Conservatory House Built to Replicate the Design and Functionality of a Tree

Conservatory House External

Conservatory House External

This Conservatory House in Bulgaria by Ignatov Architects was designed to host small music events and house a large flower conservatory. It was built on the site of an old sand quarry for neighboring villages, which was later turned into an eroded waste dump.

The home fits into an existing quarry pit, providing a compact structure that fills the void without obstructing on the natural surroundings. The music room and conservatory are located on top of the home, minimizing the building’s footprint while soaking up plenty of sunlight and gorgeous views.

conservatory house 3

The rooftop conservatory also works as a great insulator, minimizing the home’s footprint along with a geothermal system for heating and cooling. Solar vacuum tubes integrated into the roof provide hot water, and a bio-active wastewater treatment unit turns waste into irrigation water and compost.

conservatory house 4

There is not much cultivated landscaping done around the house, which allows local plant species to regrow and maintain an active microclimate.

Altogether, the formation of the house somewhat resembles a tree – a green roof, solid wood structure, and geothermal probes underground. It is a cozy, inviting, and natural space that causes minimal waste and takes full advantage of the surroundings.

Conservatory House

Conservatory House

Read the rest here: Conservatory House Built to Replicate the Design and Functionality of a Tree


Blu Homes Announces Discount for those Affected by Sandy

Blu Homes Pre Fab Houses

Energy Efficient Home by Blu Homes Built To Last

For those affected by hurricane Sandy Bue Homes is offering a discount to help get you back into a new home at a discount. Along with this great offer they it in record time.

It has been a few months  now and if you are looking to get back on your feet, you can do so in an energy  efficient Pre Fab home by Blu Homes. With a host of customizable options and a build time of 5 to 9 months this is is a great offer. There is a wide range of design to chose from for your new Pre Fab home along with materials and energy saving features.

November Month in Review [Outline]

Happy holidays!  Below is our coverage from November.  From newly published posts in November, I noticed these were the most popular — Six Oaks Container House, Boulder Container House, and Energy-Efficient Windows. Here’s the outline:

Innovative Prefab & Other Projects:

Technology & Products Innovation:

Know-How & Other Green News:

Also, subscribe to our weekly newsletter for updates, article summaries, newsworthy links, and other site news.

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Read the original: November Month in Review [Outline]

Autarkhome: Sustainable Floating Passivhaus

This is a floating home that is entirely self-sufficient and docked in Maastricht, Netherlands.  Designed by Pieter Kromwijk and referred to as Autarkhome, the solar-powered project was built to the Passivhaus standard and is 10 times more energy efficient than the average dwelling of similar size.

There are no dock connectors for energy or water; energy is provided by solar hot water collectors and solar PV, while water is processed through a built-in water treatment system.

Additionally, Autarkhome has a heat recovery ventilation system, EPS insulation, Mosa tiles, Desso carpet, and IKEA interior products.

The current plan is to mass-produce the home due to demand after showing the prototype, according to Renewable Energy Magazine.  The builder expects each home to take about four months to finish.

[+] More about this floating Passivhaus called Autarkhome.

Credits: Autarkhome.

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See the original post: Autarkhome: Sustainable Floating Passivhaus

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Factory-Built Homes Are the Future [Video]

There’s so much media pertaining to green prefab lately, I can hardly keep up!  New World Home co-founder Mark Jupiter was on CNBC recently to discuss modular homes, prefab houses, and the benefits of modular construction relative to traditional site-built homes.  He said, in short: “All houses should be built in a factory. It is the future. And we’re just preempting that and started this company before that future takes hold.”

New World Home, you may recall, is known for modular, traditional homes built to LEED Platinum standards. Examples include this home in Georgia and this home in New York.

The company is currently building six modular homes in the Hamptons and expects to build a shocking 50 homes in 2012, according to CNBC. New World Home typically charges between $165 – $250 per square foot for these green homes.

[+] Are Factory-Built Homes the Future? by CNBC.

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Read more here: Factory-Built Homes Are the Future [Video]

Net-Zero Energy Homes in Grow Community

This is Grow Community near downtown Winslow on Bainbridge Island in Washington.  The first three model homes — Ocean, Everett, and Aria — are finished and work is moving forward for the next 24 homes and two 10-unit rowhouse apartments.  The eight-acre project is the first residential One Planet Community in North America (issued by U.K. non-profit BioRegional).  However, in addition to this recognition, the aim is net-zero homes and an entirely net-zero energy community by 2020.

Grow Community was designed by Davis Studio Architecture + Design, creators of PieceHomes (the Modern Living Showhouse at Dwell on Design 2011) and developed by Asani.

There will be community open spaces, gardens, and an urban farm program, as well as car- and bike-share programs.  In addition, residents won’t necessarily need a car in this place.  After about a five-minute bike ride, one can take a 35-minute ferry to downtown Seattle, if that’s where work is.

Grow Community Aria - exterior
Grow Community Everett - exterior
Grow Community Ocean - exterior

When all is said and done, Grow Community will have 50 single family homes, 81 rental units, a central community building, as well as some commercial spaces.  While the first three homes were built in a conventional manner, the plan is to transition to modular assemblies going forward.

