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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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.”

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

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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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Shipping Container Home for Orphans Inspires Environmental Awareness

Container Home Build 6

Located on a 26,000 square meter agricultural smallholding in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, the New Jerusalem Children’s Home aims “to become one of the best children’s homes in Africa in the provision of holistic and integrated quality care to orphaned, abandoned, abused, traumatised, vulnerable and HIV positive children.” Founded in 2000 by two sisters, Anna and Phina Mojapelo, the current facilities include nurseries, dormitories, a communal kitchen and dining area, a crèche, a Montessori preschool, play area, and a permaculture vegetable garden.

Container Home Build 9

Container Home Build 4

4D and A Architects worked with New Jerusalem to develop new housing and facilities and settled on the use of recycled shipping containers instead of the traditional brick and mortar option. In a heart-touching news story about the Home, broadcast by local news station, SABC, a reporter and cameramen visited after the first phase of the shipping container home project was completed.

The resulting structure is environmentally-friendly, after the architect, Sean Wall, and his team solved problems of waterproofing, the installation of a functional sanitation system, and providing for adequate insulation, while achieving a colorful, livable aesthetic and “environmentally pleasant” solution. The project was entirely funded by donations and houses thirty of the eighty children in the Home.

Container Home Build 2

The children who live here are mostly discarded at birth, and there was some resistance to the shipping container idea, as Anna and Phina were uncomfortable about putting abused and orphaned children in containers. However, the new structure has inspired the children into participating in keeping the area clean and recycling, even going so far as to call it a “five-star hotel.”

Adrienne Feldner, of organizational sponsor, Orange Babies, says, “I think it’s awful for the children to always be the recipients, to always be on the receiving end of charity and never to be in a position to give.” She says that the children’s involvement in the environmental concerns of the Home has “given them a sense of dignity.”

All developments of New Jerusalem are centered on the education of the children, as well as the protection of their environment.

If you are inspired to help the New Jerusalem Home to continue in their efforts, their website’s Get Involved page calls for volunteers, a wish list of needed items, and methods for donations. Orange Babies, a non-profit that sponsors New Jerusalem with food, medication, and baby things, accepts donations and sponsorships. The BackaBuddy website has a “donate now” button to facilitate online donations to specific causes, including the New Jerusalem Children’s Home.

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More: Shipping Container Home for Orphans Inspires Environmental Awareness

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Gulf Islands Cabin by Olson Kundig Provides a Single-Room Retreat in British Columbia

This gorgeous Gulf Islands Cabin by Olson Kundig Architects is the perfect spot for nature lovers to escape for a cozy weekend retreat. Located in British Columbia, the minimalist space consists of one wood-paneled room, with a secure exterior made of corten steel that ensures safety from storms and fires.

The single bedroom is secure on a concrete foundation, and provides just enough room for a bed, chair, toilet, stove, and kitchenette. There is a shower outside on the porch, and the roof overhangs on each side for plenty of shade and protection from natural elements. The floor-to-ceiling windows provide plenty of natural lighting through the front of the cabin, and a movable steel exterior can be closed over it for protection while not in use.

As the steel and exterior begins to weather, it will blend in more with its natural surroundings and begin to emulate a rustic cabin in the woods. There’s even a small section of outdoor wood storage, which enhances the log cabin look and provides plenty of material for campfires all summer long.

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See the article here: Gulf Islands Cabin by Olson Kundig Provides a Single-Room Retreat in British Columbia

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Mehoopany Wind Farm Now in Full Commercial Operation

Mehoopany Wind Farm Windmill Farm

BP Wind Energy and Sempra U.S. Gas and Power announced in early January 2013 that their $250 million wind farm project in Pennsylvania has gone into full commercial operation. The Mehoopany Wind Farm, located about twenty miles northwest of Scranton, is the state’s largest wind project.

“This is a great project all the way around,” said Sempra US Gas & Power president and CEO, Jeffrey W. Martin. “The State of Pennsylvania has been a recognized leader in providing critical fuels to help grow our nation’s economy for over a century. This project continues in that proud tradition by harnessing clean, sustainable wind energy that will benefit mid-Atlantic customers for decades to come.”

Mehoopany Wind Farm Installation

Each of the 88 GE xle wind turbine generators on the farm has a rated capacity of 1.6 megawatts (MW). All together, they should produce about 141 MW of electricity. Long-term power purchase agreements, made possible by the National Renewables Cooperative Organization, are in place with Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Old Dominion Electric Cooperative.

