Tiny Houseboat Gets the Tiny House Treatment

The tiny house movement continues to make big strides, but one group of people has already been putting clever thinking to use embiggening tiny spaces for years: houseboaters. Even so, some houseboat designs are clearly better than others, and that’s where this classy Hausbót comes in. Designed by Mjölk architects, this houseboat moored outside of Prague, in the Czech Republic makes use of a clean, modern aesthetic and large windows to create a feeling of openness in the otherwise tiny…

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Seattle’s NEXTHouse, by David Vandervort (Gallery)

Since we announced SunPower’s $16,000 December giveaway, we’ve gotten a few emails about the home pictured in the article. That’s the ultra-green NEXTHouse designed by David Vandervort- a 3 bed, 2.5 bath home and shop built in Seattle, Washington. Designed to be an supremely energy-efficient home, the NEXTHouse features a number of “green” technologies like roof-mounted home solar PV panels, spray polyurethane foam insulation, a high efficiency / low emissions gas condensing boiler for the radiant floor system, an air-to-air…

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Turning Old Beer Cans into a Shiny New Roof

Whether you’re building a backyard chicken coop or a DIY storage shed, you’ll want a roof that keeps your stuff out of the elements and that looks good, too. If you’re lucky, that new roof would even be made of something that was cheap and readily available. Even better: that new roof could be made of something that you’ve already bought and used, and that you were about to throw out. That’s where this great project, from an Instructables user…

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cdl treehouse largest vertical garden

CDL’s Treehouse is World’s Largest Vertical Garden

Earlier this year, CDL’s Treehouse condo project in Singapore set the official Guinness World Record for world’s largest vertical garden. The building’s green wall covers nearly 2300 sq. meters, and is expected to save the building’s residents more than $500,000 in heating and cooling bills each year. CDL’s Treehouse was completed in 2013, but the company’s project website makes it seem as if several of the apartments- in a pretty wide variety of floorplans, actually– are still available. So, if…

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US is Close to Building Net Zero Neighborhoods

Hidden in the suburbs of Sacramento, California, in an otherwise unremarkable subdivision, is the ZeroHouse. The ZeroHouse is special because, as its name suggests, it uses zero net energy from the region’s electrical grid, making it one of America’s first net zero homes– and it wasn’t significantly more expensive to build than the rest of the houses in the area, either! Built by homebuilder KB Homes, the 2600 sq. ft. ZeroHouse uses an advanced, grey water recycling system to save…

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garage turned into sleek home office

Old Garage Transformed into Ultra-modern Studio Office

When renowned furniture designer Hugo de Ruiter decided to turn his Eindhoven home’s old brick construction into a sleek, inspiring design studio, he turned to the architects at Architecten|en|en. It was a solid move, because what they came up with- a unique, metallic workspace called “Studio R-1”- makes full use of the existing structure while utterly transforming it visually and functionally. The architects extended the North-facing garage space “outward” using a metal-framed addition covered in a perforated metal skin that…

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Halloween Special: a Prefab Zombie Fortress

Happy Halloween, kids! It’s the one time of year when being excited about seeing zombies waddling down your street on a dimly lit and blustery night seems passably normal. For those of you who view zombies with horror, however, it may be well past time to start thinking about your home defenses- luckily, Tiger Log Cabins has you covered with a pre-fabricated, zombie proof cabin! It’s called the ZFC-1, and it comes with a garage to keep your bug out…

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Concept: Mine Transformed into Sustainable Underground City

A byproduct of fossil fuel addiction, massive pit-mines scar the landscape of several US states. The mines have destroyed families, ecosystems, towns, and- when they close- economies. Despite the harm that these mines have caused, however, they may yet play a part in a sustainable utopian future. Not as a mine, but as a vertical, underground, sustainable city. That’s the vision of Matthew Fromboluti the designer behind an “underground skyscraper” that he believes could help heal the mine-scarred landscapes of…

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Japan Has Plans to Build a Space Elevator (w/ Video)

Japanese construction firm, Obayashi, plans to build a soaring 96,000 meter elevator capable of transporting people and cargo into space at a fraction of the cost- and with only a fraction of the harmful emissions!- of current rocket flights. Really. Representatives from Obayashi claim that this science fiction-y idea is a possibility now, thanks to advances in solar efficiency and- more importantly- the development of the carbon nano-materials that make up the space elevator’s cables. “The tensile strength is almost…

