The world of prefab and modular homes.
 Entries tagged as 'green'

GreenPod Development

Link to GreenPod Development
http://www.greenpoddevelopment.com

We received an email a while back from info_smallGreenPod Development.

From their site:

GreenPods are compact custom modular homes built for energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and sustainability. From foundation to roof, inside and out, Pods can be individually customized and furnished to your specifications and individual living style.

They have a complete line of models called soloPODS:

Model Price Size BR Bath

info_smallLopez $60,000 372 sf 1 1
info_smallPort Townsend $85,000 420 sf 1 1
info_smallLummi $85,000 553 sf 1 1
info_smallBainbridge $85,000-$165,000 630 sf 1 1
info_smallMercer ? 648 sf 1 1
info_smallLudlow $95,000 731 sf 1 1
info_smallCamano $125,000 731 sf 1 1
info_smallLangley $150,000 731 sf 1 1
info_smallQuil ? 731 sf 1 1
info_smallWinslow Suspended ? 731 sf 1 1
info_smallOrcas $175,000 744 sf 1 1

Additional information:

Related Posts:
   1. GreenPod open house this weekend in Burlington, Washington (Dec 10, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small green modular

Ideabox Open House on March 26, 2009 in Port Townsend, WA

Link to Ideabox Open House on March 26, 2009 in Port Townsend, WA
http://activerain.com/blogsview/976564/ideabox-is-almost-ready-on-Cherry-Street-in-Port-Townsend

info_smallideabox recently finished moving their info_smallconfluence prefab from the 2009 Portland Home & Garden Show to a neighborhood in Port Townsend, WA.

status: available
size: 840 sf
br: 2
bath: 1.75
price: $184,000 - $224,000 for land/box packages in Port Townsend
footprint: 57’ 4” long x 15’ wide

Realtor Charlie Arthur of RE/MAX FIRST, INC. is blogging about the house:

This unit is going to be our model unit for the presales...We will be offering 2 and 3 bedroom homes for in the low 200's

Scroll through his recent posts for more details, e.g.

  • video 1 (0:36) of the house arriving in Port Townsend
  • video 2 (0:28) of the house on the lot

If you find yourself in the area, check out their upcoming Open House:

where: Port Townsend, WA
location: 1650 Cherry Street
date: March 26, 2009
time: 9:00am - 12:00pm

Hat tip: Jetson Green on February 18, 2009.

Related Posts:
   1. This week: Ideabox, Method Homes, and unconventional (Jul 26, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small green modular event ideabox

Green Modern Kits by Copeland Casati

Link to Green Modern Kits by Copeland Casati
http://www.greenmodernkits.com/c3.htm

We received an email a while back from Copeland Casati, founder of info_smallGreen Modern Kits. Some background:

The housing crisis and concern over our earth propelled her to gather green building energy-system and design partners to help other eco-conscious individuals achieve their green goals. She wants to help other people like herself find affordable, green housing solutions.

The company currently has two models available.

Both kits are bare bones: you get beautiful design and structure (SIPs exterior walls & roof, and design documents) and you will need to finish the house with a local contractor.

Model information:

model: info_smallcasa ti
available: yes
price: starting at $22,537
size: 1,200 sf
br: 3
bath: 1-3
fabrication time: 3 weeks
floorplans: casa ti floorplan (PDF)


designer: info_smallGrace Street
available: yes
price: starting at $30,000
size: 2,028 - 2,168 sf
br: 3
bath: 2-3
fabrication time: 3 weeks
floorplans:


Also check out:

Related Posts:
   1. Green Modern Kit Open House on September 26, 2009 (Sep 17, 2009)
   2. In the news: Copeland Casati's Green Modern Kit House (Aug 12, 2009)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model green kit modern

Prefab Green from Michelle Kaufmann Designs

Link to Prefab Green from Michelle Kaufmann Designs
http://www.amazon.com/dp/product/1423604970/

info_smallMichelle Kaufmann just released a new book called "Prefab Green".

The book explains how MKD blends sustainable home layouts, eco-friendly materials, and low-energy options to create a “prepackaged” green solution to home design.

Listed at $30.00, the book is on sale at Amazon for $19.80.

See also: our page of prefab books.

author: Michelle Kaufmann and Cathy Remick
release date: February 15, 2009
list price: $30
details: 176 pages, Hardcover
publisher: Gibbs Smith

Related Posts:
   1. Michelle Kaufmann Designs closing (May 27, 2009)
2 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green MKD book

The sustainability of modular housing

The New York Times recently discussed the sustainability of modular housing.

The modular housing industry likes to say that it has always had a few characteristics that today might be considered eco-friendly — from reduced waste to a smaller construction footprint.

But it’s only recently — and increasingly amid the flagging housing market — that manufacturers of factory-built homes have realized that concepts like efficiency and sustainability can make for good business strategy.

Mentioned in the article:

Read the entire article.

Author: Nick Chambers
Publication: New York Times
Section: Green Inc. Blog ("Energy, the Environment and the Bottom Line")
Length: 467 words
Date: February 11, 2009

(Hat tip: Charles Bevier of Building Systems on February 11, 2009.)

Related Posts:
   1. In the news: New World Home (Aug 31, 2009)
   2. New Old Green Modular™ by New World Home (Jul 10, 2009)
   3. New models from Ecohealth and Penn Lyon (Apr 06, 2009)
   4. Ecohealth in the news (Apr 06, 2009)
   5. Modular Construction in Green Building seminar on March 19, 2009 (Mar 16, 2009)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LivingHomes green MKD modular Penn Lyon Homes Ecohealth Homes New World Home

The Brightbuilt Barn

Link to The Brightbuilt Barn
http://www.brightbuiltbarn.com/pdfs/BBB_press_kit_v3.2.pdf

The New York Times recently featured a prefab house called the info_smallBrightBuilt Barn.

According to the BrightBuilt Barn website:

BrightBuilt Barn, a project that pushes the envelope of sustainable design, is the practical outcome of an in-depth collaboration between a team of the Northeast’s top green professionals and builders, and a visionary client coming together to create a super-green, offsite fabricated, and beautiful Net-Zero building that can be replicated and adapted over time.

The details:

manufacturer: info_smallBensonwood
price: $200,000
size: 700 sf
beds: 1 - 2
baths: 1

Follow the regularly updated blog to track the progress or check out the media kit (pdf) to see floorplans.

Other coverage around the web:

For more details, read the entire article.

Author: Steven Kurutz
Publication: The New York Times
Section: Home & Garden
Length: 195 words
Date: January 14, 2009

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model green modular

Michelle Kaufmann: there's a bright side to the current housing market troubles

Link to Michelle Kaufmann: there's a bright side to the current housing market troubles
http://blog.michellekaufmann.com/

Back in November, info_smallMichelle Kaufmann released a new white paper (pdf) titled "Redefining Cost: A Beacon of Hope Shines through Housing Market Gloom".

In it, she says:

The convergence of the financial, energy, and housing crises has essentially become a perfect storm with the power not only to weed out the risky and damaging housing industry practices of old but also to encourage the promulgation of more economically and environmentally sustainable practices going forward.

While the paper doesn't address prefab specifically, it covers issues that could affect the industry. It's definitely worth a look.

Hat tip: Building Systems on November, 27, 2008.

Related Posts:
   1. Michelle Kaufmann Designs closing (May 27, 2009)
   2. MKD proposes green "nutrition labels," France already has a good start (Oct 14, 2008)
1 comment, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green

Prefabs in Turkey

Link to Prefabs in Turkey
http://www.orcayapi.com/

Turkish newspaper Hürriyet reports on Turkey's first eco-friendly prefab homes by Orca Yapı Sistemleri:

Orca Yapı began work on the design in 2006. A project request from Sudan required the company to design a steel-structured prefabricated home unit, with a two-year guarantee, that could endure temperatures ranging from plus 50 degrees to minus 50 degrees Celsius. The company added their own requirement of earthquake durability, making it more attractive in the domestic market. The design's first thumbs-up came from the Ministry of Public Works whose tests revealed the house to be durable in earthquakes reaching 7.5 on the Richter scale.

Sustainability and earthquake durability aside, the real draw for the unit is the cost.... The baseline cost for a unit, which does not include any alternative energy production methods like the active solar power water heating system that is installed on the show model in Kocaeli, is $295 per square meter.

That comes out to about $27.50 a square foot. That's in Turkey; I wonder how much it would cost to build the same home here.

The company website is in Turkish, but they do have a video page that's worth a look.

Publication: Hürriyet
Length: 712 words
Date: October 31, 2008

(Hat tip: Treehugger)

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green Turkey

GreenPod open house this weekend in Burlington, Washington

Link to GreenPod open house this weekend in Burlington, Washington
http://www.greenpoddevelopment.com/

We just received an email from Ann Raab at info_smallGreenPod Development:

Our first GreenPod home, Franny’s Pod, named after its owner ... will be complete in a few days!

Members of the press, government officials, and the public are invited to tour Franny's new home, talk with GreenPod designers and staff, and learn more about sustainable living.

where: Burlington, WA
location: Transform manufacturing plant, 11857 Bay Ridge Drive
date: December 13-14, 2008
time: 10:00am - 3:00pm
cost: Free!

Related Posts:
   1. GreenPod Development (Apr 02, 2009)
1 comment, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green modular GreenPod Development

Agriboard SIPs made from wheat and rice straw

Link to Agriboard SIPs made from wheat and rice straw
http://www.agriboard.com/

Treehugger's Lloyd Alter recently attended the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Boston. He describes Agriboard Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) made by Agriboard Industries as

perhaps the best thing I saw

We previously covered SIPs and how they are made.

In constrast, an Agriboard SIP:

... uses wheat and rice straw that is normally burned or ploughed under, and builds it into a panel that delivers R-25, not as good as a styrofoam SIP but pretty good and in a form that gives you a tight envelope.

Related Posts:
   1. So, what are SIPs anyway? (Mar 27, 2007)
1 comment, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green SIPs

Modular classroom from Project Frog

Link to Modular classroom from Project Frog
http://www.bostonherald.com/business/technology/general/view.bg?articleid=1133818

The Boston Herald recently reprinted an Associated Press article about a modular classroom built by Project Frog.

it's a demonstration of how modular construction can be used to construct green buildings cheaper, faster and better.

The classroom was built as a part of the Greenbuild International Conference & Expo which was in Boston last week.

Project Frog ... uses modular building to offer affordable enviro-friendliness — [Mark Miller, the company’s chief executive officer] says its buildings are 25 percent cheaper than traditional construction, though more expensive than normal modular buildings... "I think it’s a huge and neglected part of green building," said [Miller].

The article listed a number of advantages of modular construction, including:

- each piece of the home can be specially designed and fitted, using materials produced with the least environmental impact for maximum energy efficiency and health - each component — the kitchen, the wiring — can be tested for quality in a factory away from the wind and rain

But also recognized the many challenges: (some we agree with, others we don't)

  • perception of being cheap and ugly
  • Americans generally remain skeptical about the quality of buildings
  • standardization can be a drawback ... because most people want to custom build
  • limited by relatively few modular building producers
  • difficulties transporting the sections to some tightly packed areas
  • nature of the housing market, in which most people remodel existing homes, rather than build new ones

Miller is hopeful despite the current housing market:

I can almost guarantee you that at the end of this, green building will still be around, and will probably be kicking up even more, and modular will still be around and be kicking up even more.

Read the whole article for more details, including interviews with:

Author: Associated Press
Publication: Boston Herald
Section: Technology Coverage
Length: 708 words
Date: November 20, 2008

Coverage of Project Frog on other blogs:

Related Posts:
   1. Project FROG in California (Jun 12, 2009)
   2. UK prefab school (Jul 09, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green article modular

Binary Design Studio and the SEED[pod]

Link to Binary Design Studio and the SEED[pod]
http://binarydesignstudio.com/

Last month, a few blogs covered new prefab concepts from info_smallBinary Design Studio.

On October 13, 2008 Archinect wrote:

Binary has also created small SEED (pods) as an alternative form of affordable dwelling for that segment of the global market that cannot qualify for a traditional home.

(SEED = Small Energy Efficient Dwelling)

The Archinect post also briefly discusses another prefabricated element the studio is developing:

they are producing ceramic blocks, based on the thermodynamic strategies of barrel cacti and termite mounds.... Vollen and Clifford will manufacture the blocks themselves. They hope that these materials will soon be available in new homes.

On October 23, 2008 Inhabitat commented:

Like many prefab homes, the seed(pod) is based upon the idea that families can purchase a smaller home and then add on to it with modules as they need more space.

On October 27, 2008 Treehugger shared a skeptical view of small, affordable housing:

Such a lovely story, and a lovely design too. There are just a couple of problems with incremental design that so many in the prefab world have tried to solve: 1) Land ... 2) Laws ... 3) Price per square foot ... 4) Banks.

(Read the post for details on each.)

Other blog coverage:

Related Posts:
   1. SEED[pod] by the University of Arizona (Sep 21, 2009)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small green

Michelle Kaufmann interview at Green by Design

Link to Michelle Kaufmann interview at Green by Design
greenbydesign.com

Martha Denly of Green by Design was impressed by info_smallMichelle Kaufmann's white paper on "nutrition labels for homes". She had a few questions which Michelle Kaufmann was kind enough to answer.

