Green Design with Breathtaking Views

Leicester House Marvin Windows - exterior

This is the last installment in our series called Energy-Efficient Windows 101 made possible by Marvin Windows and Doors.  Last time I discussed how Marvin windows contribute towards LEED certification, and today want to wrap it up with this showcase of an award-winning home in Leicester, North Carolina.  Designed by Eric Gartner of New York-based SPG Architects, the energy-efficient home has a custom configuration of Marvin windows providing expansive southern and western views.

Leicester House Marvin Windows - interior

It’s hard to explain how digging the water well in 2008 influenced what ultimately was built, but that’s what happened, according to Gartner, SPG Architects.  Due to drought conditions, the well had to be dug much deeper than expected, and the housing economy basically crashed at about the same time.  When these two things happened, the owner reassessed plans and worked with Gartner on a more environmentally friendly home while still keeping a tight construction budget.

The result is a 3,000 square-foot abode with three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms, split between two levels.  The upper level has the living and master suite, while the lower level has the guest wing and can be zoned off when not in use to save energy.

A key feature of the Leicester home is an engineered window wall overlooking a green roof with sunset views of the west and also toward the south.  This was accomplished with the custom configuration of Marvin windows and doors explained below.

Leicester House Marvin Windows - windows

Contemporary and Green

Leicester collects about 80% of the water that falls on the house and diverts it to two tanks that hold a total of 3,400 gallons.  The non-potable resource is used for landscape irrigation and in the water-conserving toilets.  Also, the green roof reduces water runoff and the heat-island effect and insulates the guest wing below.

As for the construction, Leicester has a basic insulation package with R19 fiberglass in the walls, an insulated foam in the basement, and an R38+ roof with a combination of R19 fiberglass and closed-cell urethane foam.  The HVAC system has three zones – again, these can be shut down when an area of the house isn’t being used – powered by a geothermal system with a field of horizontal loops.

To conserve energy, the owner installed Energy Star appliances, Energy Star Marvin windows, and low-consumption lighting, and Gartner’s design includes massive overhangs for summer shade and winter warmth.  These windows facilitate stunning views and also provide for cross-ventilation.

Leicester House Cross Ventilation

About the Windows

The window package from Marvin works overtime to minimize unwanted heat gain from the west.  Gartner said the UV rating is really high, and, specifically, the windows have low-E2 glass filled with argon.

Marvin’s team was able to sync with the design team to deliver a mostly continuous view using steel bars engineered for structural support, connections, and an arrangement of the Ultimate Swinging French Door, Ultimate Casement Window, and Ultimate Awning Window.  And Gartner was honored as one of Marvin’s 2012 Architect’s Challenge winners.

If you’ve ever thought about having stunning views like this from your home, find a Marvin dealer near you to bring your vision to life.

Leicester House Marvin Windows - architecture

Courtesy: SPG Architects; credits: Daniel Levin Photography.

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Emigration Canyon Home is First Recipient of LEED Silver Green Home Certification

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Located in Utah’s Emigration Canyon just north of Salt Lake City, this contemporary 2,500 square foot home was designed for a family with small children by Sparano + Mooney Architecture. It provides breathtaking canyon views from every angle, and is the first recipient of the LEED Silver green home certification thanks to sustainable materials and energy-efficient qualities.

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The main living room consists of a 30-foot operable wall that transforms it into an outdoor room, and cor-ten steel cladding mixed with board-formed wood textured concrete create a modern, low maintenance interior that maintains a natural style. The lower level is an open, flexible design, ideal to be used as an art studio, playroom, home office, or entertainment room.

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Solatube skylights maximize the use of natural light, and an in-floor radiant system provides energy-efficient heat during cold Utah winters. The surrounding landscape complements the architecture with native, drought-resistant plants that provide a seamless transition between the cozy home and rustic canyon surroundings.

Read more here: Emigration Canyon Home is First Recipient of LEED Silver Green Home Certification

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This Week in Energy News – February 22, 2013

This week in Jetson Green Energy News, New York City is preparing for the next big storm and a California land rush could result in alternative energy providing the state with 100% of its power needs.

New York City East River Blueway Plan

Proposed: Four Miles of Manhattan’s East River to be Redeveloped with Storm Barrier

WXY Architecture + Urban Design, working with local officials and community groups, has developed the East River Blueway Plan to redevelop a stretch of Manhattan’s waterways to combat storm water surge, calling “for the creation of wetlands, parks, bicycle and pedestrian pathways and bridges, and the redevelopment of a disused beach under the Brooklyn Bridge.”

Toyota Sponsors 4,500 Trees for New York Restoration Project MillionTreesNYC

Founded in 1995 by Bette Midler, the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) has launched the MillionTreesNYC effort, a collaboration with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and other local organizations that has plans to plant one million trees in New York City by 2017. Toyota has already agreed to sponsor the planting of 4,500 trees towards this year’s annual goal of 15,000.

