Posts Tagged ‘green building’

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Simply Elemental

July 9, 2013

Mini House by Jonas Wagell – Dezeen.

In Sweden people are allowed to build a “Mini House,” like this one, on their property without a permit as long as it is not bigger than161 sq. ft.  (15 sq. meters)  How cool is that?  Most places in the US allow residents to put a garden shed in the back yard sans permit, but I am not at all sure that inviting our adult children to stay in the shed for a while would be very will received by the local building & zoning department!

www.crinklecrankle.com/ 4295754214_198a2e9a3d_o(1)Just think, it would only be necessary to visit the local builders supply where you can have one of these delivered completely assembled and installed for around $2000.  Well ok, I know it is not finish inside but considering that the Swedish version will run you about $15,000 without the kitchen or any heat, it is still a deal.  I have visions of of somehow combining one or two of these, a single wide and a carport into a really great country retreat.  It is simply elemental, don’t you think?

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Is “Green” a rich Man’s Concept?

June 11, 2013

I have found that many of the ostensibly sustainable building projects published these days are marginal in that  they are expiriments and very often partial as they focus on some special technology or strategy.  This is not to say that they lack value which, in my very humble opinion, is the operative word defining all things green.  In fact they render this project of special interest because it is real and as such offers insight into how the various peices and parts of what we think of as responsible building might manifest.   One has only to glance at the buzz words attached to the project for a protypical summary:  geothermal, net zero, solar, Leed.  These are all thought of as good and desirable things for the environmentally conscious homeowner.  Indeed, were it not for that tricky little concept called value,  many of the elements and strategies used to build this house are where I would have found myself starting had I been designing such a project.  Finally though it would have become necessary for me to ask, can a house costing $700,000 really be green?  If so, then to a very large percent of the world’s population “green” is a rich mans concept.

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Rethinking what a house ought to be.

July 19, 2012

Heating, Cooling and Day Lighting in a House by Nakae Architects, Kanaishi, Japan

If we were really energy and environmentally conscious, newly built American suburbs would consist of house that looked more like this one, and I don’t mean stylistically.  Many architects wait patiently to be handed a project with energy efficient heating, cooling and day lighting as main programmatic drivers, often cringing when asked to design with the likes of expansive south facing glass in a Texas development or rows of houses with rooms over unheated garages in a New Jersey subdivision.  Instead our housing markets are too often driven by the likes of granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and revivals of the revival of some historic style, and that does not even begin to mention too rigid building codes.

Is it possible that the current drop in home values is the result of more than failures in government and banking.  Is is possible that we have hit the saturation point;  that we are tired of the poor performing money pits that take more from our quality of life that they give?  If so, there is an army of architects out there waiting to help home owners rethink what exactly a house ought to be.