Of particular interest to Prefabcosm readers:

Martha Denly:

I’d like to challenge the commonly held belief that the initial cost of a green home is always higher. It [may] be safe to assume there’s an average premium for green (you use $1-$2/sq. ft.), but is a premium necessarily the case? Have you seen any examples of green homes that were equivalent in upfront cost?

Michelle Kaufmann:

...I think it’s time that green builders take a (smart!) page out of the cookie-cutter suburban developer’s handbook and start incorporating some of that tried-and-true streamlining into their own practice. Of course, green builders need to take a more sustainable approach, but being able to mass-produce green homes will go farther than anything else to get rid of the green premium.

That’s exactly why we use prefabricated modular construction to produce our homes. It not only allows for reduced costs, but also reduces timeframes and construction waste (as much as 50 to 75 percent less than with conventional homes). It’s helping us to get closer to achieving our mission of making thoughtful, sustainable design accessible to all.

Read the entire post for the full Q&A.

Related Posts:
   1. Michelle Kaufmann Designs closing (May 27, 2009)
   2. MKD proposes green "nutrition labels," France already has a good start (Oct 14, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green MKD

Architectural Record: the VH R-10 gHouse

Link to Architectural Record: the VH R-10 gHouse
http://archrecord.construction.com/residential/recordhouses/2008/08_VH/1.asp

Architectural Record shared an online excerpt of an April 2008 article about the VH R-10 gHouse on Martha's Vineyard.

Where did they come up with the name?

  • VH = Vineyard Haven, the town on Martha's Vineyard where the house is located
  • R-10 = the zoning district
  • gHouse = guest house

[The house was] so profoundly shaped by local restrictions that it adopted the zoning district—R-10—as part of its name.

The local restrictions seem tight:

Guesthouses in the district...may encompass no more than 600 square feet, their height may not exceed 24 feet...the basement may not be accessed from the building’s interior.

But the architect managed to work around them:

The small loft and spacious lower-level guest suite do not count toward the square footage allotted by zoning so, cleverly, 600 technical square feet become 1,000 square feet of livable space.

Details on the house:

model: VH R-10 gHouse
designer: Darren Petrucci, AIA
construction method: structural insulated panels (SIPs)
size: 1,000 sf
footprint: 16' x 40'
beds: 2
baths: 1
lot: 12,518 sf

Be sure to check out the images:

Subtitle: Pushing the envelope: Darren Petrucci reinvents the vacation guesthouse with the VH R-10 gHouse on Martha's Vineyard
Author: Beth Broome
Publication: Architectural Record
Section: Residential
Length: 506 words (excerpt of article)
Date: April 2008

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green SIPs modern

3 prefabs among winners of the second annual Lifecycle Building Challenge

Link to 3 prefabs among winners of the second annual Lifecycle Building Challenge
http://www.lifecyclebuilding.org/

The winners of the second annual Lifecycle Building Challenge (LBC2 or LBC 2008) were announced recently. About the challenge:

Lifecycle building is designing buildings to facilitate disassembly and material reuse to minimize waste, energy consumption, and associated greenhouse gas emissions. Also known as design for disassembly and design for deconstruction, lifecycle building describes the idea of creating buildings that are stocks of resources for future buildings.

Given those goals, it's no surprise that the three winners in the Building category are prefab:

TriPod by Carnegie Mellon University

TriPod is a prototype house demonstrating the "Plug and Play" concept and is designed to provide an innovative alternative to the currently unimaginative housing industry. ... [A] mechanical "core" ... acts as a motherboard that is able [to] accept multiple "pods" that are living, cooking, and sleeping spaces. This modular design allows homeowners to change their homes by adding or subtracting pods to suit their needs over time.

The Workshop by Schemata Workshop

There are two units in the building — in the first iteration the first story is an office; the second is an apartment. The building is elevated on concrete piers and cantilevers over an existing structure on-site

info_smallLoblolly House by info_smallKieranTimberlake Associates.

(See our previous coverage of Loblolly House.)

The challenge is sponsored by West Coast Green, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Building Materials Reuse Association, American Institute of Architects and Southface.

(Hat Tip: Jetson Green on October 29, 2008)

Related Posts:
   1. The EPA's Lifecycle Building Challenge; July 31 deadline (Jul 01, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green KieranTimberlake competition

Blu Homes

Link to Blu Homes
bluhomes.com

We recently received an email from info_smallBlu Homes.

According to their website:

Our first homes are under development in Utah and Massachusetts, and are expected to be completed in Winter 2008.

All of their modular homes are fully finished, with a fabrication time of 4-6 weeks and installation time of less than 10 days. They offer several models:

model size baths price range

Origin studio - 2 BR 1 $50,000 - $115,000

Retreat 2 BR 2 $165,000 - $195,000
3 BR 2 $210,000 - $255,000

Balance 2 BR 1 $125,000 - $150,000
2 BR + office 2 $165,000 - $195,000

They also offer "Flex" spaces to enlarge an existing home.

From their site:

  • Co-founder and President, Bill Haney, shares (video, 2:35) their philosophy.
  • Follow their blog.

Preston at Jetson Green has covered the company:

As did Andrew Stone of Active Rain.

Related Posts:
   1. In the news: Blu Homes acquires rights to Michelle Kaufmann's designs (Sep 30, 2009)
   2. Podcast features Marmol Radziner and Blu Homes (Aug 14, 2009)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model green company Blu Homes

MKD proposes green "nutrition labels," France already has a good start

Link to MKD proposes green
michellekaufmann.com

Last week, info_smallMichelle Kaufmann Designs released a white paper on "nutrition labels for homes":

Green homes are in demand. Buying a green home, however, can be a mystifying, exasperating process. With all the various green home labels and certifications available, buyers want for a way to compare the sustainability of one for-sale home to another. Applying a universal sustainability label to homes, just as we apply nutrition labels to food, would answer this need and further encourage the growth of the green housing market...

By coincidence, we just read an article in Green Building Elements that suggests France already has a good start. The article covers the EvolutiV house by designer info_smallOlgga Architectes:

The media in France AND the architecture firm who designed the house feel compelled to advertise efficiency in terms of a single number that is easy to understand and can be used to compare this home to others one might choose. I’ve rarely if ever seen that in discussion of US prefab options (or other green homes) - outside of a LEED rating, we’re often left to guess exactly how eco-friendly that home is. We’d love to see this become more widespread in the US - information is power, and simple, objective numbers like this can help us separate the truly eco-friendly from innovative designs that are green in name (or advertising) only.

Related Posts:
   1. Michelle Kaufmann Designs closing (May 27, 2009)
   2. Michelle Kaufmann: there's a bright side to the current housing market troubles (Jan 09, 2009)
   3. Michelle Kaufmann interview at Green by Design (Dec 02, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green MKD

Modular Homes according to the Christian Science Monitor

Link to Modular Homes according to the Christian Science Monitor
http://features.csmonitor.com/environment/2008/08/13/factory-built-homes-may-be-greener/

The Christian Science Monitor took a look at modular homes last week, focusing on the green qualities:

This summer, two exhibitions of modular houses – at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) and New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) – are putting a spotlight on how off-site building techniques can shrink the carbon footprint of a new house.

The article cites a number of reasons why building in the factory is a good idea:

  • finish construction usually takes a few weeks, not months, saving energy by requiring fewer trips to the job site by construction workers
  • by building indoors, workers can also more easily make sure that energy-saving features like insulation are carefully and properly installed for maximum effectiveness
  • individual home-building companies may not have the resources to keep current on the latest "high-performance building" techniques ... but modular homes can have state-of-the-art environmental design built into them at the factory

The companies mentioned in the article:

Read the complete article for details.

subtitle: Modular houses are built to higher standards and with less waste, proponents say
publication: The Christian Science Monitor
author: Gregory M. Lamb
length: 1,100 words
publication date: August 13, 2008

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green MKD article KieranTimberlake modular

The EPA's Lifecycle Building Challenge; July 31 deadline

Link to The EPA's Lifecycle Building Challenge; July 31 deadline
http://www.lifecyclebuilding.org/

We missed this item last year when we covered West Coast Green 2007: the EPA's Lifecycle Building Challenge. From a West Coast Green email:

... a design competition for students and professionals focusing solely on innovation regarding deconstruction and building material reuse.

And the Lifecycle Building Challenge was born! Submissions from architects, students, planners and builders poured in, ranging from de-nailer guns to radio-tagged, re-useable wall panels to design that considers reuse as it's primary function.

The awards were presented last year at West Coast Green.

The Challenge returns to this year's show. The ability to take apart a building and re-assemble it elsewhere seems like prefab in its purest form.

where: West Coast Green 2008
deadline: July 31, 2008

Related Posts:
   1. 3 prefabs among winners of the second annual Lifecycle Building Challenge (Nov 20, 2008)
   2. groHome can be taken apart (Jul 02, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green system process West Coast Green

This week: Taliesin, Joshua Tree, mkSolaire and more

Link to This week: Taliesin, Joshua Tree, mkSolaire and more
http://prairiemod.typepad.com/prairiemod/2008/06/taliesin-prefab.html

I missed last week, so here is two weeks of prefab news. Daily posts will resume this week; sorry for the gaps!

Jetson Green links to a student prefab project at Taliesin West:

The students, with Dean Victor Sidy and Jennifer Siegal of OMD, designed a simple but elegant home with sustainability in mind. At first, they were going to prefabricate the structure, but later decided to go instead with on-site, panelized construction using SIPs for the walls, roof, and floor.

Last week, Inhabitat's Prefab Friday discussed a unique idea for Olympic stadiums:

Currently there are plans in place to dismantle around 70% of the proposed London Olympic Stadium, pack up the components, and send them to the host of the 2016 Olympics!

Yesterday, Prefab Friday covered the Joshua Tree house that we've seen previously:

This steel clad prefab is a compact two bedroom “mountain refuge” with a welcoming, and surprisingly roomy, wooden interior.

Two weeks ago, Inhabitat looked at a container home in New Zealand.

LLoyd Alter, of Treehugger, wrote about green prefab at the Huffington Post:

They are everywhere in all the magazines: "Green" modern prefabs. But are they really green?

Treehugger visited the mkSolaire at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry:

The Smart Home has been outfitted with some of the most sustainable and responsible options available for building and furnishing a house, while the landscaping illustrates many ways to sustain and replenish the surrounding environments we live in. It’s really spectacular to see the museum’s courtyard transformed in this way.

Finally, Dwell on Design started yesterday. We'll have a full review of happenings at the show this coming week.

Related Posts:
   1. Taliesen Mod.Fab complete  (Feb 24, 2009)
   2. Dwell on Design bringing an entire neighborhood of prefab homes to LA June 5-8; get in FREE (May 23, 2008)
   3. This week: Joshua Tree, EvolutiV, mkSolaire debuts and more (May 10, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: OMD green This Week mkSolaire Dwell on Design

Colorado modular on a budget

Link to Colorado modular on a budget
www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_9365484

The Denver Post reports on a modular homeowner near Denver:

Jill Warner is having a new home built in Salida that's as green as possible without "going overboard," she said.

...

Warner wanted to buy a prefab home from the beginning, but her early research revealed a stiff price tag — about $320 per square foot using an out-of-state builder.

Then she dug deeper and found companies closer to home. That cut the price by more than half.

Warner found Northstar Homes, based in Loveland, Colorado. According to Hollis Hunt of Northstar:

...people incorrectly assume going green means a sizable price tag. He says homebuyers can make choices that won't break the bank.

Their site features some helpful resources, including a list of modular home myths.

Read the full article for other tips on how to build prefab and meet your budget. The article also updates readers on the MKD development in Denver that we've reported on previously.

subtitle: Factory-built homes create less waste than traditional homes, helping to shrink carbon footprints
author: Christian Toto
publication: The Denver Post
length: 704 words
publication date: May 25, 2008

Related Posts:
   1. Aspen goes modular  (Dec 04, 2008)
   2. mkLoft development in Denver (Nov 26, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green cost local Colorado

Cutting-edge eco-friendly prefab tours Canada

Link to Cutting-edge eco-friendly prefab tours Canada
canuhome.com

Coming soon to green living shows in Yorkdale, Canada (June 5-15) and Toronto (September 25-26), the Canühome is an example of cutting-edge eco-friendly home design. The Canühome website explains:

The 850 sq.ft. exhibition contains a kitchen, living room, dining room, bathroom and bedroom.

The exhibit includes interpretive panels which highlight the features of the design for the public...

Why is this exhibition so helpful? Ecolectic sums it up:

Made largely of FSC certified plywood and other wood materials, the modular home is assembled with the aid of steel brackets. Being modular you can hook up as many or as few units as you like should your need for space grow or diminish. The engineering behind the design is quite ingenious. Its shape allows for convective and radiant heating, and they proudly announce that "air is a building material"!

And Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper goes into further detail:

...canühome's most intriguing feature is its passive solar "double envelope." Air passing between the two exterior walls on the south side is heated via the dark metal panels of the outermost skin. This heated air travels up and is vented out of the top in summer but, in winter, continues around the other side and into the radiant floor, which keeps the house about 10 degrees [50F]....

Canühome's "breakthrough" was the invention of a new fastener called a "Porcupine." These attach to the wooden structural ribs, extend outward to create the air gap and terminate where the outermost metal panels clip on. Not only is this method much cheaper, it's flexible.