“Today’s announcement is an important milestone that marks yet another success for the BP and Sempra US Gas & Power teams that have worked so hard to deliver this project into full commercial operation,” said BP Wind Energy president and CEO, John Graham, in a recent press release. “We appreciate the on-going support that we have received at both the state and local level and look forward to a long-term partnership in the community.”

Mehoopany Wind Farm

In addition to the contribution to the power supply in the region, the project created more than 400 jobs during the course of construction and about 10-15 permanent employees will be needed to maintain and monitor the facility, which will be operated by a wholly-owned affiliate of BP Wind Energy.

In the last five years, BP has made more investments in the United States than any other oil and gas company, investing more in the United States than in other countries. Since 2005, about $8 billion of BP Alternative Energy investments have gone towards alternative energy development. US BP Wind Energy has interests in sixteen wind farms that are located in nine states with a gross generating capacity of around 2,600 MW.

Mehoopany Wind Farm windmill

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

Bosco Verticale Build -1

Kanga Room Systems Make the Perfect Office, Guest Room, or Studio Space

Whether your home is in need of a small studio space, office, or extra guest bedroom, Austin, Texas-based Kanga Room Systems is the perfect portable option. The modern, eco-friendly buildings are designed with portability in mind, and are custom-made to fit your existing home with bathroom, kitchenette, and multiple room options.

Prices for a Kanga Room System range from $7,150 to $15,500, with size options between 8’x10’ and 14’x24’. Each one comes with a treated skids foundation, EPDM roof membrane, galvanized fascia flashing, cedar accent siding, a metal door with full lite glass, and several other unique features made of quality materials.

The system is shipped right to your home from Texas as a kit, where you or a contractor can assemble it. Kanga uses eco-conscious, sustainable, and energy-efficient materials whenever possible, and they are always customizable for specific aesthetic or environmental needs.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

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Read the original post: Kanga Room Systems Make the Perfect Office, Guest Room, or Studio Space

Low-Carbon Concrete Products to be Developed by Atlas Block and CarbonCure

Atlas Concrete Carbon Neutral Block

Atlas Block, a manufacturer of concrete products based in Ontario, has signed a licensing agreement with CarbonCure, an emerging leader in science-based concrete technology for green building, to manufacture low-carbon concrete that will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the concrete industry.

Several months have been spent testing the bolt-on technology from CarbonCure at the Atlas Block Hillsdale plant. The method sequesters carbon dioxide into the concrete during the manufacturing process. CO2 waste is consumed during concrete production to transform it into solid limestone, thus creating a better concrete product.

“This could transform the entire concrete industry,” said Don Gordon, CEO of Atlas Block. “I’ve been in this industry many years. This is easily the most exciting technological improvement I’ve seen.” Concrete is responsible for approximately 5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions as the most widely used construction material.

Several major firms are beginning to spec the Atlas Block products, including B+H Architects. “B+H Architects is so impressed with the environmental sustainability of this technology that Atlas Block with CarbonCure products will be exclusively specified on all new products,” said Matthew Roberts of B+H Architects.

Atlas Block joins CarbonCure distributors, The Shaw Group of Nova Scotia, and Basalite Concrete Products of Dixon, California to meet the global demand for innovative green building materials.

Atlas Concrete Production

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Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

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  3. Top-10 Products from BuildingGreen [2013]

The rest is here: Low-Carbon Concrete Products to be Developed by Atlas Block and CarbonCure

Roundhouse Garden Buildings Inspired by Yurts

Rotunda Tiny House

Rotunda Living, a small home builder based in the United Kingdom, has designed some small, contemporary round houses inspired by nature’s shapes and elements. They look like the perfect backyard getaway to use as a studio, guest bedroom, pool house, or meditative escape space.

The design is similar to a yurt, but with solid walls. The plan is to use locally-sourced materials and a local supply chain to create quality, sustainable materials that will not sacrifice aesthetics. Each design uses natural, breathable, and efficient materials for insulation and construction, providing a healthy environment that inspires creativity in an atmosphere inspired by nature.

Rotunda Tiny House

If you’ve always wondered how closely you could incorporate nature into the design of a small home or room, these roundhouses offer an option that is pretty close. For more information on their designs and inspiration, visit rotunda-living.co.uk.

Rotunda Tiny House Interior

Images via Rotunda Living

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  1. Seadrift Residence is a Zero-Energy Home With Natural, Stylish Features
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Continued here: Roundhouse Garden Buildings Inspired by Yurts

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