end, they were able to build the Hickory House for about $91 psf.  There’s an excellent article from Dwell about their process, but I’m going to explain a little below.

Read more...

My wife sent me this article from Perez Hilton about Brad Pitt, who will be appearing on NBC’s Today with Ann Curry to talk about his green development project in New Orleans.  I’m not a reader of the celebrity sites, so I would have missed this, but the New Orleans development project is really moving along.  And the green houses they are building are 100% incredible.  Brad has good style — it fits so well with Jetson Green, we should just bring him on as a regular writer! 

Read more...

I’ve been sitting on details of the newest green development in Philly and I just can’t hold it any longer.  Actually, CEO Steven Nebel shot me an email and said it was okay to use the renderings.  The development is called High Street Development, and it’s expected to be a net zero energy, mixed use community.  High Street Development will have modern residential units ranging in size from 1000 to 2100 sf.  Recently, the project was presented to the community and enthusiastically received, which I think is due to the project’s innate approachability and sustainability.  Let me explain that. 

Read more...

The following post may seem a little esoteric, if not absolutely dry, but don’t be intimidated.  Bear with me a second as the idea opens up towards the end of this article.  Every year, roughly 1.89 billion tons of cement (the main component of concrete) are manufactured.  Cement accounts for about 7-8% of all human-generated CO2 emissions (a main ingredient in the recipe for climate change).  Here’s what happens: cement is made by burning fossil fuels to heat a limestone and clay powder to 1500 °C.  Then, the resulting cement powder is mixed with water and gravel and the invested energy in the powder is released into chemical bonds that form calcium silicate hydrates.  Those calcium silicate hydrates bind the gravel to create concrete. 

Read more...

"It's like a loft you can take anywhere."  Ideabox offers a pretty cool product in the modern, prefabricated housing industry.  Ideabox emphasizes good design, not square footage, and they make it easy to do.  With Ideabox, you're going to get the entire package right to your site.  There's one day to install it, one day to build the deck, and that's about it.  Depending on your site, all you really need to do is set up the water, power, septic, and sewer systems.  You can even go wireless with the turnkey solar system package, too. 

Read more...

I’d like to make it easy for you to attend West Coast Green 2007.  This will mark our 1st year as a premiere Media Partner with the nation’s largest residential green building conference and trade show. The event takes place on September 20-22, 2007, at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, CA. The first two days of the conference are reserved for trade only, and on day three, the doors open to homeowners. 

Read more...

What do you get with prefab?  (1) modular economies of scale and supposedly less construction waste, (2) labor efficient construction process, (3) ease of variability or parts interchangeability, and (4) the possibility of green, energy efficient homes, if you make that happen.  Jot Homes is backed by Yeh + Jarrard, who built the prototype JoT House in Joshua Tree (get it? JOshua Tree?) for a jaw-dropping $48 psf way back in 2004.  It seems that one of the ways they kept the costs down was by using a "central utility core" for the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry supplies.  Simple plumbing is cheaper, right?!  In addition, they use SIPs and sustainable harvested birch plywood (as opposed to fir plywood that comes from old growth), Forbo Marmoleum and cork tiles for the flooring, double-glazed low-E glass for the windows, and LED lighting technology.  Kitchen and cabinetry fixtures were all sourced from IKEA, too.

Read more...

This weekend at Dwell on Design (this is a sneak peak), Jeriko House and Patrick Tighe are going to announce a watershed collaboration on a new kind of prefab, the Nodul(ar) House. Readers of Jetson Green are familiar with Jeriko House, a Louisiana-based prefab company that we’ve written about here and here. Architect Patrick Tighe is well known and highly accomplished, including two major achievements: National AIA Young Architect (2006) and Rome Prize fellowship in architecture (2006-2007).

Read more...

I really like Haworth.  In short, Haworth is a leader in office furniture and architectural interiors.  They do everything with a commitment to appealing aesthetics, thoughtful ergonomics, and sustainability.  I came in contact with some Haworth employees when I was finishing my JD/MBA program in Dallas, and they gave me a personal tour of the super-stylish Dallas showroom (a commercial interiors office display built to LEED-CI Gold standards).  Now, Haworth is working on a major, award-winning overhaul of their Holland, Michigan Headquarters.  The 300,000 sf renovation was designed to meet LEED-NC Gold standards; some of the building’s green features include the following:

Read more...