Treehugger likes the idea:

...the designers have used the latest CNC technology and a lot of other ideas that make it one of the more interesting test beds we have seen.

model: Canühome
status: prototype
size: 850 sf
br: 1
style: modern
how: plywood kit

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model green tours Canada

This week: Marmol Radziner set, Modular Homes Inc., and more ABŌD

Link to This week: Marmol Radziner set, Modular Homes Inc., and more ABŌD
www.marmolradzinerprefab.com/blog/2008/03/14/prefab-installation-in-californias-central-coast

The Marmol Radziner Prefab blog wrote about the installation of a new home in California. Check out the post for pictures, including the vibrant blue denim insulation seen above.

greenbuildingsNYC discussed Modular Homes, Inc.:

...an Edison, New Jersey-based custom modular home builder that will break ground in April on what it hopes will be a LEED-certified model home in Robbinsville, New Jersey....

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday covered the ABŌD affordable prefab we saw last week.

Related Posts:
   1. The Skyline Series by Marmol Radziner Prefab (Jul 02, 2009)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green inexpensive modular This Week Marmol Radziner Prefab California

This week: straw bales, green mobile homes, and more

Link to This week: straw bales, green mobile homes, and more
www.strohhaus.net/

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday took the week off.

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday looked at a Swiss prefab that uses straw bales:

We’re quite taken by Strohhaus in Eschenz, Switzerland. Designed by Zurich-based architect Felix Jerusalem, this home masterfully combines prefab with sustainable materials, primarily prefabricated strawboard panels that provide affordable, environmentally sound insulation.

Jetson Green covered GreenMobile, an "ultra-affordable, modular green [manufactured] home":

GreenMobile was awarded $5.8 M from FEMA to further develop the prototype and roughly 80 units are in the pipeline right after that prototype comes through.

GreenMobile is expected to cost about $50k

100khouse likes the 'Option' House, covered on Prefab Friday a couple weeks back.

Related Posts:
   1. This week: year in review, Sea Train and more (Dec 29, 2007)
2 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model green This Week trailers

mkSolaire to be featured in Chicago museum exhibit

Link to mkSolaire to be featured in Chicago museum exhibit

The Michelle Kaufmann blog announces:

...we have been working very hard for the past few months to get to this point and are now finally ready and delighted to announce that MKD is going to be a part of the “Smart Home: Green + Wired, Powered by ComEd and Warmed by Peoples Gas” exhibit at MSI that’s opening this spring! The exhibit is going to include a full-size mkSolaire™ home to be built in on parkland on the southeast side of the Museum and will showcase the very best in sustainable living concepts and solutions.

A bit more from the museum exhibit page:

During its 75th Anniversary year, the Museum of Science and Industry will be building a functioning, three-story modular and sustainable “green” home ... to highlight unique home technologies for the 21st century.

The Greater Fort Wayne [Illinois] Business Weekly quotes Art Breitenstein of the home's builder, All American Homes:

The home’s module construction will be under way for two or three more weeks on one of the All American assembly lines in Decatur....

“This is a special house, a very high-priced house; it has the best of the best. ... there’s a lot of new technology in there that’s one-of-a-kind that if it becomes accepted by consumers, like anything else, the price comes down of course.”

Jetson Green says:

I can't wait to see more!

where: Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL
when: May 8, 2008 - January 4, 2009

Related Posts:
   1. MKD Smart Home to reopen March 19 (Feb 23, 2009)
   2. Watch the assembly of Michelle Kaufmann's mkSolaire (Oct 02, 2008)
   3. Chicago Tribune on Michelle Kaufmann's mkSolaire (Aug 12, 2008)
   4. mkSolaire on display through January 4th at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry (Jun 02, 2008)
   5. This week: Joshua Tree, EvolutiV, mkSolaire debuts and more (May 10, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green tours MKD process museum exhibition

Live Xtremely Green: the XtremeHomes blog

Link to Live Xtremely Green: the XtremeHomes blog
xtremehomes.blogspot.com

I wandered over to the info_smallXtremeHomes site the other day and found that they are now writing a blog:

A brief collection of thoughts on the growth of the green building industry. What's real, what's not and what people are expecting.

Definitely worth keeping an eye on.

company: info_smallXtremeHomes

Related Posts:
   1. XtremeHomes: modular building the green way (Aug 10, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green process manufacturer website XtremeHomes

Take a (long!) tour of the WIRED LivingHome

Link to Take a (long!) tour of the WIRED LivingHome
wired.com

Systm, a web video series from Revision3, files a long, detailed video report from the WIRED LivingHome:

This $4 million home in LA isn't exactly what we think of when wanting to integrate more green, eco-friendly aspects to our lives, but it does offer up some great options. LEED certified and designed by architect Ray Kappe, this home offers a great, simple way of constructing a house without compromising the uniqueness of a custom built home.

company: info_smallLivingHomes
length: 21:26
site: Revision3
release date: December 31, 2007

Check out the multimedia page on the WIRED LivingHome site for additional photos and videos.

Related Posts:
   1. In the news: WIRED LivingHome (Sep 02, 2009)
   2. New LivingHomes video and photos (Aug 03, 2009)
   3. WIRED LivingHome open for tours! (Nov 06, 2007)
   4. WIRED webcam (Sep 10, 2007)
   5. LivingHomes gets WIRED ... for $4 million (Jul 02, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LivingHomes LEED green tours video Ray Kappe

The m-ch (micro compact home)

Link to The m-ch (micro compact home)
all images: microcompacthome.com

The info_smallm-ch (micro compact home) will also be included in the upcoming MoMA prefab exhibition.

The New York Times says:

Mr. Horden’s Micro Compact House — Mr. Bergdoll [of MoMA] described it as “a giant livable Sony radio cube” — is topped with photovoltaic panels and has wind turbines in its walls, allowing the house to generate its own electricity. An aluminum-clad perfect cube, with about 76 square feet of living space, the tiny dwelling is intended for use as athletic or student housing, or as a miniature vacation house. Mr. Bergdoll met with Mr. Horden in one of his cubes, a space so compact that the architect managed to make espresso on the kitchen counter without leaving his seat at the dining table.

The house is commercially available — it recently went on the market in Europe — and can be delivered by helicopter or crane.

microcompact2

From the micro compact home site:

The micro compact home [m-ch] is a lightweight compact dwelling for one or two people. Its compact dimensions of 2.6m [8.5 ft] cube adapt it to a variety of sites and circumstances, and its functioning spaces of sleeping, working / dining, cooking and hygiene make it suitable for everyday use.

Informed by aviation and automotive design and manufactured at the micro compact home production centre in Austria, the m-ch can be delivered throughout Europe with project individual graphics and interior finishes.

The team of researchers and designers based in London and at the Technical University in Munich developed the m-ch as an answer to an increasing demand for short stay living for students, business people, sports and leisure use and for weekenders. The m-ch, now in use and available throughout Europe, combines techniques for high quality compact 'living' spaces deployed in aircraft, yachts, cars, and micro apartments. Its design has been informed by the classic scale and order of a Japanese tea-house, combined with advanced concepts and technologies. Living in an m-ch means focusing on the essential - less is more. The use of progressive materials complements the sleek design. Quality of design, touch and use are the key objectives for the micro compact home team....for 'short stay smart living'.

microcompact1

The specifics:

The m-ch has a timber frame structure with anodised aluminium external cladding, insulated with polyurethane and fitted with aluminium frame double glazed windows and front door with security double lock; graphics can be applied for sponsors, exhibition and business use.

  • two compact double beds...
  • storage space for bedding and cleaning equipment
  • a sliding table ... for dining for up to five people
  • flat screen television in the living/dining space
  • a shower and toilet cubicle
  • a kitchen area, which is fitted with electrical points and features a double hob, sink and extending tap, microwave, fridge and freezer units, three compartment waste unit, storage shelves, cutlery drawers with gentle return sprung slides and double level work surfaces
  • thermostat controlled ducted warm air heating, air conditioning, water heating
  • fire alarm and smoke detectors

m-ch units are available to purchase for delivery to geographical Europe at a guide price of EUR 25,000 to EUR 34,000 (subject to contract).

More images of the interior:
microcompact3 microcompact4 microcompact6 microcompact7

We've mentioned the home before in our This Week series. Back in June, we also linked to a video of the m-ch.

style: modern
size: 74 sf
price: EUR 25,000 - 34,000 (~$37,000-$50,000; $500-$675/sf)
bedrooms: 1
bathrooms: 1
how: complete modules

Related Posts:
   1. MoMA's Home Delivery gets a glowing review from the NY Times (Jul 18, 2008)
   2. KieranTimberlake's Cellophane House (Jul 14, 2008)
   3. Home Delivery blog goes live! (Mar 25, 2008)
   4. System3 from Oskar Leo Kaufmann and Albert Rüf (Jan 18, 2008)
   5. WIRED on small prefab (Jan 14, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small green m-ch

This week: weeHouse, Australia and plenty of gingerbread

Link to This week: weeHouse, Australia and plenty of gingerbread

Banks.com loves info_smallweeHouses and the new weeHouse site:

I like weeHouses for three reasons:

  1. They look cool, and what’s not to love about that boxy Frank Lloyd Wright style?

  2. They are eco-friendly....

  3. These houses are smaller and more streamlined, yet still appear functional....

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday covered an Australian prefab home, called The Mod House from Prebuilt. We'll look at that company in more detail soon.

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday got excited about a gingerbread version of the info_smallmkLotus:

The only thing better than beautifully designed green prefab is edible green prefab! One of our favorite green architects Michelle Kauffman, in honor of the holiday season, has designed a yummy version of her awesome zero energy mkLotus, made entirely from gingerbread cookies...

Treehugger, Curbed San Francisco, and re-nest also enjoyed the holiday version of prefab.

Related Posts:
   1. weeHouse in Continental Airlines magazine (Jun 16, 2009)
   2. weeHouse by Alchemy on display in WI; today and this weekend (May 22, 2009)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: weeHouse green MKD Alchemy Architects This Week mkLotus

This week: Zenkaya, straw bales, and more

Link to This week: Zenkaya, straw bales, and more
zenkaya.com

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday discussed the Zenkaya prefab home from South Africa:

the home can be delivered in as little as 5 weeks.... [It comes] completely assembled, and all the owner would have to do is hook up the electric, the water and the sewer, and their home is ready to go.

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday covered the PowerHouse homes:

Our favorite, the “solar butterfly” roof design, collects rainwater, maximizes the use of daylight, and is fitted with solar photovoltaic panels to generate electricity - all for about $100,000!

Materialicio.us found a prefab kit called the casa ti, not yet in production:

The structure is framed in high-recycled-content steel, in SIP form. You can buy casa ti in kit form or buy the plans to build it from scratch. Prices for the kit start at $20,000.

Architecture.MNP showed off the BaleHouse, which uses straw bales for walls.

Treehugger looks back: Three Years Ago In TreeHugger: Prefab Crazy.

Related Posts:
   1. Enviro Board: fancy straw-bale panels (Jan 02, 2008)
   2. CNET and the PowerPod (Oct 16, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small green This Week South Africa

This week: zeroHouse, concepts and reduced prices

Link to This week: zeroHouse, concepts and reduced prices
coroflot.com

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday discovered the zeroHouse:

Holy Moly Batman…a house that powers itself, composts its own waste, collects its own water, and is completely automatic doing all of these things. When can I get one?

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday wrote about the Linx Shipping Container Shelter, a container concept from Ireland:

Using 20-foot shipping containers, Barnwall’s idea provides functional shelter for workers on a construction site offering all the amenities needed to give workers a comfortable place for pause.

Treehugger covered the Loq•kit prefab concept which we covered last week:

It is an ingenious and very well resolved idea for revolutionizing the way we build houses, breaking it down into components that snap together much like an office system.

Materialicio.us also discussed the home, with commentary by Greg La Vardera:

I think it is tremendously clever, and has the characteristics of a truly disruptive technology. It has the potential to change radically the way we build houses.

Curbed LA released an update on the reduced price of the info_smallResolution: 4 vacant lots in LA:

...now the lots, which come with plans to build, are listed at $295,000 and $275,000
Last month's prices: $349,000 and $337,000.

Related Posts:
   1. This week: containers, concepts, and kitHAUS (Dec 01, 2007)
   2. Zero House on gadget blogs (Nov 19, 2007)
   3. Vacant lots with approved plans from Resolution: 4 (Nov 14, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model green containers Resolution 4: Architecture This Week

Google and renewable energy: the prefab angle

Link to Google and renewable energy: the prefab angle
esolar.com

From earlier this week:

Google...announced a new strategic initiative to develop electricity from renewable energy sources that will be cheaper than electricity produced from coal. The newly created initiative, known as RE<C, will focus initially on advanced solar thermal power, wind power technologies, enhanced geothermal systems and other potential breakthrough technologies.

Many prefab companies incorporate solar power and other environmentally friendly features into their housing solutions. eSolar (a Google partner) incorporate prefab features into their solar solutions:

By leveraging established commercial suppliers to mass manufacture thousands of small heliostats, eSolar realizes economy-of-scale benefits at much smaller power plant sizes than traditional solar generation techniques. Our heliostats are designed to fit efficiently into shipping containers to keep transportation costs low, and they are pre-assembled at the factory to minimize on-site labor....

By employing a repeating frame structure and a revolutionary calibration system, eSolar has eliminated the need for high-precision surveying, delicate installation, and individual alignment of mirrors. Minimal skilled labor is needed to build the solar field, allowing for mirror deployment efficiencies that scale with project size and deadlines.

Note: emphasis added

Very interesting: prefab meet solar; solar meet prefab.

