Glidehouse Prefab Built on Vashon Island

As mentioned a few months ago, Massachusetts- and California-based Blu Homes recently undertook the construction of a new Glidehouse prefab on Vashon Island in Washington.  The home was built in a factory and shipped to the island — by ferryboat, there are no bridges — where it was later unpacked for finishing various site details.  Here are a few photos of the completed home.

The home has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and separate pod with a bedroom and bathroom.  The 16-foot pod is just the right kind of space for visitors, extra family, or an office — you name it.

Glidehouse features gliding cedar shades and other green elements, including radiant floor heating, Energy Star appliances, low-flow fixtures, an energy recovery ventilation system, sustainably forested flooring, and Greenguard finishes.  The company says their homes are at least 50% more energy efficient than comparably-sized existing homes.

Blu Homes sells the Glidehouse from about $385,000, plus $105,000 for the separate pod.

Blu’s pricing includes consultation, limited design and engineering, factory-building, transportation, and installation of your home, while it excludes the land, foundation, site work (including painting, landscaping, decks, porches, garages, etc) and utility hook-ups.

[+] More about the Glidehouse prefab from Blu Homes.

Credits: (c) 2010 d randolph foulds photography. 

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Green Roof Shingles, Next-Gen Home, Eco-Friendly Cleanup, + Home Energy Tech

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter for updates, article summaries, newsworthy links, and other site news. Also, check out the latest green jobs in our list.

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Meld Intros Luxe Recycled Content Material

North Carolina-based Meld USA, maker of several materials we’ve mentioned including ecoX, Micro, and Plus Plus, introduced a new material in the last year called Luxe.  Luxe is made in Raleigh with up to 74% pre-consumer recycled-content material and can be used with various products, including countertops, tiles, and wall paneling.  Meld offers six standard colors – Natural, Cement, Graphite, Saddleback, Caper and Southern Mud — and basically infinite custom colors.

[+] More about eco-friendly, concrete products by Meld USA.

Credits: Meld USA. 

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New CaliMini Prefab for the West Coast

Sustain Design Studio, creator of the original and enormously popular miniHome, recently announced a new design called caliMini made specifically for the western United States.  CaliMini will be built in California and offered in four models ranging in size from about 611 – 1,190 square feet (not counting the loft).  Plus, one of these eco-friendly, contemporary homes will be on display at Dwell on Design 2012 in June, according to Sustain.

Like the miniHome, caliMini is built on a chassis so it’s considered a park model trailer or manufactured home, depending on where you’re located. Sustain suggests the CaliMini may be anchored to concrete Sonotube piers or a concrete slab-on-grade pad.

Also, the build may be a lot different than what you’re used to seeing in a manufactured home. CaliMini, for example, would have engineered lumber frame construction, Ecobatt insulation (R22 floor, R19 walls, R38 roof), house wrap, Marvin Integrity windows, a Proseal roof membrane, cedar and HardiePanel siding, Baltic Birch ply walls and ceiling, cork floors, available LED and CFL lighting, Energy Star appliances, and low-flow fixtures.

Sustain designed the home to have no vinyl, no CFCs, no drywall, and no toxic materials. The water runs through a tankless hot water heater and there’s a whole-house ventilation system. Options include home energy monitoring, solar photovoltaics, and a net-zero energy package.

The model pictured is a CaliMini Solo 1 with 616 square feet inside, 140 square feet of loft space, and 140 square feet of external space.

CaliMini is available for shipment to Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, as well as outside the contiguous United States in Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska.  We’ll have more details about pricing and hopefully some photos of the actual caliMini at Dwell on Design in June.

[+] See all caliMini models available from Sustain Design Studio.

Credit: Sustain Design Studio.

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Affordable C6 Prefab Open in Long Beach

LivingHomes recently introduced a new, lower cost prefab called the C6 and built two models to showcase to the world.  Last week, we mentioned the Palm Springs C6 and this one is located in Long Beach, California (catch a tour Feb. 25, 2012 if you’re in the area).  The home was designed by LivingHomes in collaboration with Make It Right, an endeavor by Brad Pitt and Bill McDonough, and was built to a LEED Platinum level environmental program with Cradle-to-Cradle inspired materials.

As mentioned previously, C6 is outfitted with James Hardie siding, Thermatru doors, Andersen windows, Verve lighting, GE kitchen and laundry appliances, a Nest thermostat, Kohler fixtures, Mosa tile, Millstead cork floors, Armstrong cabinets, and Staron countertops, etc.

The green prefab also features a patent-pending door handle designed by architect Bill McDonough that’s supposed to give the owners a dose of Zinc with every touch.

Built by Cavco, the three-bedroom, two-bath C6 has 1,232 square feet and is available in most states for about $185,000, depending on local costs, including permit-ready drawings and excluding things like permits, transport, install, landscape, and foundation.  A portion of the proceeds from each C6 sale will go towards Make It Right.

[+] More about the C6 Prefab by Living Homes/Make It Right.

Credits: LivingHomes.

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Used Cartons Make New ReWall Materials

Tetra Pak and similar gable-top cartons have many advantages such as keeping food fresher for a longer period of time.  However, one drawback has been that these polyethylene-coated packages cannot be processed in most curbside recycling programs.  The ReWall Company, on the other hand, can’t get enough of the stuff.