The homes will be partially prefabricated with wall and roof panels built in an off-site factory.  Once the shell is assembled on-site, finish work is then completed, and the homes are ready in about 3-4 months total.

Each home supports enough photovoltaic panels to provide all the energy needed for the residents.  To do that, the green homes are built with super-insulated walls and roofs, highly efficient windows, mini-split heat pumps, heat recovery ventilators, energy efficient appliances, etc.  They’re also nearly PVC-free and outfitted with sustainably harvested wood siding, low-VOC paints, stains, and sealants, and water-efficient fixtures.

[+] More about sustainable homes in Grow Community on Bainbridge Island.

Photo credits: Anthony Rich, courtesy of Davis Studio Architecture + Design.

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Not So Big Timber Frame Home in Oregon

This is an 800-square-foot home in the River Road area in north Eugene. It was designed by Nir Pearlson and built by Six Degrees Construction for owners Rob Handy and Julie Hulme, who were inspired by The Not So Big House and other books by Sarah Susanka, FAIA. It turns out the owners upsized their situation by deconstructing an existing 620-square foot house built several decades ago, according to The Register-Guard.

The new home has an exposed wood structure, earthen plaster walls, a double-insulated envelope, copper-penny metal roofing, and plywood and HardiePlank siding. It was designed with open, connected spaces and abundant lighting through clerestories, skylights, doors, and windows.

River Road Residence also has a mini-split heat pump, HRV, 3.36 kW solar PV on the south-facing roof, a solar hot water collector, and an irrigation system that uses reclaimed greywater and rainwater.

The green home received gold-level certification from the Earth Advantage Institute, according to The Register-Guard, which has a full story on the timber-frame home located on two acres of land. In addition, visit the websites for the architect Nir Pearlson and builder Six Degrees Construction.

Credits: Nir Pearlson Architect, Inc.

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Originally posted here: Not So Big Timber Frame Home in Oregon

Disney House Prefab in Joshua Tree

As mentioned earlier this week, a new Blu Homes prefab will open for tours this weekend, September 15-16, 2012, in Joshua Tree, California.  The home was built for Tim Disney with two Origin units and a separate guest unit.  Each Origin unit, to give you a ballpark on the value of a home like this, starts at $135,000 in California, according to information on the Blu Homes website.

One of the things about off-site fabrication is that it enables the construction of homes in places where homes may not have been built in the past, whether for reasons of cost or otherwise.  A prefab in Joshua Tree, for example, can be built almost entirely by available professionals in Vallejo for less cost.

But finding available land is still a tough nut to crack for most.  Cheap land usually has challenges, and infill land is hard to find without deconstruction.  A Blu Homes representative told me about 80% of their customers want a green prefab but they have no land.  That puts the Blu Homes’ land search partnership with Redfin in perspective.

For customers that can find a parcel, Blu Homes solidified its position as best of class.  The other day, the company announced a new round of funding led by Netherlands-based Skagen Group.  Blu now has a total of $69 million under investment since the founding in 2008.  New funds will be used to “[expand] sales and marketing efforts to keep pace with our technology and design innovations,” according to recent statement.

But land and investment aside, if you’re interested in seeing this modern Joshua Tree prefab, register here.  Ace Hotel is providing 15% off when registering by phone with the code “bluhomes.”

[+] Register to visit this desert prefab September 15-16, 2012.

Credits: John Swain Photography.

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View original post here: Disney House Prefab in Joshua Tree

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Gut Kitchen Renovation in Philadelphia

This is a gut kitchen renovation by owners/designers Matthew D. Emerson, LEED AP, and his wife, Courtney, in Philadelphia.  The Emersons employed a team of local Northern Liberties construction professionals and a sustainable approach with reclaimed materials, energy-efficient technology, greater insulation, low-VOC paints, and a green roof visible from the upper level of the 1907-built brick rowhouse.

Emerson told Jetson Green in an email that he gutted the original 70 square-foot kitchen and sold existing cabinetry and appliances for reuse.  With general contractor Greensaw Design/Build, the structure was bolstered with framing salvaged from movie sets.

The envelope was refitted with R19 or greater insulation in the floor, wall, and roof framing, while interior natural light was enhanced with a large Energy Star glass door, operable skylight, and expanded opening to the main house.

David Wing of Greensaw Design/Build built the cabinet boxes out of FSC-certified plywood and finished them with water- and soy-based oils.  The cabinet faces are also a custom creation from locally-sourced, reclaimed cypress from Kennett Square mushroom beds acquired at Provenance Architectural Salvage.

Other materials include 50% recycled-content Daltile floor tile, LED lighting, Energy Star appliances, an in-cabinet compost bin, a backsplash made with 100% recyclable waxed steel plate (Bill Curran Design), a green roof (Urban Ecoforms), and countertops from reclaimed oak library tables.

If you’ve completed a similar project lately, submit your green kitchen renovation to the editors for potential publication on

Credits: Steve Gengler. 

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Originally posted here: Gut Kitchen Renovation in Philadelphia

Wood Certification Gap, Unhealthy Lighting, Modular Aging, + Prefab Micro Homes

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See the original post: Wood Certification Gap, Unhealthy Lighting, Modular Aging, + Prefab Micro Homes