When I was growing up, if there was an errant light or something on, my dad would take my brothers and sisters into the room and say something like, "kids, this light isn’t going to turn itself off and it isn’t free to keep on either."  Needless to say, I learned to turn things off at a young age.  To make this process easier, two pieces of technology aim to eliminate the need to micro-manage electronics in your home. 

Read more...

Have you ever wanted to walk through a prefab or see what the excitement is about in person?  If you live on the west coast, the opportunity to walk through a prefab happens fairly frequently.  Just wait for the right conference or event and you'll hear about a tour or walk through.  Now, two hours north of San Francisco in Napa County (Pope Valley), there's a Rocio Romero prefab open for tour, rental, or even for commercial photo, movie, and production shoots. 

Read more...

I hope readers enjoyed the West Coast Green and Jetson Green partnership … personally, I’m glad this website was able to participate in a small way.  In the few weeks leading up to the event, I received a flood of emails for products to be showcased at WCG, and I wasn’t able to research each product and do an individual post.  So, I’d like to share with you some of the leads I received.  Feel free to check them out, if you have time. 

Read more...

Just a quick note on a new book that’s out by Jerry Yudelson called Green Building A to Z.  I received an advance copy that I’ve read through and want to give away to a random commenter.*  As the preface explains, "[this book] is designed for you, intelligent reader, who may not be actively engaged in architecture or building engineering, but who needs a quick introduction to the rationale for green buildings and the language of the field."  I’d like to describe it as a dictionary of everything relating to green building, but it’s more than that.  Yudelson has an approachable perspective and breaks everything down nicely.  After reading through explanations of biophilia, thermal energy storage, and commissioning, you’ll be hitting on all cylinders.  I think this is a good book to have on hand as a reference, almost as a checklist of things to think about with a project.  It’s also a good book for building owners, investors, or lenders that want to know more about green building principles. 

Read more...

Here’s a little shout out for a brand spanking new website called ChooseRenewables. com.  I like the website because it empowers individuals with facts necessary to live in a more sustainable way.  Included below are images of my experiment with CR, but this is all specific to MY HOME ADDRESS.  Every location is different, so feel free to plug in your address and see what it provides.

Read more...

This is Boxhouse, an award-winning modern home in Boulder, Colorado, designed and built by Rob Pyatt as a University of Colorado College of Architecture & Planning project (advised/sponsored by Rick Sommerfeld).  Boxhouse explores adaptive reuse and recycling of an existing 900 sf home built in 1948.  Tons of images below …

Read more...

Over the weekend, I noticed another good article in the NY Times by Amy Gunderson, with the above illustration by Nancy Doninger.  The article makes some salient points about prefab, things that must be considered before getting into it.  For instance, one customer said "there is no substitute for seeing a house in person," because what you see online or in a rendering, may not be what you actually get.  The same customer opted for Rocio Romero, and the home took 10 months to build at a cost of $300 psf (including installation and finishes).  That price ends up being pretty decent, when compared to the cost of going after a custom-design modernist home. 

Read more...

I’ve got a press release on "One of the Greenest Luxury Homes Ever Built," a home that is "sure to raise the bar for building green in the high-end market."  Folks, in our day and age, why spend $2,000 per month on heating and electricity for your 9,800 sf home, when you can trim that bill right down to a paltry $350 per month?  At a time when luxury living is scrutinized for excess energy consumption, why not build a 5 bedroom, 6.5 bath high-end home with a "small environmental footprint"?  Seriously, with smart, energy-efficient design (read: 4 extra solar panels), you can generate enough electricity to run all 6 interior refrigerators.  And by using recycled and reclaimed wood (where possible of course), non-toxic blow-in insulation, and low-VOC finishings, this home is going to surpass Built Green standards.  Designers worked their hearts out to build the greenest home possible without sacrificing precious square footage, and this home could house at least four regular sized families by our calculations.  You’ll be glad to know this hulking home, located at 995 Longbow Place in Larkspur, Colorado, is on sale for the very reasonable, and very green, price of $4.5 million. 

Read more...

At West Coast Green in San Francisco last week, U. S. EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine announced winners of the first inaugural Lifecycle Building Challenge competition.  Winners were recognized for their cutting-edge green building ideas that aim to reduce environmental and energy impacts of buildings.  Ideas from the design contest will jumpstart the building industry to help reuse more of the 100 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris sent each year to landfills in the U. S.  The winners are listed below:

Read more...

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. 

Read more...