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Italy Gets its First Passivhaus Certified School

The importance of energy efficiency has become gospel in many parts of the world- most notably in countries like Japan, which have committed to making all new public buildings passive and net zero energy structures from here on out. In the US, companies like Turner have said that the future of the commercial market is net zero, as well – and that attitude seems to be gaining steam in Europe, too, with the most recent addition to the Passivhaus fraternity…

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DC’s First Shipping Container Apts. Completed

America imports many more products than it exports, which means that- once they’ve been emptied out of their iPhones and Playstations- we have lots of extra shipping containers lying around. Recently, however, shipping containers have become one of architect’s “building blocks” of choice, with clever projects popping up all over the fringes of art and architecture. A new, four-unit apartment building in Washington DC, however, may take shipping containers from off-the-grid fringe projects to the mainstream – a first for…

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Professor Plans to Live in a 6×6 Dumpster for a Year

Originally published by Insteading. Environmental science professor Jeff Wilson believes that American homes have gotten way too big, and way too wasteful, giving people something they don’t need at a price that- often- they can’t afford. Wilson’s not “all talk”, either, and will spend the next year of his life living in a standard 6’x6′ commercial dumpster to prove his point. This dumpster, to be specific … … which, yeah. That’s a dumpster. Calling him “Professor Dumpster”, the Dumpster Project…

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Japan Net Zero Building

Japan Pushes for Net Zero Standard on New Buildings

With the rapid pace of advancement from energy efficient smart homes, to passive homes, to energy plus homes, the architecture and construction industries are leading the way in terms of building a sustainable future. Japan, however, is hoping to ensure that sustainable design doesn’t become a passing fad by pushing for all public buildings to be “net zero” (that is, “passive plus“) by the year 2020. Sandy Dechert, over at our sister site, Cleantechnica, has the story on the changing…

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amish barn raising

Have You Ever Seen an Amish Barn-Raising? (Video)

Ohio’s Amish population is known for shunning many modern conveniences, which may lead some people to think that they’re not very much in tune with “trends” like environmentalism — but they’d be wrong. The Amish are Faithful stewards of their land, and work together to make the most of their resources and their community, and nowhere is that more apparent than during a good, old-fashioned barn-raising! The red-painted Amish barn is an icon of American architecture, but very few Americans,…

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white roof savings

White Roof Saves $2.40/Sq. Ft. Over “Dark” Roof

In a first-of-its kind study published in the Energy and Buildings Journal earlier this year, a group of researchers compared the energy costs of buildings with white roofs against both trendy “green” roofs and conventional “black” roofs. The most shocking part of the study? White roofs saved- on average!- $2.40 per square foot over conventional roofs, and even out-performed green roofs, handily. “Owners concerned with global warming should choose white roofs,” says the study, “which are three times more effective…

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Tokyo Designer Presents Underground Bike Parking

With more and more commuters turning to bicycles in cities across the world, bike parking has become a critical component in any forward-looking urban planning discussions. Over in Japan, however, one company has come up with a solution that can accommodate hundreds of cyclists without taking up much space or creating an army of urban eyesores/sidewalk hogs made up of bright blue Citi/Divvy bikes. Their solution: put the bicycle parking underground. Giken’s innovative program was first announced back in 2009,…

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Passive House Hospital Design

Next Trend in Passive House Design: Passive Hospitals

Passive house design has gone from an emerging architectural trend to a firmly established movement that’s entrenched itself in the professional and public mind. Even so, most people – both industry experts and laypeople – take the term literally, and equate “passive house” with, you know, houses. The truth, meanwhile, is that the same principles that guide the design and construction of a passive house can also guide the design and construction of condominiums or, for example, hospitals. Over in…

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passive house condo brooklyn

New, Passive House Condo Going Up in Brooklyn

Built and designed by (certified passive house architect) Paul Castrucci, Architect, and Ray Sage of Race Age, Inc., the R-951 Residence currently going up in Brooklyn is the latest passive house project going up in the neighborhood. Unlike most, however, R-951 is a condo featuring 3 distinct family residences / units. The three unit walkup/condominium is being called “a unique project”, and features an ultra-efficient design built in concert with a net-metered, rooftop solar energy system. Those solar panels should…

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