University of Wyoming’s Biodiversity Institute Achieves LEED Gold Status

berry center 1

The University of Wyoming’s Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center has been awarded LEED Gold certification for a variety of sustainable building features.

The university is home to Laramie’s only living roof, and is known for sustainable features including locally sourced building materials, native or adapted landscape vegetation, natural air ventilation, and building exhaust energy recovery.

The Berry Center is a 44,000 square foot building located in the northwest corner of campus, housing multiple groups and individuals that study animals, plants, and other organisms. The space contains laboratories, archive facilities, four classrooms, and office space for faculty and grad students.

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“It’s fitting that a bunch of scientists interested in biodiversity conservation should work inside a green building, because sustainable building practices support our goal,” says Dorothy Tuthill, building administrator and associate director of the Biodiversity Institute. “We use the Berry Center as a teaching tool. We can show that green building features not only reduce human impacts on the natural world, but that the outdoor space, including our native-prairie green roof, can actually enhance biodiversity in an urban environment.”

A few notable sustainability features include racks to hold 140 bicycles, low-flow showers in changing facilities, low-emitting wood, paints, carpets, adhesives, and sealants, vast use of natural daylight, low-flow faucets and toilets, and the 3,600 square foot green roof.

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Eco Cottages Offers Smart, Energy Efficient Cabins and Guest Homes

Since 1959, Nationwide Homes has been building Eco-Cottages in 14 states along the southeast part of the U.S. The simple modular designs range from 250 to 513 square feet, with one bathroom in each design and up to one separate bedroom in the larger cottages. The pre-fabricated designs offer a sustainable option for hunting cabins, private guest houses, or separate work studios located right outside your home.

Some of the standard eco features include a tankless hot water system, LP Smart Siding, HD laminate countertops, and a PEX Supply plumbing system. A few of the personalized eco features include hardwood, laminate, or bamboo flooring at $7.00 – $7.25 per square foot, flood lights for added security at $44 each, a total home protection system with generator backup for $8,000 – $9,000, thin-film solar installation, Glass Tech windows, and a Bose audio system if you plan to use the space for guests or entertainment.

The compact, minimalist design offers plenty of natural light, making it a great space in all environments that is self-sustaining, aesthetically pleasing, and cost-efficient.

If you’re interested in an Eco-Cottage, you can find more information on how to get started at, or by contacting the company directly at 1-800-216-7001.

Images via

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Striking Modscape Prefab Point Leo Australia

Australian Modscape Prefab By The Sea at Point Leo

Australian Modscape Prefab By The Sea at Point Leo

Combining exceptional contemporary design with superior functionality, this two-
story modular prefabricated home is a striking addition to the seaside township of
Point Leo in Victoria, Australia.

Designed and constructed by Melbourne-based Modscape using seven modules, the
house comprises 1162.5 square feet of internal entertaining area, 624 square feet
of external entertaining space and 1205.6 square feet of accommodation, including
five bedrooms on the upper level. A feature of the house is a Corian kitchen bench
that continues out onto the exterior decking and incorporates a barbecue to create an
indoor/outdoor kitchen for year-round entertaining.

Externally, the house is clad in dark-stained Pacific teak plantation timber and rough
sawn Shadowclad, giving an affinity with its natural seaside environment.

All Modscape homes are based on sustainable design principles aimed at minimizing
environmental impact, maximizing year-round comfort and reducing running costs.
The upscale Point Leo house cost $AU681,000 with a build time of just 12 weeks.

The house is orientated to optimize passive heating and cooling and capture sea
breezes for natural ventilation. It incorporates high thermal insulation, double glazed
windows, a solar hot water service, 3+ star-rated water efficient fixtures and fittings,
rainwater collection for potable use, greywater recycling for toilets and irrigation and
drought-resistant landscaping.

Australian Modscape Prefab Kitchen Area

Australian Modscape Prefab Kitchen Area

All Modscape homes are constructed using fully welded steel frame modules
with structurally insulated panels. Modules can be arranged to create almost any
configuration of spaces and can be made to any size to suit the client’s site and
design. Homes are fabricated to completion prior to leaving the company’s Melbourne
factory, reducing site waste and environmental impact. All materials incorporated
are selected for sustainability, low embodied energy and minimal greenhouse gas

Modscape are located at 430 Francis Street, Brooklyn, Victoria. For more information
visit Modscape

Australian Modscape Prefab

Australian Modscape Prefab Living Area

Modscape Bedroom

Modscape Bedroom

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Minibox is a Prefab Tiny House by Ideabox

Oregon-based Ideabox, the company behind Aktiv with IKEA Portland, recently shared news of an expanded endeavor called Minibox.  Minibox is actually a series of “minihomes” built to RV and park model codes.  The tiny-house series has designs ranging from a 200 square-foot studio to a 320 square-foot one-bedroom/one-bath cottage.  And you can bet Ideabox will continue to plug all the green stuff inside.  Pricing for the non-wheel version starts at $42,500.

