Green Building Using Thin-Film Solar

This is the new Ballard Library in Seattle. It’s a state-of-the-art green building which makes use of a sod roof, daylighting, and translucent thin-film solar collectors from Schott. It is listed in the American Institute of Architecture’s top ten green buildings.

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Building Green: A Complete How-To Guide

This practical book is the first step-by-step green building guide we’ve seen. It is packed with photographs illustrating building techniques like Earth Plastering, Straw Bale Construction, Living Roofs, Cordwood Building and Cob Building. At over 600 pages, this hefty guide is useful for anyone wanting to see the nitty-gritty details of green building. The author’s web site is Think Building …

Metaefficient: Trombe Walls

Incorporating a Trombe Wall into a house is one of the most efficient ways to capture the heat of the sun. They work in the mildest to the most severe of climates. Basically, sunlight strikes the wall through a window, and the Trombe Wall heats up, causing warm air to flow into a room.

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iT House

Inhabitat reports on the iT House — a prefabricated housing system that uses glass and aluminum frames as its basis. Created by Bosch, the house is only 1000 square feet, and is designed to be constructed in 8 weeks. It makes use of radiant heat flooring and solar panels on the roof. Homeowners can customize many facets of the house …

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Modular Dwellings

Modular Dwellings makes these compact, modern rooms. They are designed to be easy to transport and quick to assemble. They were created by Edgar Blazona, who is based in San Francisco. The blueprints to one “shed” can be purchase from ReadyMade Magazine’s store for $35. It can be constructed from Plexiglas, steel, and prefinished plywood. The cost is about $1,500. …

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Why Prefab Homes Can Be Compelling

Living Box is a site that has a nice cross-section of prefabricated homes. The examples seen there are actually intended to inspire entries in a design competition. Prefab homes are appealing to us, due to their compact lightness and modern architecture. Another compelling factor should be the price, but designers have not full realized this goal — we aren’t seeing …

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A Modern, Green Modular Cabin: BlueSky Mod

This modern prefab cabin, called the BlueSky MOD, is one of a few examples of affordable green modular homes currently available today (see these books for more examples). It was designed by Todd Saunders, an architect born and trained in Canada and currently working in Norway. The company that sells the homes, also called BlueSky MOD, is run Hy Rosenberg …

Biopavers

We mentioned previously that using porous pavers is an effective alternative to paving with concrete. They make patios and driveways less erosion-prone and they do not get as hot as hard-surfaced pavement. Now a company called Biopaver is trying to take things a step further by introducing a new type of paver designed to catch storm water run-off but also …

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Earth Sheltered Houses

Earth sheltered houses make use of earth or “berms” for protection against the natural elements. These homes can be complete underground homes, or homes which are protected by earth on just one side. The major advantage of this style of building is that the house has a constant and comfortable temperature throughout the year, so it is much less expensive …

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Japanese Interiors: Minimalist: Adaptable: Renewable

Traditional Japanese houses are built with bamboo, paper, straw and other kinds of light weight wood, all of which are renewable. The houses are also made with components such as tatami mats, shoji screens and tansu cabinets. The components are fitted together without nails, and are often rearranged. For example, in the bedroom, futons are rolled up and stored away, …

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Transefficient: Porous Pavers

Porous pavers are permeable replacements for concrete or other hard surfaces. They reduce rain water runoff by 90% thus avoiding erosion. Less pollution reaches the waterways because the rain water penetrates the underlying ground more effectively. Permeable pavement is slightly different — it looks like concrete but is structured to be porous so that rain water seeps through it. See …

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Non-Toxic Adhesives, Caulks and Sealants

When building, adhesives are often overlooked and considered at the last minute. However, adhesives are often more toxic than the flooring and other products they are made to adhere. Most adhesives are still based on SB latex, which releases large quantities of toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The volatile solvents are used to emulsify (or liquefy) the resin that acts …