I have a couple clean tech articles I want to focus on.  It’s my personal belief that if we can learn and understand these technologies, we can apply and benefit from them.  The first article by BEST LIFE is called "5 Best Ways to Go Zero Energy at Home."  The article explains hot water panels, solar roofs, small wind turbines, water harvesters, and geothermal wells.  Importantly, for each technology, the generalized cost and potential benefits are explained.  If we know what the technology can do, and we can live with the price, why not talk to a professional about getting that technology installed on that next project?  That’s the way I see it. 

Read more...

Let’s talk about zero energy architecture and the Truro Residence.  It’s an amazing residence, currently under construction on one of Cape Cod’s beaches in Massachusetts.  Designed by Independence Energy Homes (IEH) and being constructed by Silvia and Silvia, the Truro Residence is meant to accommodate a large family and friends and still remain environmentally responsible.  When complete, it will have a tight building envelope, a geothermal heating system, solar photovoltaic system, tank-less water heaters, compact fluorescent lighting, and Energy Star appliances.  The home also will feature popular green materials such as bamboo flooring, blue-jean insulation, and natural stone.

Read more...

Exploring issues of sustainability and energy efficiency, the TrailerWrap Project aims to provide simple, affordable solutions to improve conditions in mass-produced, low-cost mobile homes.  Mobile homes are a prolific form of living, and important one, but they can be inefficient, ugly, and uncomfortable to live in.  So the University of Colorado at Denver College of Architecture cooked up sketches and prototypes, a kit to transform the common mobile home.  And now, that process is complete and they have the first actual TrailerWrap home.  I’m completely blown away by the results. 

Read more...

Environmentalism is all the rage right now, isn’t it?  It’s good, but we need to sift through some of the noise and clearly identify correct information.  With respect to the costs of green building, depending on who you talk to, it’s possible to get conflicting information.  To prove this point, try to survey a couple real estate pros (informally, of course) and you may be surprised by what you hear.  When I’m around seasoned real estate pros, I make it point to ask them what they think about green building.  The information is rarely consistent.  Below, we have three legitimate reports seeking to clarify the discussion on green building costs.  These reports are free, and by all means, email this post around to your real estate professional friends.  Let’s make this information viral.  Let’s get past any misunderstandings and start building better, more efficient buildings.

Read more...

A home doesn’t need to be modern to be green, but I like the modern ones. I’d love to see entire neighborhoods of modern green homes. I like the idea of changing the way we perceive the single-family home, too. Denser neighborhoods? Sure. Residential wind turbines? Definitely. Solar on the roof? You bet. But right now, we’re still in the early stages of recognizing legitimate green homes.

Read more...

This development on Reem Island called The Gate is currently under construction in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  We’re talking about a total of 11,300,000 sf of development space.  One building is the Sky Tower.  Sky Tower will be the tallest tower in Abu Dhabi and (only) the fifth largest tower in UAE.  Topping out at 83 stories and 300 meters, it is anticipated that Sky Tower will be the first building in the UAE to receive LEED certification.  The Gate Development will also include five 62-story towers and two 31-story buildings.  Designed and planned by Arquitectonica, The Gate is supposed to become the gateway to a new city. 

Read more...

The implications of this research are unbelievable.  Seriously.  I’ve written about the ten common problems associated with sprawl previously, but this story opens up the discussion again.  Angkor Wat is the home of a magnificent temple in Cambodia and was the center to one of the largest cities in the pre-industrialized world.  Recently, NASA used ground-sensing radar to study the extent of the city and found that it took up approximately 400 square miles.  In comparison, Phoenix sprawls across about 500 square miles, not including the suburbs.  The research revealed a complex network of canals, 1,000 man-made ponds, and roughly 70 long-lost temples.  The canals carried and distributed water towards the temple and through the south of Angkor.  Interestingly, the study also revealed evidence of breaches in dykes and areas where they attempted to fix the canals. 

Read more...

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. 

Read more...

This is just a quick administrative post on the status of Jetson Green.  I’m pleased to announce that Jetson Green has come upon two major milestones:  (1) passing the 100,000 unique visitors threshold + (2) passing the one year mark in existence.  As another interesting note, this post is number 400 for Jetson Green.  I’m proud of these achievements, but I want to thank the readers of Jetson Green.  We’re currently hovering around 900 readers in the feed, so this website is becoming considerable in reach.  As you can see from the graph below, it just keeps growing and improving.  I think these numbers are incredible, especially because this is a one-person endeavor and we haven’t hit the front page of digg (or similar).

Read more...

4/4/2009 Update: Logical Homes has officially launched!

Read more...

Eco Info
Powered by Joomla CMS.