[+] More about energy-efficient tiny house Miniboxes by Ideabox.

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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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Doe Bay Cottage Prefab on Orcas Island

Speaking of the Cottage Series, here’s the first prefab home in this line by Method Homes with a design by Studio 29. Located on Orcas Island, the home was designed for a Washington family wanting a vacation getaway with some of the more traditional details — sleeping loft, breakfast nook, window seats, etc — typically found in classic homes of the 19th century.

This prefab house has bamboo flooring, hydronic radiant heating, solar thermal collectors, and a solar PV system, to name a few of the “green” features.

The home is a custom version of Plan 1 in the Cottage Series and consists of two bedrooms, two sleeping lofts, and two bathrooms in about 1,484 square feet. There’s also a detached ADU used as a boat house.

Method Homes sells Plan 1 from about $222,600 for the Standard and $326,480 for the Designer version. Features include a generous covered porch, deck, upstairs balcony, and fine Craftsman detailing throughout.

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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. 

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VOLKsHouse is a Passive House in Santa Fe

This is VOLKsHouse, and it’s a prototype for an affordable, net-zero energy family home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In terms of achievements, the home carries an Emerald rating from NAHB and is also the first certified Passive House on the New Mexico market. The project was developed by investor Bob Schneck, Certified Passive House Consultant Jonah Stanford and architect Vahid Mojarrab, all with MoSA Architects, as part of a Passive House Initiative which includes a linked home and office condo called the Balance House.

VOLKsHouse has 2

CaliMini Solo Prefab at Dwell on Design

HMK Prefab Homes, in conjunction with Sustain Design Studios, debuted a new miniHome design called the CaliMini Solo 1 at the recent Dwell on Design conference in Los Angeles.  The pictures and exterior staging don’t appear to do justice to the ever-popular miniHome, but the below video of the Solo provides a better impression, I think.  This design, like others from Sustain, is built on a structural steel chassis and includes a 616-square-foot interior, 140-square-foot loft, and a 140-square-foot deck.

The chassis is combined with an engineered lumber frame, so, to be clear, we’re talking about what’s considered a manufactured home in the United States.

CaliMini is offered with Energy Star appliances, Marvin Integrity windows, HardiePanel and western red cedar siding, a Proseal cool roof, a non-PVC and lead-free plumbing system, Ecobatt insulation (R22 floor, R19 walls, R38 roof), Baltic Birch ply walls and ceiling, cork floors, available LED and CFL lighting, and low-flow fixtures.

HMK Prefab Homes has partnered with Sustain, according to a company statement, to provide several versions and floor plans of the miniHome. In addition, the showcase home on display at Dwell on Design is available for immediate sale.

[+] More about the CaliSolo from HMK Prefab Homes.

Photo credits: HMK Prefab Homes.

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Timber Frame Cabin Built on a Waterfront

It’s been a couple years since we last checked in on the work of Seattle-based FabCab, a company that makes prefab and kit-built, eco-friendly homes and accessory dwelling units.  Short for “fabulous cabin,” FabCab has several timber-frame houses under construction in Washington and recently shared photos of this two-level cabin on Camano Island.  It has a timber frame, SIP panels, and a soaring water-front wall of windows.

FabCab frames are CNC milled with douglas fir in a factory and labeled for assembly.  Once the timber frame is assembled, dual-pane windows and pre-cut structural insulated panels are installed (R24 walls, R40 roof).  The roof is a 24-gauge, standing steam metal.

Inside the home, FabCab assembles a package of Energy Star appliances, bamboo flooring, water-saving fixtures, non-slip cork tile bathroom flooring, recycled-content countertops, and telescoping pocket doors, etc.  The result is an open plan with high ceilings and ample natural light.

FabCab has home designs from about 550 square feet to 1,400 square feet, not counting custom projects, and pricing from about $95,000 through $172,000, respectively, not including delivery, permitting, site prep, foundation, or contractor assembly.  The construction phase generally takes less than three months.

[+] More photos of this timber-frame Fabcab on Camano Island.

Credits: Fabcab. 

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