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green containers solar

mkLoft development in Denver

Link to mkLoft development in Denver
mkd-arc.com

Michelle Kaufmann's info_smallmkLoft will be used in a new development in Denver. From the Rocky Mountain News:

Denver developers Susan Powers and Chuck Perry are teaming with Kaufmann to put 40 factory-built town houses on 21 acres near Regis University at West 52nd Avenue and Federal Boulevard. The 1,100- to 1,500-square-foot town houses will be built at the All American Homes factory in Milliken, in Weld County, and trucked 60 miles, in sections, to the Denver site for assembly.

That they're modular won't be apparent, as factory-built houses don't necessarily have the mass- produced, cookie-cutter look they did 30 years ago.

Read more about the plans in the full article.

Author: Mary Winter
Publication: Rocky Mountain News
Length: 625 words
Date: October 27, 2007

Related Posts:
   1. MKD multifamily in Denver (Apr 08, 2009)
   2. Prefab apartments to make downtown Seattle affordable? (Jun 25, 2008)
   3. Colorado modular on a budget (May 30, 2008)
   4. The mkLoft from Michelle Kaufmann Designs (Nov 13, 2007)
   5. This week: Bombala, weeHouse in LA, and more (Nov 10, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model green MKD article development mkLoft

Zero House on gadget blogs

Link to Zero House on gadget blogs
zerohouse.net

The gadget blogs have taken a liking to the Zero House. From Yanko Design:

ZeroHouse is a great concept and for added enjoyment, can be customized with a variety of color and material combinations.

Gizmodo is a fan:

Not only is this Zero House by architect Scott Specht completely green, automatic and self-sufficient, but it looks so badass it could've come out of the movie Clockwork Orange.

CrunchGear also covered the home.

Related Posts:
   1. This week: kitHAUS, mkSolaire, containers and more (Apr 05, 2008)
   2. This week: zeroHouse, concepts and reduced prices (Dec 08, 2007)
   3. This week: French prefab, school, and more (Nov 17, 2007)
   4. This week: ASAP, Texas, and a zero-energy concept (Nov 03, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small green

This week: French prefab, school, and more

Link to This week: French prefab, school, and more
www.avivre.net

Jetson Green reported on La Maison de Demain, a french prefab concept:

The home is built with three prefabricated modules and is meant to show that green design can be affordable and attractive. An important aspect of the house is the open area in the middle, which could be used as a covered patio to extend the footprint of the home into the natural environment.

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday appears to be on an extended hiatus?

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday covered info_smallOMD's Country School:

The Los Angeles middle school expansion project opens next month to some very lucky kids who will enjoy classrooms filled with light, open learning spaces, and the best and healthiest materials. We’re big fans of Jennifer and her Office of Mobile Design here at Inhabitat, and we’re thrilled that her great prefab designs are being successfully applied to educational contexts- what better way to learn and teach than in a wonderful healthy classroom?

Many blogs reported on the end of DoResearch, a blog that collected information on a couple's favorite prefabs. Materialicio.us said

If it’s any consolation, they’ve found some land and they’re planning to build a FlatPak on it in Spring ‘08.

The Prefab Dweller is enthusiastic about the ZeroHouse:

The Zerohouse sure fits both my dreams...

Related Posts:
   1. UK prefab school (Jul 09, 2008)
   2. This week: London, Resolution: 4, OMD and more (May 24, 2008)
   3. This week: Habode, historical prefab and more (Nov 24, 2007)
   4. Zero House on gadget blogs (Nov 19, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: OMD green This Week France

The mkLoft from Michelle Kaufmann Designs

Link to The mkLoft from Michelle Kaufmann Designs
mkd-arc.com

info_smallMichelle Kaufmann Designs is one of the hottest companies in the modernist prefab world today. Right on the heels of the info_smallmkLotus comes the announcement of the info_smallmkLoft:

This spacious 2-story, 2-bedroom + loft features a double-high ceiling in the living room, creating an open, harmonious environment for reflection and creativity.

mkLoft™ is the perfect design for urban dwelling, whether you are looking to build your primary residence or live/work solution, a duplex, or a healthy community, this home can be designed in 2- or 3-story configurations to suit your needs....

mkLoft™ is also ideal in a multifamily development layout.

The Good Human was impressed:

She has done it again - come out with another stunning example of what a modern prefab can be.

Inhabitat noted the low price of the homes:

Depending on volume and finishes, the typical mkLoft ranges from $130 to $140/sf. This does not include the cost of land nor the permit approval process.

model: info_smallmkLoft
style: modern
price: ~$500,000 (~$135/sf)
size: ~4,000sf
bedrooms: 2 - 3
bathrooms: 2 - 3
how: modules

Related Posts:
   1. Michelle Kaufmann Designs closing (May 27, 2009)
   2. The mkHearth (Oct 27, 2008)
   3. mkLoft development in Denver (Nov 26, 2007)
   4. West Coast Green: the mkLotus show house (Sep 25, 2007)
   5. Michelle Kaufmann Designs (Apr 27, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model green MKD development mkLoft

WIRED LivingHome open for tours!

Link to WIRED LivingHome open for tours!
wired.com

We first announced the WIRED LivingHome back in July. The modules were installed in September.

And now: tours! From the WIRED blog:

Want to visit? The  Wired LivingHome is open to the public Thursday through Sunday until Nov. 19.

For ticket purchasing info and additional tour details, visit the WIRED LivingHome site.

when: November 1 - 18, 2007
where: Los Angeles

Related Posts:
   1. In the news: WIRED LivingHome (Sep 02, 2009)
   2. New LivingHomes video and photos (Aug 03, 2009)
   3. WIRED LivingHome still for sale; price reduced (Jun 30, 2008)
   4. Take a (long!) tour of the WIRED LivingHome (Jan 15, 2008)
   5. WIRED webcam (Sep 10, 2007)
   6. LivingHomes gets WIRED ... for $4 million (Jul 02, 2007)
   7. LivingHomes (Mar 28, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LivingHomes LEED green tours for sale

This week: ASAP, Texas, and a zero-energy concept

Link to This week: ASAP, Texas, and a zero-energy concept
Paul Bardagjy

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday took a break this week.

Inhabitat wrote about the ASAP House, which we will cover in more depth soon.

Bannaga covered a boathouse with a prefab steel structure that recently won an architecture award in Texas.

The blog also previewed a prefab concept called the Zero House:

ZeroHouse is a 650-square-foot prefabricated house designed to operate autonomously, with no need for utilities or waste connections. It generates its own electrical power, collects and stores rainwater, and processes all waste. Shipped to a site on two flatbed trailers, it can be field-erected in less than a day.

Related Posts:
   1. Zero House on gadget blogs (Nov 19, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small green This Week

EcoUrban modulars in St. Louis Business Journal

The St. Louis Business Journal discusses EcoUrban:

"EcoUrban Homes is building houses where traditional contractors often choose not to venture.

The newly formed company, headquartered in downtown St. Louis, has embarked on an ambitious plan to eventually put 30 to 40 new "green" modular homes per year into neighborhoods that could use a bit of revitalization...."

Read the full excerpt for more details. The entire article is only accessible with a subscription.

Author: Julia M. Johnson
Publication: St. Louis Business Journal
Length: 206 words (excerpt; subscription required for the entire article)
Date: October 29, 2007

Related Posts:
   1. EcoUrban: update (Jul 03, 2007)
   2. EcoUrban: green prefab in St. Louis (Jun 25, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LEED green article St. Louis

CNET visits the mkLotus

Link to CNET visits the mkLotus
cnet.com

Last week CNET released a video report from the mkLotus (3:13). This follows last month's visit to the XtremeHomes factory.

The video features some interior views of the house and an interview with Rebecca Woelke, who's in charge of PR for info_smallMichelle Kaufmann Designs.

Author: Michael Kanellos
Publication: CNET News
Length: 3:13
Date: October 2, 2007

Related Posts:
   1. West Coast Green: the mkLotus show house (Sep 25, 2007)
   2. Heading to West Coast Green Conference this weekend (Sep 19, 2007)
   3. CNET visits the XtremeHomes factory (Sep 07, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LEED green MKD video West Coast Green XtremeHomes mkLotus

West Coast Green: Altamont Homes and understanding the process

Link to West Coast Green: Altamont Homes and understanding the process
altamonthomes.com

I learn new things about the prefab business every day. Altamont Homes is a builder of modular homes throughout the West. The company had representatives at West Coast Green. Also at their booth was a representative from Details, a manufacturer of modular homes.

In the time I've been reading and writing about prefab housing, I haven't fully understood the relationship between those two entities until the relationship was explained to me by Craig Rosenberg of Details.

Basically it works like this: the homeowner goes to a "builder" (in this case, Altamont) and wants to build a house. Altamont shares a number of design options with the homeowner, ranging from small, inexpensive homes, to larger and more finely detailed homes. The home designs they are sharing are sourced from a number of "manufacturers" around the country (in this case Details is one of many that Altamont buys from).

Altamont is responsible for interacting with you, completing site work, securing permits (sometimes that falls to the homeowner), setting the home and completing site work. Details is responsible for the modules that are shipped to your site. The way that Craig Rosenberg from Details explained it to me:

"Some manufacturers supply products like doors or faucets; it just happens in our case that the product we supply is the entire home."

Details designs the homes that they offer to different builders, whether Altamont or another builder. The arrangement allows Altamont to offer a wide range of product choices to their customers. For instance, the Details models are all LEED-certified and highly energy-efficient; they generally end up costing ~$275/sf installed. Altamont offers other, non-LEED options from other manufacturers for less than half that cost.

The key point is that the builder and manufacturer are two different entities, with two different specialities:
Builders: expertise in site work, permit process, setting and finishing home
Manufacturers: expertise in designing and manufacturing the home modules

Related Posts:
   1. West Coast Green: other prefab (Oct 15, 2007)
   2. West Coast Green round-up (Oct 02, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LEED green process manufacturer modular company West Coast Green

West Coast Green: the mkLotus show house

Link to West Coast Green: the mkLotus show house
© copyright 2007 Peter Bernheim

By far the most popular and exciting prefab presence at West Coast Green was info_smallMichelle Kaufmann and the info_smallmkLotus showhouse.

The show house was set right in front of San Francisco City Hall, out in the open for all to see. And see it people did. Visitors lined up to tour the home and looked to be waiting upwards of half an hour on Saturday's Homeowner Day (due to the home's size, the show staff were limiting the number of people in at any one time).

While the home was small, around 700 sf, it felt plenty roomy. The home featured a window wall system from NanaWall that opens accordion-style to create a near seamless indoor/outdoor room. The bathroom was luxurious for such a small home. And the ample outdoor living space (decks, patios, courtyards) was a welcome addition.

Some of the features and details that I saw as I toured the house:
• angled walls to make spaces feel larger
• translucent doors to divide spaces but not block all light
• high ceilings
• tons of glass
• control system for house lighting and temperature
• plants on the roof (a "living roof") help to limit rain runoff and provide natural insulation
• quality materials
• built in iPod audio system

All of these add-ons and options push the home out of many folks' price range though. For instance, the NanaWall system runs ~$1,500 per single panel (the mkLotus had xx). My understanding is that the home starts around $150,000, but can venture past $225k with all of the add-ons featured on the show home.

A note worth mentioning, and one repeated throughout the conference: these homes may seem expensive, but much of that is due to their "green" features, from rainwater catchment systems, to solar panels galore.

Jill and Emily at Inhabitat loved the house:

"Above and beyond all the green, however, the house is just a testament to thoughtful, smart design. Every material, system and design choice in the house seems to be thought out, and have purpose. The high ceilings, skylights, gently angled walls, floor to ceiling glass and copious daylight all work to make the 700 sf house feel a lot bigger and more spacious than it actually is."
They also uploaded a bunch of photos of the house to Flickr.

CBS 5 San Francisco offered a video report from the home.

With the mkLotus as the star attraction of the show, Michelle Kaufmann had a sort of celebrity aura to her. She spoke a number of times, on topics ranging from the show house to "Women in Green." She shows great enthusiasm for her work (and the work is prolific). The talks focused on the green aspects of the different MK products. Their work is separated into three categories:
• pre-configured options: pre-designed with finish and fixture options available
• custom designs: feature the MKD aesthetic but fully flexible in design configurations
• modern green communities: multi-family housing (which helps reduce costs significantly)

I'll share further info on a number of developments and new products from MKD in the coming weeks.

More West Coast Green coverage in the coming days.

Related Posts:
   1. West Coast Green 2008 coming September 25-27 (Aug 14, 2008)
   2. The mkLoft from Michelle Kaufmann Designs (Nov 13, 2007)
   3. This week: Jeriko House, Drop House, and more (Oct 13, 2007)
   4. CNET visits the mkLotus (Oct 12, 2007)
   5. West Coast Green round-up (Oct 02, 2007)
   6. The mkLotus show house (Jul 19, 2007)
2 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small green MKD process conference West Coast Green mkLotus

A little more Green

Link to A little more Green
abc7news.com

I'm at West Coast Green, and just wanted to link to a couple more pieces of coverage of the event and the info_smallmkLotus.

From ABC 7 News in San Francisco: a live report earlier this week showed the near-complete house.

"This is a green house which aims to teach you how to be environmentally friendly in your home. Who knew that it could be so stylish? This is a modular home.