Iowa-based ReWall uses poly-coated cartons to make wall board, tile backer, sheathing, and decorative panels.  One product, NakedBoard, is suitable for supporting tile in wet areas, or as a decorative panel when a design calls for highlighting the recycled nature of materials. There is no paper facing.

Another product, EssentialBoard, is paper-faced for additional strength and comparable to sheathing products or plywood.  The paper-facing also makes it a suitable drywall substitute.  Both products are light weight, rigid, and have a water-resistant core.  Pricing is comparable to mid-grade OSB or plywood.  The company also makes a ceiling tile product suitable for clean room manufacturing.

The need to get enough raw material has the Iowa-based company considering building a new plant near packaging companies.  And, it is negotiating with recyclers and waste haulers to harvest these cartons from the landfill-bound waste stream.  Currently ReWall uses 100 tons of material a month, but by securing material sources and with planned equipment upgrades, the company expects to triple that number later this year.

The production process starts with poly-coated cups, cartons, and their components.  This material is shredded and then moved through a patented process that heats and compresses all of the plastic, paper, and ink into one product.  The manufacturing process is environmentally friendly to the extent that it does not use added glue, water, or chemicals.  ReWall is 100% recycled material, primarily post-consumer now, but the company may need post-industrial sources to get enough product.

The manufacturing process was developed in Europe, where PE-coated packaging was popular long before it caught on the United States.  ReWall has technical product review, material specifications, and installation guides online, and a Des Moines television station also produced this video on the manufacturing process.

[+] More about ReWall Company products made with recycled materials.

Photo credit: The ReWall Company.

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Power-One Commercial Scale Inverter in the Boots Lab

Seriously, our MegaLab is bursting at the seams with super awesome solar stuff! One of the latest to arrive is a Power-One Aurora 10.0 480V commercial scale inverter! Not only is this inverter efficient, it’s stylish too. With integrated DC & AC switches, this three-phase inverter is uniquely designed to control the performance of PV panels, especially during periods of uncertain weather. (We are also really happy to receive the 10.0’s single phase little brother, the “3.0”! It’s just as stylish as the big 10.0, but smaller.) But Power-One does more than build beautiful inverters, they also make AuroraVision, precision monitoring equipment for larger systems. Power-One’s.

Ideabox AKTIV with IKEA Hits Portland

As mentioned a couple weeks ago, Oregon-based Ideabox created a new prefab in collaboration with IKEA Portland for the Portland Home & Garden Show going on right now, February 22-26, 2012.  In case you’re not in the area, here are some photos of the fresh new home.  Ideabox Aktiv features tons of IKEA products and showcases a cost-effective home that can be built with open spaces, vaulted ceilings, and clean lines.

The interior includes a Kohler Persuade dual-flush toilet, an Energy Star fridge, an induction cooktop and convection oven, LED lighting, and an IKEA package that includes Tundra maple flooring, Pax wardrobes, and Abstrakt cabinets, etc.  Aktiv also includes a ductless, mini-split heat pump (see above photo).

The exterior features a combination of fiber-cement siding, corrugated metal, and a standing-seam metal roof.

As equipped, Aktiv sells for $86,525, although Ideabox is offering an introductory priced version at the Portland Home & Garden show of $79,500.  Drop by the showcase and come back to tell us what you think of the new Ideabox/IKEA Portland collaboration.

[+] More about the Ideabox AKTIV prefab with IKEA Portland.

Credits: Ideabox. 

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Boots launches Siemens Microinverter Intensive Solar Training program

We just completed the launch of the Siemens Microinverter Intensive Solar Training program, here at Boots on the Roof.  What a great class! I was in the Boots studio interviewing students and they had great things to say about the training and the Siemens Microinverter.
Student Gerry Kosher, CEO of Green Tech Systems in Chicago said “I couldn’t imagine not going through this class and being in the solar business. It was that comprehensive! I learned that much! I would have spent years working through mistakes had I not attended this class.”
David Picatti, President of Northwest Electrical Supply Company in Washington said about the Siemens Microinverter “I am very impressed with the quality of the product, the simplicity of installation. It eliminates a lot of parts from other systems, so the overall install cost will be less, and it will be a more versatile system. “
We continue to raise the bar in our classes in our commitment to bringing our students the best training in the industry. The Siemens microinverter efficiently addresses the problem of shading. With traditional string inverter technology, shading of just one panel can significantly reduce the energy harvest of the entire string, limiting the entire system by the weakest link. With the Siemens Microinverter, the power conversion for each module happens within each module, ensuring maximum energy harvest independent of the other panels. We are proud to be an authorized training provider for the Siemens Microinverter, and are excited to be offering this course to our students!

Studio Shed Unveils New Eco-Friendly Sheds

Since its launch, Boulder-based Studio Shed has shown impressive growth.  The company recently announced the launch of Studio Shed Lifestyle, Small Kits, and Garage+ — which means Studio Shed offers anything from a compact storage structure to a fully-finished 600+ square-foot studio.  And with a solar-powered factory, the company is in a great position to help homeowners create eco-friendly space when and to the extent needed.

Studio Shed builds these structures with 2