Renewable Energy Projects in California Could Meet 100% of the State’s Power Needs

A land rush on California’s farming region to plant solar farms adds up to 227 proposed solar projects that, combined with wind and other renewable energy sources, “generate enough electricity to meet 100% of California’s power needs on an average summer day,” the California Independent System Operator says.

Net-Zero Certification Program Launched by EarthCraft Virginia

Currently in a pilot stage, a two-art certification program being designed by EarthCraft Virginia will provide projects and homeowners with “Net-Zero Ready” and “Net-Zero Certified” status for energy-neutral and energy-positive residential buildings. The program is targeted to new construction in the southeastern United States.

National Research Council Report Advises Department of Defense to Continue LEED Efforts

A new report that has been compiled by the United States National Research Council, as requested by Congress, on “the use of energy-efficiency and sustainability standards for military construction,” has reviewed previous efforts by the U.S. Department of Defense to achieve LEED Silver or equivalent ratings in new construction and major renovations and gave them the “thumbs up.”

Renewable Energy Breakthrough Uses Geometry to Trap Solar Power

Researchers at Illinois’ Northwestern University have found a way to triple the period of time that light can be trapped within thin-film photovoltaic cells by “manipulating the arrangement of a polymer layer on an organic solar cell.”

Emerging Technologies Could Affect Building Industry Sustainability Efforts

A list of the most promising technology breakthroughs, released by the World Economic Forum’s Global Council on Emerging Technologies, which are expected to enable humans to deal with problems related to tackle population growth, resource demands, and other sustainability issues, included organic electronics, three-dimensional printing, self-heating materials, and remote sensing.

Public Demonstration of Tiny Houses in Washington D.C. Aims to Change Minds and Regulations

Boneyard Studios, founded by Brian Levy and Lee Pera, has created a community of tiny, movable houses as public demonstration of the trend in residential downsizing, hoping to “encourage changes in local laws to permit smaller, more affordable living options here and on vacant land across the city.”

Changing Business Models to Embrace Sustainability Equates to Increased Profitability

A study conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group has revealed that “companies reporting profits from sustainability rose 23 percent in 2012, to 37 percent of the total” and that “that companies in developing countries change their business models as a result of sustainability at a far higher rate than those based in North America, which has the lowest rate of business-model innovation and the fewest business-model innovators.”

Read more: This Week in Energy News – February 22, 2013

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Caruth Home in Dallas Boasts LEED Gold Features, Blends Seamlessly With Nature

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Architect Tom Reisenbichler has designed this gorgeous Caruth Boulevard home located in Dallas, Texas. While the home is recognized for its LEED Gold design, it is also known for bringing an exceptionally luxurious style into green living.

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The surrounding trees provided a base for the home design, which uses sharp horizontal lines that reach into the trees and seamlessly blend nature with architecture. The upper balcony is a great spot to relax in the evening, with enough shade from surrounding trees to stay cool during the day.

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The open floor plan provides the perfect space for entertaining, and features like photovoltaic solar panels, recycled building materials, and drought-resistant native plants make it a low-impact space that is as contemporary as it is sustainable.

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Rieteiland House Offers Energy Efficiency and Beautiful Panoramic Sunset Views

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The Rieteiland House in Amsterdam, The Netherlands is a breathtaking piece of architecture created by Hans van Heeswijk Architects.

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Designed on a newly established island’s plot of land, the box-like design features three floors and a basement with panoramic views of the beautiful surrounding landscape. The street-facing facade is clad in aluminum siding with sections that open up to display windows, and the water-facing side is made completely of glass and sliding doors. Each level has a panoramic view toward the west, the water, and the park, offering sunset views from every level.

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Special attention has been given to the sustainability features of this home, including some of the furniture, which was custom-made to accommodate the design. Thermal energy storage, a cold and heat pump, and solar collectors are all used to maximize energy efficiency and cut down on the home’s footprint.

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Source and images via Contemporist.com

Read more here: Rieteiland House Offers Energy Efficiency and Beautiful Panoramic Sunset Views

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Elegant Grass Lamp Provides Light for Home and Hydroponic Vegetation

Milan’s Bosco Verticale On Track to Become World’s First Vertical Forest

Bosco Verticale Forest

Milan, Italy is one of Europe’s most polluted cities, its air quality frequently breaching safety limits set by the EU and causing city officials to install a ventilation system in 2009 in an effort to reduce damage to Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper that resides in the Santa Maria delle Grazie church. In 2003, a medical study compared breathing air in Milan to smoking almost a pack of cigarettes each day. On top of that, there is less space dedicated to vegetation in Milan than any other Italian city.

Short on space for increasing the presence of greenery, the city turned to architect Stefano Boeri to create the world’s first vertical forests, incorporated into the “Bosco Verticale” apartment towers, currently under construction and nearing completion.