It has to be the most stylish one on the planet. It's only 725 square feet -- that's part of the message -- to be green, you don't need to build so big. Since it's modular, you can buy other pieces and add on to it."

The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered up a quirky article about the home and the show:
"Builders plopped down the 800-square-foot structure in just a day....the one-bedroom house costs a mere $199 per square foot, and that's with all the fancy fixings like a stereo system and rosewood floors.

The home was dubbed the mkLotus house by its designer, Michelle Kaufman Designs. The exterior is smart and sleek, with double-paned, floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding the living room and sustainably grown red balau wood and slabs of fly-ash concrete siding the back half....

According to XtremeHome CEO Tim Schmidt, without all the extras, an mkLotus could cost as little as $64,000, and he can have one good to go in less than six months."

The San Jose Mercury News wrote:
"If building an eco-friendly house is a stretch, how about a green in-law cottage?

[The] house...'was designed as an oasis,' Kaufmann says. 'It can be perfect for a vacation home, or a home where you feel like you're on vacation.'

The popularity of the two- to four-bedroom Glidehouse brought countless inquiries for in-law units and cottages, said Rebecca Woelke, spokeswoman for Michelle Kaufmann Designs.

'We wanted to give clients a different type of design in a one-bedroom layout,' Woelke said, something that 'opens entire living spaces to the outdoors and brings the outdoors in.' To do that, mkLotus' signature feature is its NanaWalls, floor-to-ceiling glass doors in the living room that fold up like an accordion to welcome nature into the home. 'This house blurs the boundary between the interior and exterior.'"

More reports about the show in the coming days.

Related Posts:
   1. Heading to West Coast Green Conference this weekend (Sep 19, 2007)
   2. The mkLotus show house (Jul 19, 2007)
   3. West Coast Green Conference (Jul 18, 2007)
3 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green MKD conference West Coast Green mkLotus

Heading to West Coast Green Conference this weekend

Link to Heading to West Coast Green Conference this weekend
westcoastgreen.com

The West Coast Green residential building conference and expo starts this Thursday in San Francisco. I will be attending and am looking forward to seeing the info_smallmkLotus in person.

West Coast Green is "America's largest residential green building conference". September 20-21 are limited to building professionals, but the general public is invited for September 22s "Homeowner Day":

"West Coast Green will host community leaders and visionaries, such as San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Hollywood actor Ed Begly Jr., environmental/civil rights leader Van Jones and many others. Homeowners looking to design and build a new, energy-efficient green home, or those looking to upgrade the efficiency of their existing homes, will benefit from walking the tradeshow floor, abounding with hundreds of products and services to build, remodel, power, insulate, clean, furnish and finance their green homes."

where: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA
when: September 20-22, 2007
registration: $25 ($35 at the door) for Homeowner Day, September 22. $325/day for full conference access.
features: mkLotus show home; speakers Allison Arieff (former editor of Dwell magazine), Steve Glenn, Sheri Koones, and Michelle Kaufmann; over 100 green construction product vendors

Related Posts:
   1. West Coast Green in San Francisco: October 1-3, 2009 (Sep 25, 2009)
   2. CNET visits the mkLotus (Oct 12, 2007)
   3. A little more Green (Sep 21, 2007)
   4. The mkLotus show house (Jul 19, 2007)
   5. West Coast Green Conference (Jul 18, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green tours MKD process conference San Francisco mkLotus

This week: IKEA, Quik House, and anticipating West Coast Green

Link to This week: IKEA, Quik House, and anticipating West Coast Green
boklok.com

CubeMe covered the IKEA BoKlok housing system we've discussed.

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday discussed the info_smallQuik House from Adam Kalkin:

"Although there is currently a 6 month waiting list, this looks like a very nice alternative to some of the more expensive prefab homes on the market."

Builder Online anticipates the West Coast Green Building Conference and the arrival of the info_smallmkLotus.

Inhabitat does too.

Jetson Green gave a sneak preview of a new prefab concept, the Nodul(ar) House, which is being announced this weekend at the Dwell on Design conference.

Related Posts:
   1. This week: IKEA, pieceHomes (Oct 28, 2007)
   2. West Coast Green Conference (Jul 18, 2007)
   3. Kalkin Quik House (May 15, 2007)
   4. This week: IKEA goes prefab, mountain retreats, and a prefab high-rise (Apr 21, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green MKD containers conference Quik House This Week Adam Kalkin mkLotus IKEA house IKEA

Dwell on Design preview

Link to Dwell on Design preview
dwell.com

The Dwell on Design conference is this weekend in San Francisco.

We won't be there, but here's who will:
info_smallAlchemy Architects
info_smallEcoSteel, aka EcoContempo
info_smallEmpyrean International
info_smallH-Haus
info_smallHive Modular
info_smallMichelle Kaufmann
info_smallkitHAUS
info_smallLivingHomes
info_smallModern Cabana
info_smallRocio Romero Homes

We heard from Alchemy Architects:

"Alchemy Architects will be at Dwell on Design 2007 with a weeHouse to 'tour'. Amazing, but we had a CA client who's weeHouse is just being finished...so it'll stop in San Fran on its way to San Diego. It's a very exciting opportunity for people who are interested in a weeHouse to see a weeHouse. We'll be in the outdoor, prefab section."

We know these vendors won't be attending:
info_smallCleverHomes
info_smallv2world

Some prefab-specific events that will be worth checking out:
• September 15 and 16, 2:45 - 3:15: "Prefab Discussion Panel" hosted by Michael Sylvester of fabprefab.com
• September 15, 2:00 - 2:30: "The Process Behind Prefab:The Design and Production of Green Modular Homes" with Jared Levy and Jason Davis of info_smallMarmol Radziner Prefab
• September 15, 3:30 - 4:00: "Creating the First LEED Platinum Home" with Steve Glenn of info_smallLivingHomes

what: Dwell on Design conference
where: Concourse Exhibition Center, San Francisco, CA
when: September 14-16, 2007
registration: $20 for Exhibition Only pass, September 15-16. $895 for full conference and exhibition passport.
features: over 80 exhibitors and vendors

Related Posts:
   1. Dwell on Design 2009 at the end of June (Jun 19, 2009)
   2. Dwell on Design 2008 recap (Jun 11, 2008)
   3. Dwell on Design recap (Sep 24, 2007)
   4. Dwell on Design Conference (Aug 15, 2007)
   5. Dwell Magazine, Dwell Homes (Apr 17, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: weeHouse model CleverHomes method kitHAUS LivingHomes OMD v2world v2flat Muji small LEED green tours Empyrean Alchemy Architects H-Haus Modern Cabana Rocio Romero Dwell on Design EcoSteel

WIRED webcam

Link to WIRED webcam
wired.com

The WIRED LivingHome we've covered before was first announced back in June. Two months later, the house modules are being installed and you can watch via webcam.

One gripe: I wish the webcam shots were all from a wider angle to show the big picture.

Treehugger's been watching:

"...sometimes watching paint dry is more exciting but then some big module flies in front of the camera."

Jetson Green also tuned in:

"All the main parts are supposed to be complete by September 7, and we'll be able to get a pretty good picture of what the final home will look like."

Curbed LA mentioned the home last Tuesday.

Related Posts:
   1. In the news: WIRED LivingHome (Sep 02, 2009)
   2. WIRED LivingHome still for sale; price reduced (Jun 30, 2008)
   3. Take a (long!) tour of the WIRED LivingHome (Jan 15, 2008)
   4. WIRED LivingHome open for tours! (Nov 06, 2007)
   5. LivingHomes gets WIRED ... for $4 million (Jul 02, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LivingHomes LEED green process large expensive website

This week: looking for affordable prefab and volunteers

Link to This week: looking for affordable prefab and volunteers
re4a.com

CubeMe showed off a design from info_smallResolution: 4 Architecture:

"It has three sides of glass and wrap-around decks with a loft-like communal space upstairs that contains the kitchen, dining room, and living room.

The home cost $173 a square foot. Total construction cost was $400,000 including site work, decks, septic and well."

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday shared the designs of JASONOAH Design Build a company building custom-designed homes:
"They are currently building a prototype home and hope to have the kits available very soon. I am excited to see the completed house and hope these kits come on the market priced as stated, as I think it will open up a great option for those not able to spend $400,000 on a prefab house."

Treehugger says that the West Coast Green building conference needs some volunteers.

Speaking of the conference, Inhabitat's Prefab Friday previewed their talk with a look at the Mcube system:

"MDesign's patented Mcube modular prefab system is a gorgeous, flexible, solar-powered, and stunningly affordable housing option that exemplifies the benefits of prefabricated building. The system is based on a translucent 10'-cube module which can be stacked in multiple floors and units for residential and commercial purposes. Made from concrete, steel, and luminous fiberglass daylighting wall panels, the system can be fully erected in 90 days at a cost starting at $100 per square foot! (Yes $100 a foot!). Considering how expensive most sleek SoCal prefab systems seem to be - this is a price tag that really got our attention."

Related Posts:
   1. West Coast Green Conference (Jul 18, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green conference Resolution 4: Architecture This Week

CNET visits the XtremeHomes factory

Link to CNET visits the XtremeHomes factory
cnet.com

CNET has released a video (3:14) showing the info_smallmkLotus being built in the info_smallXtremeHomes factory. CEO Tim Schmidt mentions a key advantage of factory-built homes: reduced construction time with employees rather than contractors. info_smallMichelle Kaufmann discusses the green features and demonstrates the NanaWall.

(Scott adds two gripes: CNET's video player is flaky, and the pre-roll ad is annoying.)

Author: Michael Kanellos
Publication: CNET News
Length: 3:14
Date: August 30, 2007

Related Posts:
   1. CNET visits the mkLotus (Oct 12, 2007)
   2. XtremeHomes: modular building the green way (Aug 10, 2007)
   3. The mkLotus show house (Jul 19, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green MKD process video XtremeHomes mkLotus

This week: XtremeHomes visit, JoT, Lot-ek, and more

Link to This week: XtremeHomes visit, JoT, Lot-ek, and more
homebysunset.com

Home by sunset visited the info_smallXtremeHomes factory and reported back:

"We saw the fully installed folding glass panels, which are called Nanawalls...three sides of the living-dining room. They silently glide away to unite inside and outside: this is how to live large in a small space."

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday covered the JoT House:

"I love this house. [Its] sleek modern lines, affordability and 'green-ness' make it a good option for those looking for a modern prefab house."

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday featured a video of design firm info_smallLOT-EK speaking about their shipping container architecture.

The LA Investor's Real Estate Blog discussed two prefab projects, the WIRED LivingHome and info_smallMarmol Radziner Prefab.

Architecture.mnp loves A Prefab Project too.

Related Posts:
   1. A Prefab Project budget (Aug 20, 2007)
   2. XtremeHomes: modular building the green way (Aug 10, 2007)
   3. The mkLotus show house (Jul 19, 2007)
   4. LivingHomes gets WIRED ... for $4 million (Jul 02, 2007)
   5. This week: Japanese prefab, SIPs, and the greenness of big homes (Apr 14, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green MKD containers Marmol Radziner This Week LOT-EK

XtremeHomes: modular building the green way

Link to XtremeHomes: modular building the green way
xhllc.com

We recently reported on the info_smallmkLotus show house from info_smallMichelle Kaufmann Designs. Modular builder info_smallXtremeHomes will be fabricating the mkLotus at their factory in Oroville, CA.

"XtremeHomes provides a diverse array of architectural styles from ultra-modern to highly detailed alpine homes. Our product offerings address a variety of consumers with our entry level Neighborhood Series™, to an XtremeCustom™ home or a house from one of our Signature Series™ architects. Through its ongoing research and development, XtremeHomes focuses on ways to produce homes with less environmental impact, that are more energy efficient, are healthier and of higher quality. XtremeHomes, an Energy Star® partner, endeavors to build all of its houses to Energy Star®, LEED® and Build It Green® standards."

XtremeHomes will be a part of the West Coast Green building conference in September.

As an aside, are we the first to link to their (new?) Web site? link:xhllc.com. This post should help get them into the Google results:
xhllc.com
xtremehomes

Related Posts:
   1. Live Xtremely Green: the XtremeHomes blog (Jan 17, 2008)
   2. West Coast Green: pieceHomes (Oct 01, 2007)
   3. CNET visits the XtremeHomes factory (Sep 07, 2007)
   4. This week: XtremeHomes visit, JoT, Lot-ek, and more (Sep 01, 2007)
   5. The mkLotus show house (Jul 19, 2007)
   6. West Coast Green Conference (Jul 18, 2007)
1 comment, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green MKD manufacturer XtremeHomes mkLotus

This week: Zigloo, A Prefab Project, mkLotus, and more

Link to This week: Zigloo, A Prefab Project, mkLotus, and more
zigloo.ca

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday covers the Zigloo Domestique, a container-based project in British Columbia:

"The DIY Zigloo Domestique integrates shipping containers, personal and sustainable touches, and lots of hard work. Keith Dewey...designed, built, and documented the construction of his Zigloo Domestique home that epitomizes accessible, green, reclaimed, yet comfortable contemporary prefab architecture....

The home is located in Fernwood, one of Victoria's oldest and funkiest areas, and proves that shipping containers are more than just modules for cargo transport or emergency housing. The designer has done a wonderful job of documenting the entire design process, from initial plans to delivery of the containers and final construction and furnishing. The project spans almost two years, and the final residence consists of 8 containers, 1800 square feet, and 3 stories of homey prefab space. Keith's family home design is a great example of shipping containers and prefab techniques as a viable and accessible building approach for just about anyone."

