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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Energy Efficient Windows with Marvin

Over the years I’ve tried to fill in our coverage with more substantive, or how-to, information on topics relating to sustainable homes.  One topic that I’ve been itching to cover is energy-efficient windows, and I’m happy to announce that Minnesota-based Marvin Windows and Doors has agreed to share their expertise with Jetson Green for a series of articles loosely titled “Energy-Efficient Windows 101.”

Before jumping into this new series, I think it makes sense to introduce Marvin because I’m writing these articles based on information, research, photos, and videos that the company is sharing with us.

Marvin, as you may know, started in the lumber business in the early 1900s and gradually moved into making windows when trying to keep employees busy during the slower months of winter.  Now the company is a recognized leader in the window industry and retains its family roots with management made up of third and fourth generation members of the Marvin family.

The company makes windows to order with an extensive offering of clad colors, wood options, and hardware.  For more discerning customers, Marvin can make entirely custom window products and has more than 150,000 options for meeting or exceeding Energy Star requirements.  In short, this is a company that can focus on both design and energy efficiency.

If you have any window questions, leave a comment below.  The first article you’ll see relates to reading the rating label that’s placed on windows.

Photo courtesy: Marvin (picture of Leicester House in North Carolina with a custom configuration of Marvin Ultimate Awning Windows, Ultimate Casement Windows, and the Ultimate Swinging French Doors; copyright Daniel Levin Photography).

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How to Remodel with Reclaimed Wood Floor

Reclaimed wood is a growing category of floor covering, and that is good news both for consumers and for the environment.  Because of the popularity of reclaimed wood flooring, there are more and more affordable choices than ever.  Sourcing just the right material for your home is still a little more work than buying off the shelf at your local flooring store, but armed with some basic information before you start talking to suppliers will make finding your perfect floor much easier.  Not all suppliers are created equal, either.  In most cases it is worthwhile to do due-diligence to make sure the company is reliable, established and has consistent stock before you fall in love with a particular style.

As you consider reclaimed wood flooring and a supplier for your project, I hope you’ll refer to these articles for reference.  Here’s how to remodel with reclaimed wood flooring:

Step 1:  Understand the Benefits of Reclaimed Wood Flooring.
Step 2:  Select a Wood Type, Milling, and Finish for Any Style.
Step 3:  Keep Key Wood Trends in Mind When Deciding on Style.
Step 4:  Understand How to Source the Choicest Reclaimed Wood.
Step 5:  Choose and Install the Right Finish to Suit Your Needs.

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Blu Homes Prefab Unfolded in Joshua Tree

Not to be outdone by Blue Sky, itHouse, or Siegal, California-based prefab company Blu Homes has a new home that will be open this weekend in Joshua Tree.  This one was finished for Tim Disney, the great-nephew of Walt Disney and a board member and investor in Blu Homes, according to the Los Angeles Times

The prominent shaded decks remind me of The Solar Homestead, which was People’s Choice for a reason at the Solar Decathlon 2011. Extensive shading is a must I imagine in this desert location.

The green prefab is a “compound of Origin modules,” which are pre-designed modules by Blu Homes that start in price at $135,000 each in California. The Origin model, you may recall, was used for the co-founder’s studio.

For those you that can’t make it out to Joshua Tree for tours September 15-16, 10 am – 5 pm — register here, by the way — you can see a photo gallery of the home at the LA Times.

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June Month in Review [Outline]

Below is a general outline of our coverage from June. In terms of our new articles, the most popular were these — hemp homes video, Sweet Pea houseboat, Connect:2 Prefab, and the Vail Residence — a good indicator of what resonates with readers. Also, as you know, we’re interested in learning about inventive green homes and new green products around the USA. If you have news for, send us a tip.

Innovative Prefab & Home 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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Ivory Dream is an Eco-Friendly Mosaic

Italy-based Benetti Stone Philosophy makes a beautiful mosaic surface called Ivory Dream, which is made from vegetable ivory.  In this case, the vegetable ivory — which was used to make buttons before plastic became popular — comes from the seed of an Amazon palm tree called Tagua.  The seed is hand-harvested without causing any damage and is then cut and supplied for use as a floor, covering, or other surface mosaic.

Ivory Dream is available “light” or “toasted” and can be backlit, too. It’s light as wood but hard as stone, according to Benetti.

The eco-friendly material is available in the United States through Opustone. In terms of pricing, you’ll have to check with Opustone, but I’m given a price range from Benetti that puts Ivory Dream at about 300 – 350 euros per square meter, which I calculated to be roughly $37 – $44 per square foot.

[+] Visit Benetti Stone Philosophy to see their products.

Credits: Benetti Stone Philosophy.

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LivingHomes Unveils Low-Cost C6 Prefab

This is C6, the first low-cost LivingHome and the only “Zero Energy, Zero Carbon production home ever to feature a LEED Platinum level environmental program and Cradle-to-Cradle inspired materials,” according to California-based green prefab company, LivingHomes.  It was designed by LivingHomes in collaboration with Make It Right, which was founded by Brad Pitt and Bill McDonough, and will open for tours this month in Long Beach and Palm Springs, California.

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.

C6 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.

Together, the products and design facilitate a California-style, indoor-outdoor experience that makes a total 1,232 square feet feel a lot bigger than it is.

The three-bedroom, two-bath C6 sells complete for $179,000, 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: Izumi Tanaka. 

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Green Button Has a New Site to Connect

The Green Button Initiative is gaining traction with the launch of Green Button Connect, a web portal launched by energy-focused software developer, Tendril.  One side of the site serves consumers who can upload their green button data and try out different applications to make sense of it. The other side of the site serves developers who want to develop applications for these consumers to use.

The voluntary Green Button Initiative, launched in 2011 by then-U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra, asks utility companies to standardize consumer energy consumption data, and to make that data file available to each utility customer.

Consumer should have access to their own energy usage information,” Chopra said at the initiative’s launch.  So far, about 10 million utility customers in California have that access, and utilities in Texas and Maryland have publicly committed to the initiative.

However, “Data by itself is not going to liberate consumers,” says Kent Dickson, Chief Technology Officer at Tendril.

We need developers to give consumers tools for using the data, and we need to give consumers choices in which applications make sense for them.  Green Button Connect is the common place for developers and consumers to go to work on making that happen.

Green Button Connect currently features two apps for consumers to use in making sense of their home energy use.  Simple Energy takes an interactive gaming approach.  The application says it “enables people to become more engaged with their own energy consumption by comparing their use with friends and neighbors on social platforms where they’re already spending time: Facebook, email and mobile apps.

Green Carrot is one of 50 apps in development that will use Green Button data.

Tendril’s own application, Energy Insight, presents energy use data in easy-to-read charts that can be displayed in hourly, daily, monthly intervals, and those charts can be easily updated and sorted.

But clearly there is momentum behind the initiative.  In late January, Tendril hosted an event in New York where, in 24 hours, teams of programmers jammed out prototype apps to use Green Button Data for home energy monitoring and analysis.  Some 240 application developers have registered to use the Tendril platform through Green Button Connect, and at least 50 applications are in active development, according to Dickson.

Currently, the Green Button Initiative is focused on getting home energy use data to consumers in a useable form, but future developments hold even more promise.  For example, applications are expected to come online that will suggest conservation actions based on usage data, and even make some simple decisions for you.  Tendril is currently in a partnership with BMW in a project to allow home energy management systems to optimize the recharging of BMW’s forthcoming ActiveE electric vehicle. helps developers create apps for consumers to use in monitoring and managing home energy consumption.

[+] Visit the app gallery on Green Button Connect.

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