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

Practical Advanced Framing in Texas [Video]

Here’s another interesting video from Austin-based builder Matt Risinger about what he calls “practical advanced framing.” In this video, Risinger talks about the difference between 2

Extreme Home Built with Old Containers

The Zdroj family lost their home in the Bastrop fire, but a new one seemingly from the ashes took its place. You may have noticed it on a special episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition recently. It was built by EFC Custom Homes and designed by Danze & Davis Architects, and in fact showcased some shipping container construction with help from Numen Development, the firm behind the Cordell Residence. There’s also recycled-content Cuerda Seca by Fireclay Tile on the entry exterior and other products from green home-improvement store TreeHouse.

[+] Watch The Zdroj House episode on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Credits: ABC.com.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Crush: 100% Recycled Content Glass Tile
  2. Vibrant Recycled Tiles from California
  3. New Glazed Brick for Eco-Friendly Design

More here: Extreme Home Built with Old Containers

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Strong Greener Concrete with CarbonCure

Concrete is everywhere in construction, so I like to note what’s happening to make concrete “greener.“  CarbonCure Technologies, Inc. licenses technology in North America to make, for example, carbon-absorbed concrete blocks and other precast products.  Basically, CO2 is injected during curing — making limestone — with the end result being a stronger, greener masonry and other precast products.

CarbonCure‘s technology can be added to the existing manufacturing process in less than a day and is being used in Halifax, Toronto, and San Francisco, according to The Star Phoenix.

Specifically, the CO2 is acquired from Air Liquide, and, according to Canadian Chemical News:

Key to the process is the use of special molds designed with small perforations, similar to the tiny pin-sized holes found in air-hockey tables. Through these perforations a controlled flow of Co2 is fed from a supply tank at low pressures into freshly filled molds. As the C02 enters and mixes with the fresh concrete it reacts readily with residual calcium silicates in the mix to create limestone.

Sounds interesting … California-based Basalite Concrete Products and Toronto-based Atlas Block each use the CarbonCure process for 8-inch concrete masonry units.  In addition, CarbonCure appeared on this year’s Top-10 Products list published by BuildingGreen recently.

[+] More about concrete carbonization with CarbonCure.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. CalStar Unveils Recycled Thru-Wall Unit
  2. Omni Block is an Insulated Concrete Block
  3. How Europeans Build Greener Homes with Offsite Construction and Manufacturing

View original post here: Strong Greener Concrete with CarbonCure

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.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Six Oaks Container House in California
  2. 8 Modern LED Desks Lights for the Home
  3. Modular Container Home Built in Boulder

Read the original: November Month in Review [Outline]

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LivingHomes Intros Low-Cost CK Prefabs

Santa Monica-based LivingHomes just announced the launch of three new designs — the CK4, CK5, and CK7 — based on the affordable C6 (also featured here), which made headline news earlier this year.  CK Series designs are available for the price of $145 per square foot, not including installation or foundation, which is quite reasonable considering what’s available: a LEED Platinum level environmental program, high-quality modular build, and modern design inspired by Ray Kappe, FAIA.

All CK4, CK5, and CK7 homes will be built by Cavco and available in most states.  The build takes about two months, and the installation can be done in a day, according to materials from LivingHomes.

The prefab homes will achieve most of the company’s Z6 Environmental Goals of Zero Energy, Zero Water, Zero Emissions, Zero Carbon, Zero Waste, and Zero Ignorance with things like: energy-efficient lighting and appliances, low-flow water fixtures, floor-to-ceiling glass, clerestory windows, light tubes, transom windows, sliding glass doors, cork floors, a wood ceiling, formaldehyde-free millwork, wood siding, real-time energy feedback, etc.

CK Series homes are available in several floor plans.  Generally, they range in size from 1,300 to 2,200 square feet and carry a price that starts from $200,000 – $320,000, depending on the model.

The first CK home has been sold and will be installed next year on a property in Bell Canyon, California.  It’s a CK7 model with two stories, three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and about 2,200 square feet.

[+] More about the new, low-cost CK Series by LivingHomes.

Credits: LivingHomes.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. LivingHomes Unveils Low-Cost C6 Prefab
  2. Low-Cost Prefabs Land in Santa Monica
  3. Prefab LivingHomes Complete in Los Altos

Go here to see the original: LivingHomes Intros Low-Cost CK Prefabs

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Connect Homes Innovates in Silicon Valley

Connect:Homes is a Los Angeles-based manufacturer of prefab homes founded by Jared Levy and Gordon Stott (formerly with Marmol Radziner) on a mission to reduce the delivery costs associated with modular construction and make sustainable homes more affordable. To make that happen, Levy and Stott spent the last three years designing, prototyping, and patenting a system to cost-effectively deliver prefab homes, and they put their awesome prototype on display at Dwell on Design 2012.