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday discovered A Prefab Project and likes it as much as we do:
"The blog was started back in December of 2006 with discussions about design and construction, and if you go back and read through the entire thing it is quite a journey....

I for one cannot wait to see what it looks like all complete and ready to go!"

Greenerati anticipates the arrival of the info_smallmkLotus at the West Coast Green building conference:
"It won't solve the housing problem here in the City but when West Coast Green occurs next month attendees will get a chance to tour a 'zero energy' Green home right smack in the Civic Center across from City Hall. Yes, it's a prefabricated house but not that nasty 'Prefab' often associated with temporary replacement for housing during and after WWII."

Green Options posted on the eco-friendliness of modular and prefab construction:

"Prefabrication and Modularity are new eco buzzwords on the menu this year. From homes to furniture, designers are beginning to employ new methods of construction and transportation to cut waste and energy consumption, ensure safety, and achieve greater overall methods of sustainability."

Related Posts:
   1. Shipping container homes in Edmonton (Nov 08, 2007)
   2. The mkLotus show house (Jul 19, 2007)
   3. A Prefab Project delivery and set! (Jul 05, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model green MKD website mkLotus

MiSo House: modular efficiency

Link to MiSo House: modular efficiency

Like the Prefabrication Laboratory and Studio 804, the MiSo* House is a university-based prefab project. Michigan Solar House (MiSo*) "is an interdisciplinary endeavor at the University of Michigan incorporating students, faculty and staff from" a number of the different departments.

"The architecture of MiSo* reinterprets the single family dwelling to reflect a changing balance of ecological and technological choices that strive to integrate sustainable design within a contemporary lifestyle. The entry to the 2005 Solar Energy Decathlon functions as a working prototype of a portable, modular, and sustainable, solar powered dwelling and its design and construction are considered with future mass production in mind....

The MiSo product line can cater towards any size family. Therefore, reproducible parts are essential to the success of MiSo. The house on the mall will be built of five modules, three interior and two end, all pre-assembled and simply connected on site.

The modular design of the house components within the MiSo* system provide a vast set of combinations that can effectively assemble a house of any size from 400 sq ft upwards."

The University of Michigan page for the house features additional photos of the construction.

(Hat tip: Green Options)

Related Posts:
   1. Prefabrication Laboratory  (Jul 23, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green research school

This week: Micro Compact village, WIRED, iT House, and mkLotus

Link to This week: Micro Compact village, WIRED, iT House, and mkLotus

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday showed off a cool village of info_smallmicro compact homes:

"We often get comments about how difficult it would be to live in some of the Prefab Friday homes that we have featured, and none have received more criticism than the Micro Compact Home (m-ch)...But the proof is in the pudding, and in 2006, the Technical University of Munich in Germany installed a small village of seven of these homes for six students and a professor to live in for a full year."

The WIRED LivingHome buzz has made its way to Australian blog GreenFoot:

"It's the sort of house that both myself and my husband would love - me the green aspects and him the techy-gadgets. Although we wouldn't need as much room or as many bathrooms.

The Wired Home is described as a modernist home in an exclusive enclave of Los Angeles that allows luxury and the environment to live together in harmony.

Sounds pretty cool huh?"

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday covered the iT House from info_smallTaalman Koch:
"...it sure is a gorgeous example of what can be done with metal and glass."

Home by Sunset is a fan of Michelle Kaufmann's info_smallmkLotus:

"Now she's designed a prefab that's as green as possible. I think it's terrific. Note the sod roof, the way accordion doors open entire walls to expand the living space, the sunshades, and the photovoltaic panels."
The post also confirms that the house will be showcased outside San Francisco City Hall during the West Coast Green building conference.

Related Posts:
   1. The mkLotus show house (Jul 19, 2007)
   2. West Coast Green Conference (Jul 18, 2007)
   3. LivingHomes gets WIRED ... for $4 million (Jul 02, 2007)
   4. Michelle Kaufmann Designs (Apr 27, 2007)
   5. The iT House does some soul-searching (Apr 06, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LivingHomes small green MKD iT house This Week mkLotus m-ch Taalman Koch

This week: mkLotus and Hive video

Link to This week: mkLotus and Hive video
mkd-arc.com

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday added thoughts on the info_smallmkLotus show house from info_smallMichelle Kaufmann Designs:

"Michelle Kauffman is known for her modern, livable, green, air and light-filled prefab designs, and the mkLotus is no exception. The modular construction allows for customization and flexibility, while sliding doors allow residents to open up their house to the elements....We can't wait to see the real thing this fall at West Coast Green!"
(We covered this Building Conference a few days ago.)

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday enjoys the video of a Hive Modular home that we posted on a while back.

Related Posts:
   1. The mkLotus show house (Jul 19, 2007)
   2. West Coast Green Conference (Jul 18, 2007)
   3. Hive Modular on YouTube (Jun 07, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green MKD video conference Hive Modular mkLotus

The mkLotus show house

Link to The mkLotus show house
westcoastgreen.com

mkLotus is a new prefab concept from info_smallMichelle Kaufmann Designs that will debut at the West Coast Green home show. The mkLotus™ modular home is built by XtremeHomes™. "The house features: a living roof, LED lighting, innovative green building materials, indoor & outdoor living." Further details can be found on the mkLotus showhouse page.

Jetson Green is excited about seeing the mkLotus:

"I'm wanting to visit the conference just to see this home and participate in what's going to be the future of residential real estate."

model: info_smallmkLotus
size: 672sf - 1,400sf
br: 1 - 2
manufacturer: XtremeHomes

Related Posts:
   1. West Coast Green: the mkLotus show house (Sep 25, 2007)
   2. A little more Green (Sep 21, 2007)
   3. Heading to West Coast Green Conference this weekend (Sep 19, 2007)
   4. CNET visits the XtremeHomes factory (Sep 07, 2007)
   5. This week: XtremeHomes visit, JoT, Lot-ek, and more (Sep 01, 2007)
   6. XtremeHomes: modular building the green way (Aug 10, 2007)
   7. This week: Zigloo, A Prefab Project, mkLotus, and more (Aug 04, 2007)
   8. This week: Micro Compact village, WIRED, iT House, and mkLotus (Jul 28, 2007)
   9. This week: mkLotus and Hive video (Jul 21, 2007)
   10. West Coast Green Conference (Jul 18, 2007)
   11. Michelle Kaufmann Designs (Apr 27, 2007)
2 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model green MKD conference West Coast Green mkLotus

West Coast Green Conference

Link to West Coast Green Conference
westcoastgreen.com

West Coast Green: Residential Building Conference + Expo "is a feast of innovations, ideas and opportunities designed to expand your business, widen your vision, and stimulate your thinking with the latest, best practices and key players in green building."

On the prefab front:
• Sheri Koones, author of Prefabulous, Sept. 22 at 2pm in room 304.
• Allison Arieff, former editor of Dwell Magazine, Sept. 20 at 11am in room 415.
• Steve Glenn, CEO of info_smallLivingHomes, Sept. 20 at 11am in room 407 about "Building the First LEED Platinum Home"
• Michelle Kaufmann, Principal, info_smallMichelle Kaufmann Designs, Sept. 20 at 2pm in room 415 about "Show house Case Study"
• Michelle Kaufmann, Sept. 22 at 3pm in Larkin Hall discussing "Making it Easy for People to Go Green"

where: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA
when: September 20-22, 2007
registration: $25 ($35 at the door) for Homeowner Day, September 22. $245/day before July 31, $325/day after July 31 for full conference access.
features: mkLotus show home; speakers Allison Arieff (former editor of Dwell magazine), Steve Glenn, Sheri Koones, and Michelle Kaufmann; over 100 green construction product vendors

Related Posts:
   1. West Coast Green in San Francisco: October 1-3, 2009 (Sep 25, 2009)
   2. A little more Green (Sep 21, 2007)
   3. Heading to West Coast Green Conference this weekend (Sep 19, 2007)
   4. This week: IKEA, Quik House, and anticipating West Coast Green (Sep 16, 2007)
   5. This week: looking for affordable prefab and volunteers (Sep 08, 2007)
   6. XtremeHomes: modular building the green way (Aug 10, 2007)
   7. This week: Micro Compact village, WIRED, iT House, and mkLotus (Jul 28, 2007)
   8. This week: mkLotus and Hive video (Jul 21, 2007)
   9. The mkLotus show house (Jul 19, 2007)
   10. Michelle Kaufmann Designs (Apr 27, 2007)
   11. Dwell Magazine, Dwell Homes (Apr 17, 2007)
   12. LivingHomes (Mar 28, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LivingHomes green MKD conference

Michelle Kaufmann in Sierra Magazine

Link to Michelle Kaufmann in Sierra Magazine
www.sierraclub.org/

The Sierra Club's Sierra Magazine covers a familiar architect:

"Michelle Kaufmann believes that buying an environmentally friendly home should be as simple as ordering a pair of sneakers. Sitting at her laptop in her Oakland, California, office, the architect goes to the Nike Web site, chooses a shoe, and clicks a few buttons. Moments later her customized sneakers are ready for review: white with orange laces and an orange swoosh, the initials "MK" stitched on the tongue..."

Read the full article to see how info_smallMichelle Kaufmann Designs is working to achieve this goal. Don't miss this bit of good news:

"While her first customers tended to fit the stereotype of the Prius-driving, NPR-listening eco-consumer, Kaufmann is increasingly fielding inquiries from people who just want an attractive, affordable house."

Title: Innovators: The Henry Ford of Green Homes
Author: Dashka Slater
Publication: Sierra Magazine
Length: 850 words
Issue: July/August 2007

Related Posts:
   1. Michelle Kaufmann Designs closing (May 27, 2009)
   2. Michelle Kaufmann Designs (Apr 27, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green MKD article

The miniHome: ready to roll

Link to The miniHome: ready to roll
sustain.ca

info_smallSustain Design Studio has designed a pretty cool product: the info_smallminiHome. Part trailer, part house, the miniHome is ultra-portable, but also ultra-stylish and as prefab as you can get:

"Recipe for a good idea:

  1. Take the familiar - The lowly Travel Trailer
  2. Build it to last, and be easy to maintain
  3. Make 350 sf feel like 600 sf
  4. Use only Green materials
  5. Add Off-Grid, Solar and Wind systems
  6. Let it run on biodiesel
  7. Keyword: Multi-functional
  8. Keep it extremely light on the land
  9. Make it beautiful

Combine all of the above into a package easily deliverable by truck anywhere in North America, that can set up on arrival in less than an hour."

Also worth checking out: the miniHome blog, miniHomage.

model: info_smallminiHomeSOLO
style: modern/trailer
size: 350 sf
bedrooms: sleeps 5
price: starts at $107,460 ($307/sf ++)
how: SIPs, steel frame undercarriage
finish level: complete, inside and out, including mechanical systems
features/finishes: adjustable roof canopy, commercial grade rubber flooring, stainless steel kitchen, fabric blinds, sleeping loft
available: Canada, U.S.
options/extras: wind turbine, solar panels, composting toilet, wood flooring, carpet tile, custom sofa, dressers, television
warranty: 1 year
more info: brochure (pdf)

Related Posts:
   1. For Sale: Sustain miniHome prototype (Aug 04, 2009)
   2. miniHome introduces the miniHome DUO SE (Jan 04, 2008)
   3. Not so trailer-like trailer (Aug 08, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small green miniHome portable for sale

LivingHomes gets WIRED ... for $4 million

Link to LivingHomes gets WIRED ... for $4 million
wired.com

WIRED and info_smallLivingHomes have collaborated on the green prefab dream home that "will serve as an example of how people can effectively balance green living with high technology and high design."

"Consistent with its focus on sustainable design, LivingHomes and WIRED are deconstructing rather than demolishing the property's existing house, reducing the amount of building materials sent to landfill. Working with The Reuse People, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to keeping usable building materials out of landfills, interior materials will be sent to the Habitat for Humanity Store for re-use, while the framing is being transported to Mexico where it will be used for low-income construction....Deconstruction is currently underway. Installation is slated for August 2007 and only takes one day."

Jetson Green is enthusiastic:

"At a price of $300 /sf, the WIRED LivingHome is going to be an incredible residence with the best in green + modern + technology. I can't wait to visit."

Treehugger calls it "a catalog of the best green eye candy that money can buy."

Future House Now adds:

"I tend to advocate smaller homes and affordability for regular families, but I'm not about to fire any criticism at the project, because it is meant to be a showcase house, and all showcase houses are top end....I think we'll see a lot of neat stuff come out of this project."

name:  WIRED LivingHome by Ray Kappe
style: modern
size: 4,057 sf
br: 5
bath: 4.5
price: $4 million ($300/sf)
method: full modules
assembly on-site: 1 day
features: LEED certified, "tricked out" game room, 4 kW solar system
for sale: late 2007/early 2008
more info: press release (PDF)

Related Posts:
   1. In the news: WIRED LivingHome (Sep 02, 2009)
   2. New LivingHomes video and photos (Aug 03, 2009)
   3. Ray Kappe multifamily by LivingHomes (Jul 09, 2009)
   4. WIRED LivingHome still for sale; price reduced (Jun 30, 2008)
   5. Take a (long!) tour of the WIRED LivingHome (Jan 15, 2008)
   6. WIRED LivingHome open for tours! (Nov 06, 2007)
   7. WIRED webcam (Sep 10, 2007)
   8. This week: XtremeHomes visit, JoT, Lot-ek, and more (Sep 01, 2007)
   9. This week: Micro Compact village, WIRED, iT House, and mkLotus (Jul 28, 2007)
   10. This week: Hive Modular, OMD, WIRED, and more miniHome (Jul 07, 2007)
   11. LivingHomes (Mar 28, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model LivingHomes LEED green demolition expensive for sale

The Loblolly House: flat-pak with utilities

Link to The Loblolly House: flat-pak with utilities
© peter aaron

Steve Kieran's info_smallLoblolly House takes flat-pak prefab to a whole new level. Kieran's firm info_smallKieranTimberlake created a series of panels and structure that integrate all of the home's mechanical systems:

"The house is composed entirely of off-site fabricated elements and ready-made components, assembled from the platform up in less than six weeks....The aluminum scaffold system, coupled with an array of connectors, provide both the structural frame and the means to connect cartridges, blocks and equipment to that frame with only the aid of a wrench.