Bosco Verticale Build

The two residential towers, which are part of a rehabilitation project in the historic district between Via De Island Castillia and Confalonieri, loom 111 meters and 78 meters and will be home to over 900 trees that cover nearly 9,000 square meters of terrace space. They are 24 floors and 17 floors high with combined capacity for 730 trees, 5,000 shrubs, and 11,000 plants.

In addition to producing oxygen, mitigating smog, and providing an ecosystem for insects and birds, the trees and plants on the terraces will help to cool the apartments and reduce the energy costs for air-conditioning, especially when summers in Milan can get hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The vertical forest idea has inspired a social housing tower in Spain, called the Torre Huerta, and a “Flower Tower” in Paris that features nearly 400 bamboo plants on its ledges.

Bosco Verticale External

Bosco Verticale Forest Build

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The Month in Review: January 2013

Here are some of the top stories in eco news for the month of January, 2013.

Fiscal Cliff Deal in United States Extends Biofuel Incentives

In Green Car News, the United States Senate signed off on a budget agreement that was designed to avoid the “fiscal cliff” and has been the center of debate. For the biofuel industry and green vehicle proponents, the good news is that biofuel initiatives from the 2008 Farm Bill will be extended, which should help to save jobs and reduce dependency on foreign oil.

Transocean Agrees to Pay $1.4 Billion in Fines and Penalties for 2010 Oil Spill Disaster

The United States Department of Justice announced that Transocean had agreed to pay civil and criminal fines and penalties for its part in the 2010 oil spill disaster, Deepwater Horizon, under a federal court settlement.

Warren Buffet Makes Solar Energy Deal

Two California SunPower solar photovoltaic power plant projects have been acquired by Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company for over $2 billion, adding to its solar energy portfolio that includes the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farms in San Luis County, California and a 290-megawatt solar power plant in Yuma, Arizona.

Winners Announced for 2013 Green Car Technology Award

The Mazda SkyACTIV was awarded the winner of the 2013 Green Car Technology Award at the Washington Auto Show on January 31, 2013. Nominees that were recognized in Green Car Journal  as the ‘Top 10 Green Car Technologies for 2013′ included Fiat MultiAir; Fisker EVer Powertrain; Ford Auto Stop-Start, EcoBoost, and Energi technologies; Honda Eco Assist; Mazda SkyACTIV; Nissan Easy-Fill Tire Alert; Tesla Powertrain; and Toyota RAV4 EV Powertrain.

U.S. Green Building Council Lists Top 10 States for LEED

Based on 2010 U.S. Census data, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) annual list of the top 10 states for new LEED certifications in 2012 includes regions that are transforming buildings and communities across the country. Washington, D.C. takes the number one spot, followed by Virginia, Colorado, and Massachusetts.

Los Angeles Deploys LED Street Lights to Save Millions

The Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting published an update on the status of a project aimed at converting street lighting to energy efficient LEDs. The report states that 114,067 units have been replaced, which will result in $5,325,793 electricity savings per year, a savings of 63.3% over the high-pressure sodium (HPS) street lights.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Solar PV Install Costs Continue to Drop
  2. New Venue for Solar Decathlon 2013
  3. Top-10 Products from BuildingGreen [2013]

See the original post here: The Month in Review: January 2013

Port-a-Bach Features Stylish Home Design in a Portable Container

Port a Bach portable container home external

The Port-a-Bach home is designed by the New Zealand Atelierworkshop architectural firm of Cecile Bonnifait and William Giesen, whose “approach is orientated towards reconnecting people with a physical reality, a territory, its history and a cultural context.” They believe that up-cycling containers can be effective solutions in projects where site access and portability are concerns.

The prototype for the Port-a-Bach home was built in China and shipped to New Zealand where they are now looking for commercial partners to begin mass production. Designed to be a holiday home, I think that the Port-a-Bach would appeal to tiny home dwellers and perpetual travelers alike.

It is portable and secure, with a high level finish and is designed with the environment in mind.

Port a Bach portable container home internal

With space for two adults and two children to sleep, it could be used as a living space for short- or long-term use, perhaps while a custom home is being constructed or if you are leasing your land and don’t want to invest in a permanent structure.

Power, water, and sewer can be supplied independently, as it is suitable for land that has been developed for utilities or is yet undeveloped. It can be situated on a wide variety of ground conditions by way of six concrete footings that serve as a non-invasive foundation.

The Port-a-Bach can be transported by helicopter or truck and installed with a minimal amount of impact on any site. It can be folded into a fully-enclosed exterior steel shell to be stored or secured or relocated.

Features include cupboards and shelving, stainless steel fittings, and kitchen appliances. The bathroom has an open shower, a sink, and a composting toilet.

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An fabric screen system for the interior of the structure provides for the option of creating room divisions on-the-fly, and an exterior canvas can be used to cover a deck area to expand the living space outdoors.

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Port a Bach portable container home Night

Japanese Home Offers a Minimalist Design With Natural, Earthen Floors