In summary, a large part of the solution is to size the modules to be transported by the intermodal shipping container network. All Connect:Homes, therefore, can be delivered virtually anywhere in the world by truck, rail, or ship.

But to be clear, these aren’t container homes, these are homes shipped on a framework designed for intermodal shipping containers.

Transportation can cost nearly $100,000 cross-country or $400,000 overseas for the typical prefab home, according to Connect:Homes, so designers and builders have been forced to use regional factories that may or may not offer a high-performance build or a desirable selection of finishes or materials.

Not satisfied with the high costs or other limitations, Levy said, “We asked ourselves if you can ship a shipping container full of 64,000 lbs of goods around the world for $5,000, why should it cost you so much to ship a house?Connect:Homes ships 90% completed modules and cuts delivery costs by up to 90% to deliver a more affordable home.

Shipping innovation isn’t the only advance that Connect:Homes aims to bring to factory-built housing. To avoid the cost of renting a 240-ton crane, which Levy said could be up to $15,000 per day, the company will use giant castors to roll modules into place. This is something that only applies to the ground-level modules, but like a skateboard, the home just rolls onto a finished foundation.

The company will test this installation method when sending the Connect:2.1 prototype to the Hillview Community Center, 97 Hillview Avenue, Los Altos, California, for the Dwell Silicon Valley Home Tour starting on November 3, 2012. Visit this page for more detail.

In terms of pricing, Connect:Homes start at $140 per square foot out of the factory and range to $165 per square foot delivered and installed, according to a company statement.

Connect:Homes come with house-wide LED lighting, floor-to-ceiling windows and doors, 100% recycled content glass countertops, in-wall dual-flush Duravit toilets, an insulation package to match any climate (standard of R21 walls, R30 floors, and R45 roof), and other materials that can contribute toward credits for LEED certification.

[+] More about Connect:Homes modular prefab from California.

Credits: Connect:Homes (#1-2); Bethany Nauert, West Elm (#3-4).

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Connect Homes to Reinvent Modular Prefab
  2. Cozy Connect:2 Prefab Wows California
  3. Blu Homes Prefab Unfolded in Joshua Tree

See more here: Connect Homes Innovates in Silicon Valley

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Rocio Romero Prefab Tour in Los Angeles

This is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom LV-model home by Rocio Romero in Los Angeles, California.  Originally built in 2008, the modern prefab will be the subject of an open house on November 3, 2012 (register here), and this is actually the first Rocio Romero open house in Los Angeles.  Bryce and Bianca’s LV Series home has solar panels, a water catchment system, French oak floors, a walnut kitchen, a Viking range, walnut furniture, and a deck that runs the length of the home creating canyon and skyline views.

[+] More about the Bryce and Brianca’s LV Home prefab.

Credits: Bryce Duffy courtesy of Rocio Romero.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Rocio Romero LV Prefab in Pope Valley
  2. A New Rocio Romero Prefab in California
  3. LV Series Prefab Home on Whidbey Island

Continue reading here: Rocio Romero Prefab Tour in Los Angeles

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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.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Blu Homes Prefab Unfolded in Joshua Tree
  2. Sunset Idea House Prefab in Healdsburg
  3. A Tech Approach to Green Prefab [Forbes]

View original post here: Disney House Prefab in Joshua Tree

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Rocio Romero LV Prefab in Pope Valley

If you’re in the Napa County and have an interest in modern prefab, an LV Home by Missouri-based Rocio Romero will be featured in open house public tours on September 22, 2012 (register here).  So you know, the LV model comes as a fabricated kit of parts — post and beam, exterior wall panels, faux wall panels, roof framing, select connectors, and siding material — and forms the shell of a home with two bedrooms, one bathroom, and about 1,344 square feet.  We’ve mentioned at least two LV homes in the past, one in Pacifica and another in Whidbey Island, and these homes generally get finished by a local contractor for $120 – $195 per square foot with the LV kit starting at $39,500.

[+] More about the LV model prefab home by Rocio Romero.

Credits: Karl Petzke. 

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. A New Rocio Romero Prefab in California
  2. A Cautionary Tale re: Prefab Home Kit
  3. Efficient Prefab Finished in Yucca Valley

See the article here: Rocio Romero LV Prefab in Pope Valley

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