The assembly process begins with off-site fabricated floor and ceiling panels, termed 'smart cartridges.' They distribute radiant heating, hot and cold water, waste water, ventilation, and electricity through the house. Fully integrated bathroom and mechanical room modules are lifted into position. Exterior wall panels containing structure, insulation, windows, interior finishes and the exterior wood rain screen complete the cladding."

Integration of utilities into the home's "smart cartridges" sets the Loblolly apart. The full-module builders, like info_smallHive Modular, info_smallMarmol Radziner, and info_smallAlchemy Architects, integrate utilities into multi-room modules that are shipped to the site near-complete. But the companies delivering flat-packed products, like the info_smallLV Series homes from info_smallRocio Romero, require on-site work to incorporate utilities and finishes. The SIPs or stud-framed panels they ship generally incorporate little more than structure and insulation.

For the Loblolly House, this complete prefabrication was necessary to avoid large amounts of work on the sensitive site. The process even works in reverse:

"Just as the components may be assembled at the site swiftly with a wrench, so may they be disassembled swiftly, and most importantly, whole....It is a vision in which our architecture, even as it is disassembled at some unknown moment, can be relocated and reassembled in new ways from reclaimed parts."

Complementing the designs of Ray Kappe and David Hertz, info_smallLivingHomes plans to sell homes based on the system used in the Loblolly House. Also worth noting: Bosch produces the structural frame used for the Loblolly House and the TK iT House.

name: Loblolly House
style: modern
size: 2,200 sf
price: not yet for sale
method: flat-pak, with utilities incorporated into panels

(Hat tip: Philly.com)

Earlier coverage: Wired article on Plug and Play Construction (January); Architectural Record (April).

Related Posts:
   1. Loblolly designers win Firm of the Year (Dec 18, 2007)
   2. Loblolly in the Washington Post and Philadelphia Inquirer (Jul 17, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model method green SIPs KieranTimberlake Loblolly House

EcoUrban: green prefab in St. Louis

Link to EcoUrban: green prefab in St. Louis
ecourban.blogspot.com

EcoUrban is a new prefab home builder based in St. Louis. Owner Jay Swoboda keeps track of the company's home projects in a blog.

For EcoUrban's first project, 3140 Pennsylvania Avenue in St. Louis, EcoUrban partnered with modular builder Contempri Homes:

"After what felt like decades of anticipation and wait, it took just six days after the first pieces of wood were nailed together in the factory for the units to be delivered. Our units arrived at 10 AM this morning and the 60 Ton crane that lifted them into place was packed up and gone by 2 PM. We had a nice crowd gather to watch the four "boxes" come together and by the end of the day we were weather tight and secure."

Other posts cover the foundation work and visiting the modular factory.

Currently, the company offers a single 1,600sf floorplan, but "if you are passionate about an EcoUrban Home and not crazy about our floor plan then we will passionately find a floor plan to match you and your lifestyle."

With a focus on green, it's no surprise that EcoUrban "is aiming for LEED Silver certification, at the very least, for all future homes."

name: EcoUrban
style: modern/traditional
size: 1,600-1,850 sf
br: 2-3
bath: 2.5
price: $200,000 - $279,900
method: modules
features: 8'/9' ceilings, Low-E windows, LEED certified

(Hat tip: Jetson Green.)

Related Posts:
   1. EcoUrban modulars in St. Louis Business Journal (Oct 26, 2007)
   2. EcoUrban: update (Jul 03, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LEED green process for sale website

This week: Austrian prefab, zero-emissions, and more tiny prefab

Link to This week: Austrian prefab, zero-emissions, and more tiny prefab
www.espace-mobile.at

Jetson Green showed off photos of the info_smallEspace mobile, a prefab from Austria.

Inhabitat reported on the Lighthouse, the UK's first zero-emission home, which is built from SIPs:

"The Lighthouse is a two bedroom, two and a half storey house, with a floor area of about 100m2 [~ 1,076sf]. It does some things just a bit differently from the standard housing model such as locating all the sleeping areas at ground level. This allows the living areas to be located at the top, where they can make use of most of the natural light coming in through the windows and skylights. The curved roof sweeps down providing the living areas with a double height ceiling, making the occupant feel as though they are in a generous open-plan house, and concealing the rather tight and compact geometry of the house."

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday reported on the "Top 5 Tiniest Prefabs," a subject we've been talking a lot about recently.

Haute*Nature reported on the info_smallH-Haus models and their green options.

The Good Human has a new series called "Prefab Wednesday" and covered the Ray Kappe LivingHome this week:

"Ever since we saw that this house was being built just a short ways from here, we have driven by it a bunch of times to marvel at it. This house is beautiful if nothing else..."

(Yes, we cheated. We posted this on Monday but set the date to Saturday consistent with our "this week" series.)

Related Posts:
   1. This week: LV Series, refrigerator panels, and Michelle Kaufmann (Jun 30, 2007)
   2. Modern sheds, cabanas, and studios (Apr 16, 2007)
   3. LivingHomes (Mar 28, 2007)
   4. The H-Haus Cubes (Mar 28, 2007)
1 comment, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LivingHomes small green H-Haus This Week Espace mobile Austria

A New Twist on Adobe

Link to A New Twist on Adobe
calearth.org

We've reported on disaster relief housing before. Prefab methods are ideally suited for quick, cheap housing in far flung, resource-starved areas. An organization named CalEarth (California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture) has developed a method of home building that requires little more than the earth present at a homesite. 

CalEarth's designs are based on a proprietary product called Superadobe Earthbags. The bags come in widths ranging from 12" to 26" and can be ordered up to a mile long. Combined with barbed-wire and earth from the site, the bags create super-strong structures:

"To build simple emergency and safe structures in our backyards, to give us maximum safety with minimum environmental impact, we must choose natural materials and, like nature itself, build with minimum materials to create maximum space, like a beehive or a sea shell. The strongest structures in nature which work in tune with gravity, friction, minimum exposure and maximum compression, are arches, domes and vault forms. And they can be easily learned and utilize the most available material on earth: Earth."

CalEarth has experimented with a number of designs and implementations using Superadobe, ranging from the Eco-Dome house, aka the "Moon Cocoon", to emergency shelters. Features of the Eco-Dome include:
• Built from local earth-filled Superadobe coils (soil-cement or lime-stabilized earth).
• Tree free.
• Can be repeated and joined together to form larger homes and courtyard houses.
• Can be built by a team of 3-5 persons.
• Designed with the sun, shade and wind in mind for passive cooling and heating.
• Solar energy and radiant heating may be incorporated.

(Hat tip: Inhabitat shared a bunch of photos and thoughts on the design last week.)

Related Posts:
   1. Global Village Shelters (May 09, 2007)
1 comment, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small green system process relief housing

Reducing waste

Link to Reducing waste
shelterarchitecture.blogspot.com

We previously covered some controversy over whether prefab homes have less material waste than conventional construction. For the 5IVE home, the answer is a resounding yes:

"What you see is the sum total of all waste produced so far. In case you didn't know, this is about a 75% reduction in waste from the typical home."

Impressive!

Related Posts:
   1. Thermomass walls and 5IVE (Jun 15, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LEED green process waste

This week: British SIPs and Maison in the rain

Link to This week: British SIPs and Maison in the rain
www.bre.co.uk

The BRE Group is a British "research, consultancy, training, testing and certification organisation delivering sustainability and innovation across the built environment and beyond." They reported this week on the Osbourne demonstration house, built from SIPs:

"The Osborne demonstration house pushes the boundaries of sustainable affordable housing and supply chain integration. It was constructed in one and a half days using the Jabhouse Structural Insulated Panel System (SIPs)...

The house needs two thirds less energy for heating and cooling than a house constructed to 2006 Building Regulations."

The house uses the latest in modern methods of construction with:
• a zinc and slate clad cassette roof that requires no trusses or rafters
• off-site manufactured bathroom pod and door sets
• a plug-together wiring system
• timber I-beam floor joists.

Architecture.mnp posted some unique views of the Maison Tropicale in the rain, plus a nice interior shot.

Related Posts:
   1. So, what are SIPs anyway? (Mar 27, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: method green SIPs

Thermomass walls and 5IVE

Link to Thermomass walls and 5IVE
thermomass.com

Similar to SIPs, the Thermomass Building Insulation System consists of two layers of modified concrete with styrofoam between. The system is flexible enough to be "used in site-cast tilt-up, plant precast, modular precast, tunnel form and poured-in-place concrete panels and walls." The site-cast tilt-up method moves the process out of the factory, allowing rapid construction on site.

Architects John Dwyer & Jeff Gallo selected the energy-efficient Thermomass walls to help their 5IVE house achieve LEED Platinum certification:

"Using a technology developed by DOW, the walls will act as a thermal mass giving them a rating of R-30. By employing prefabrication, we were also able to control the quality of the finish on the concrete."

The walls for the 5IVE home are being produced by a company called Forecast Concrete. The benefits of factory precast concrete walls include:
• added precision
• controlled environment
• no form lines
• high strength concrete The company says that the process is adaptable for any style and size of home.

(Hat tips: Future House made a quick post on June 2, Lloyd Alter of TreeHugger added some detail on June 6, Preston Koerner waxed enthusiastic at Jetson Green on June 7.)

Related Posts:
   1. Reducing waste (Jun 20, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: method LEED green process concrete

And more yurts....

Link to And more yurts....
wikipedia.org

I've been reading more about Yurts, and I'm beginning to be won over.

The Yurt Foundation lays out the key advantages:

"The roof structure, with its compression ring and tension band, is an amazing architectural design requiring no internal support system, thereby leaving the yurt open and spacious inside....

Yurts are special because they are portable. Central Asian nomads put their gers up in an hour or less. Modern canvas yurts can be set up in a day. To have a shelter that can be put up quickly and then taken down and moved as one's situation changes is a distinct advantage in our transient culture."

Want to look inside? Pacific Yurts, Inc. features a virtual tour. (Quicktime required: drag your mouse left or right to swivel the camera around in a circle. If you zoom in, you can also move up and down a bit.)

Wikipedia includes some great photos of traditional Mongolian yurts. This French company has even more photos showing the traditional process for making yurts by hand.

Related Posts:
   1. Yurts! (May 28, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model method small green historical yurts website

This week: LOT-EK returns, a prefab for Second Lifers, and more

Link to This week: LOT-EK returns, a prefab for Second Lifers, and more
www.wired.com

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday has another prefab product from info_smallLOT-EK:

"In terms of architectural features, Lot-ek has created a system that defies the rigidity of an industrial shipping container, providing surprising flexibility in both size and functions. The CHK system comes in two different series- Compact and Loft, and boasts 8 x 8 floor-to-ceiling windows, built-in closets, and wood floors. The best part is its expansion possibilities- regardless of the configuration, it's easy to add on another container to accommodate a home office (or more family members) down the line."

For those who can't afford a prefab house in real life, apparently prefab homes are now available on Second Life (a 3-D virtual world).

A blog called A PreFab Project is documenting the construction of a prefab home by info_smallResolution: 4 Architecture. The most recent post discussed the "First Glitch" of the project:

"John from Res4 called yesterday to say that the factory got the wrong size floor trusses....The factory had apparently framed all the walls and was ready to begin the floor when [they] realized the webbed trusses were too short; so now they're stuck. If they wait for new trusses to arrive, this spot in the assembly line is stuck - no work for the factory. So Jason called me to basically say please allow us to use 2x12s as trusses so we can keep working as scheduled..."

One of the many LiveModern blogs featured some good photos of a SIP-based project throughout the framing process.

Wired shows off a really cool ultra-compact dwelling, available in Europe.

On This is the Last..., blogger Jilly writes about prefab models, including info_smallMichelle Kaufmann's info_smallBreezehouse:

"I've been doing some house hunting and I came across this modern prefabricated home in Sunset Magazine. I think its really cool how they are making this house using recycled materials, you can add solar panels really easily, the living room has a wall that folds so that your room extends to the patio. Its made to have good ventilation and where they could they used recycled materials.

Then my husband showed me this prefab (in Wired magazine) called the 'Loblolly House' and I thought it was just gorgeous."

The Nashua Telegraph reran an article from the Sacramento Bee about the changing perception of 'prefab':
"Factory-built housing is touting environmental benefits and a fresh look to win a new generation of buyers as the industry continues to fight an image of cheap design and endure the same housing slowdown pummeling conventional home builders."

Jetson Green ran a post about info_smallDavid Hertz's LivingHome making it onto the Met Home Design 100 list:

"To me, this is a no-brainer. If I were out of college and established in business, I'd plop down a million in a heartbeat just to get the DH1 built and use it as a vacation home (at a minimum). I'd buy it for the joy of having one of the greenest prefabs in the country and I'd let all my friends stay in it."
And Inhabitat pointed out that the Ray Kappe LivingHome appeared on the AIA/COTE list of the top ten green buildings.

Related Posts:
   1. This week: Seattle, modular home history, tiny footprints and more (May 12, 2007)
   2. Michelle Kaufmann Designs (Apr 27, 2007)
   3. The Dwell Home by Resolution 4: Architecture (Apr 18, 2007)
   4. This week: Japanese prefab, SIPs, and the greenness of big homes (Apr 14, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LivingHomes small green MKD This Week Ray Kappe David Hertz David Hertz LivingHomes RK1 RK2 RK3 RK4 RK5 LOT-EK

Big Ideas on the Sundance Channel

Link to Big Ideas on the Sundance Channel
www.sundancechannel.com

I've been seeing posts around the blogosphere (e.g. on Jetson Green) about the Sundance Channel's new TV series Big Ideas for a Small Planet. The series focuses on "the forward-thinking designers, products, and processes that are on the leading edge of a new green world." The second episode, Build, was about different green building techniques and one section, 'prefab', featured info_smallMichelle Kaufmann.

The episodes are available for download from iTunes for $1.99 each. The Build episode is definitely worth a watch, at least for a view inside the Michelle Kaufmann factory.

Related Posts:
   1. Michelle Kaufmann Designs (Apr 27, 2007)
   2. Green homes and LEED certification (Apr 23, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green MKD television process

The Dwell Home II and the Green Sandwich

Link to The Dwell Home II and the Green Sandwich
www.dwell.com

After the original competition for the info_smallDwell Home was received with so much enthusiasm, Dwell hosted another competition for the Dwell Home II:

"Sustainable building technologies are now part of the design guidelines for everyone from the federal government to private industry. To help push home design in the same direction, Dwell invited five of Los Angeles's top firms to create a sustainable single-family home in Los Angeles."

While the competition didn't require the home to be a prefab design, investigations into green building techniques led the winning architects, Frank Escher and Ravi GuneWardena, to choose a panelized concrete product, similar to a SIP:

"North Hollywood-based Green Sandwich Technologies. Green Sandwich manufactures what they describe as 'completely engineered structural concrete insulating panels (SCIPs).' The company goes on to state that their 'Green Sandwich Building System is the "greenest" structural building product available in the United States,' with every aspect of the system, from panel manufacturing to panel erection, engineered so the products generate the least amount of waste, fuel consumption, and environmental disruption."
The panelized system is much less pre-fab than some of the modular methods out there, but some characteristics are worth noting:
• integrated utility chases
• can be built in approximately half the time of conventional stick-built construction
• an unlimited number of finishes and design configurations
• transfer about 66% less noise than wood-frame or steel-framed walls See the company's website for more detailed information on the system.

The competition took place in 2004; since then, the homeowners and Escher GuneWardena have been finalizing the design and construction methods as well as navigating the complicated permitting process:

"Deciding to build a home is usually just the beginning of a bureaucratic maze of city offices, inspectors, and paperwork. Due to the Dwell Home II's unique location, the land falls under the jurisdiction of the California Coastal Commission, an agency established to 'protect public beach access, wetlands, wildlife on land and in the seas, water quality, scenic vistas, and coastal tourism.'"

Further articles about the house and its progress can be found on Dwell's site.

Related Posts:
   1. Green homes and LEED certification (Apr 23, 2007)
   2. The Dwell Home by Resolution 4: Architecture (Apr 18, 2007)
   3. Dwell Magazine, Dwell Homes (Apr 17, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model green Dwell Escher GuneWardena Dwell prefab

Michelle Kaufmann Designs

Link to Michelle Kaufmann Designs
John Swain Photography

info_smallMichelle Kaufmann Designs has been one of the stars of the prefab movement since designing the info_smallGlidehouse for Sunset Magazine in 2004. The company emphasizes the greenness of its homes and has even built a green factory, mkConstructs, to produce prefab homes. I got some details from Rebecca Woelke, Director of Media Relations:

Do you have many built homes or homes under construction?

We have 15 completed homes, with 2 scheduled for completion by the end of June, and a multi-unit development (San Leandro) is expected to be completed this fall. We are working on 75+ projects, which include single-family residences and MK Communities.

What is mkConstructs?

mkConstructs is...key to our "prenewable" mission: a modern blending of prefabricated systems and renewable resources. mkConstructs is 100% committed to building thoughtful, sustainable designs.

Why did you open your own factory?

The addition of mkConstructs benefits our clients by further streamlining the construction process while providing more predictability of costs and timeframes for home construction. mkConstructs is located in the state of Washington, offering efficiencies with close proximity to many of our material sources and distribution centers. This factory will build homes for California, Washington, Oregon.

What do your homes cost? What does the price include?

In most areas, construction costs are between $200/sf and $275/sf for MKD pre-designed homes, and $275/sf - $400/sf for Custom Projects (all known costs included after permits are let). This does not include the cost of land. For more complex sites and for sites in high-cost areas such as the greater San Francisco area and Los Angeles, the total construction costs will most likely be higher. The actual project cost will depend on many factors unique to our clients MKD Home and building site.

There are both standard models and the custom option on your website. What have customers been most interested in? Do you have any numbers to show how many customers went custom vs. standard?

Of our current projects, 20% of them are custom. The balance of our current projects are pre-designed MKD Homes, which are to be built in various locations in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington.

What are some of the advantages of your prefab system?

  1. MKD builds high-performance homes.
  2. Our homes are stronger than site-built homes.
  3. We build healthy homes.
  4. We use eco-friendly finishes and materials, renewable/recyclable materials.
  5. We offer a predictable timeframe.
  6. Shorter construction timeframe.
  7. Minimal site work needed by the site contractor/less impact on the site.

Are there any common misconceptions about prefab that you'd like to comment on?

One common misconception I have noticed is how people define "prefab." Among the many classifications of prefabricated homes are modular homes, manufactured homes, and mobile homes. Each of these home types is very different. Although they are all built in a factory, they are built to different building codes, with modular construction at the highest construction/quality level. Many city and county zoning ordinances restrict the locating of manufactured/mobile homes to limited areas, whereas modular homes are more widely accepted. Michelle Kaufmann Designed homes are high-quality, high-performance homes that are built in a factory - not to be confused with "manufactured" or "mobile" homes!

(This interview has been edited for space; it's not an exact transcript.)

Related Posts:
   1. AriaDenver pictures from Michelle Kaufmann: modules en route (Jul 31, 2009)
   2. Michelle Kaufmann Designs closing (May 27, 2009)
   3. The mkHearth (Oct 27, 2008)
   4. The mkLoft from Michelle Kaufmann Designs (Nov 13, 2007)
   5. This week: Micro Compact village, WIRED, iT House, and mkLotus (Jul 28, 2007)
   6. The mkLotus show house (Jul 19, 2007)
   7. West Coast Green Conference (Jul 18, 2007)
   8. Michelle Kaufmann in Sierra Magazine (Jul 16, 2007)
   9. MKD Google mash-up (Jun 04, 2007)
   10. This week: LOT-EK returns, a prefab for Second Lifers, and more (May 05, 2007)
   11. Some Assembly Required at LAMOCA (May 03, 2007)
   12. Big Ideas on the Sundance Channel (May 01, 2007)
3 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model green MKD modular modern Glidehouse Sunset Breezehouse Sidebreeze mkLotus mkLoft mkSolaire

Greenwashing

Link to Greenwashing
www.marmolradzinerprefab.com

Frustrated Inhabitat reader Bob Ellenberg wrote to the site commenting on the "green" qualities of many prefab homes; they decided to post his critique. The essay sparked posts on a number of other blogs, as well as numerous comments to the original post. Some of Bob's original points:

"I don't want to pick on prefab construction, as I do quite a bit of it myself as a design/builder and there are certainly many aspects of it that can be 'green.' But some of the claims I see being made relative to overall sustainability of prefab houses are overstated and might even be considered 'Green-Washing'."
Specifically, he cited three areas where prefab homes might not exactly be 'green':
"Material Waste - Standardized materials are ordered by on-site builders and prefab factories alike. In fact, an on site builder will usually order the different lengths of lumber he needs for one particular job that produce the least amount of waste....On site can be as 'green' in scrapping out material as a factory and a factory can be just as wasteful. The real question is how 'green' the approach is of the people running the show.

"Over-Engineering - Factory produced modular homes often require more material than site-built homes, and this is definitely not green....With a factory built house, you have to lift a large module, load it on a truck, haul it down the road and set it with a crane. Because all of these operations concentrate the load on specific points instead of it being spread as it is over a foundation or a slab, the support system must be considerably overbuilt.

"Carbon Cost of Shipping - Shipping modular homes definitely adds to the carbon footprint as well. Truck loads of materials go to local suppliers, travel short distances to site built homes and stay there. Truck loads of materials go to factories, are built into houses and then travel hundreds of miles on oversized trucks....Then the crane which gets about 2-3 mpg travels to the job site to set the house and unless you are in a major city they could end up coming a long way."

Some of the comments to the Inhabitat post: Lloyd Alter said:
"Studies in the Canadian construction industry have shown that as much as 30% of materials are wasted through theft, water damage, or offcuts being tossed in the dumpster. In a prefab factory, nothing is stolen, nothing is thrown out, even the sawdust is used for heating."
Chuck added:
"Having acted as my own contractor to have a timber frame, enclosed with structural insulated panels, house built, it occurs to me that the factory could be brought to the jobsite with a modification of this method of construction. Perhaps we need to borrow the best method form factory and on-the-job techniques, instead of thinking either-or."
User andrew k compared prefab building techniques to site-built in Arizona:
"Hailing from a city that is completely focused on production housing (Phoenix) I can say that prefab must be very,very bad before it can compare with the sprawl of today's suburbia. Most of the skilled labor in the Phoenix area drive substantial distances to the jobsites, and while there, create substantial dust problems. Even in a subdivision where there are two homes in similar stages of construction directly next to each other, material waste is fairly staggering, it's common to see each structure with its own dumpster. Combine material theft into the mix, and the whole process is very, very unsustainable."

Philip Proefrock added his thoughts on the matter at Green Options:

"In and of itself, pre-fab is not automatically "green." When done well, it can be a method that leads to a better constructed home, including one that uses fewer materials and operates more efficiently (meaning less carbon footprint over the building's lifetime, a much larger chunk of its carbon footprint to consider than its construction). In green building, we try to take a look at the larger picture, rather than only focusing on the final building alone. Life cycle issues, and the methods and processes all contribute to making a building green. It's the execution of the concept, and not the idea itself, that makes or breaks a prefab as a greener building."

And, Lloyd Alter of Treehugger posted his two cents:

"Like any building, prefab is as green as its builders want it to be....Prefab holds the promise of delivering a greener home in less time and perhaps even less money, but it is only as green as the designer and the builder."

Related Posts:
   1. Green homes and LEED certification (Apr 23, 2007)
1 comment, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: green

Green homes and LEED certification

Link to Green homes and LEED certification
www.livinghomes.net

Many prefab vendors cite the "greenness" of their home models as a selling point. What exactly makes a home "green" and what is LEED certification?

According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC):

"...the residential sector accounts for 22% of the total energy consumed in the US and 74% of the water. Indoor air pollutants can often be four to five times higher than outdoor levels. Twenty-one percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are contributed by the residential sector....

Green home building addresses these issues by promoting the design and construction of homes that have much higher performance levels than conventional homes....Generally, green homes are healthier, more comfortable, more durable, and more energy efficient....

Green homes rely upon established and proven design features and technologies that do not have a significantly large cost. Many green measures will reduce long term costs, particularly those features that involve energy and water efficiency. In many cases, these reductions in operating costs will more than offset the additional up-front costs of a green home."

The USGBC has developed an objective rating system which quantifies these "green" characteristics:
"The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings' performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality."

The LEED rating system scores a home on a 109 point scale and assigns a rating of certified (30 points minimum), silver (50 points minimum), gold (70 points minimum) or platinum (90 points minimum). The USGBC explains that "there are 36 topic areas included in the LEED for Homes Rating System. Each topic area has a unique intent or goal." These goals include:
• Avoid development on environmentally sensitive sites.
• Design landscape features to minimize demand for water and synthetic chemicals.
• Design home features to minimize the need for poisions for insect and disease control.
• Offset central water supply through the capture and controlled reuse of rainwater and/or grey water.
• Reduce energy consumption of lighting and appliances
• Reduce waste generation during construction
• Reduce occupant exposure to indoor pollutants (a full list of the qualities of a green home can be found on the usgbc website)

As of this post, only info_smallLivingHomes' prefab model has achieved LEED certification, with a platinum rating (91 points). LivingHomes' website explains:

"As a company, we're committed to building homes that are as healthy as possible, and that minimize their "ecological footprint" with respect to the resources they use for their construction, operation and eventual decommission. Homes built using traditional stick methods can be very unhealthy and extremely resource intensive. In contrast, our homes use sustainable, healthier building materials, as well as energy-efficient environmental systems and products."
Further explanation of the LEED certification of LivingHomes' models can be found on the company website.

Related Posts:
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