Author Archives: Susan Kraemer

Simple Tech = Common Sense Design

June 17th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

This is design that respects the users time. There's no need for a 30 page manual in 12 languages to do 3001 pointless things with this gizmo that you don't have time to do anyway. It's simple. Technology does not have to be a time sink

Buffalo House to Weather Rainstorms in Kansas

June 9th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

We are seeing more climate conscious design in architecture: In this case; the rain screen. A skin over the house is designed to manage and harvest occasional heavy precipitation, to provide protection from premature decay from moisture intrusion

A Steel Prefab Treads Lightly on a Desert Floor

June 4th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

Steel is just about the most recyclable building material on earth. You could be well reading this in an office building built with steel originally smelted from iron in Julius Caesars day. So it makes good green sense to build eco prefab houses with steel

Zero Energy Houses Creating a New Design Vernacular:

June 3rd, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

The traditional gabled roof that we are all familiar with was engineered to slough off snowfall. But in an uncertain post peak oil future of possible energy shortages and water shortages, more and more houses are showing up with roof-shapes engineered to harvest their own rainwater, and support solar power generation

Lyrical Home for a Music Lover Evokes Forest Songs

June 2nd, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

Literally, a home for a treehugger. The musician client wanted a house that not only became part of the natural landscape but also suggested the flow of music. It is on a steep sloping grade which made it possible to set the main level of the house up into the tree canopy to evoke the feeling of being in a tree house.

Umbrella Design Harvests Desert Moisture for Childrens’ Hospital

May 27th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

This cooling effect is a bonus in addition to gathering rainwater or overnight dew for water use. In VisionDivision's prototype, the umbrella element will funnel the cool water to a central holding tank to supply the hospital with clean water. The hospital rooms are gathered in clusters around the tank to benefit from the cooling effect of the water

As Safe As Houses

March 26th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

Remember when we had the idea that investing in a house was a safe bet? It was such a commonplace idea that this would generate a return on the investment, that it became a cliche: "As safe as houses". Now, despite our real estate values dropping like a stone, there is still part of your house that you can use to generate a certain return yearly. That is that abundant farmland that you have on your

Consider A New Measure of Carbon Footprint

March 6th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

We know cars are responsible for carbon emissions. So we are used to sneering at hoggy cars that wastefully emit so many tons of carbon per year. But this week; doing a pre solar (thermal) efficiency analysis for an apartment complex - I noticed a surprisingly huge source of wasted energy that has thus far escaped notice and ridicule (well, mine, anyway) and that is

Berkeley’s Homeless Build Paleolithic Barbecue Pit

February 28th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

The homeless already know the fragility of life. Like bulldozers waking you in the night, at any moment everything can change. By contrast this earthsheltered barbecue pit they created at Bums Paradise will likely survive for millennia.

How to Design a Cold and Moldy Home

January 25th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

Sunshine warms homes for free. That's socialism. Real men use fossil fuel for the daunting task of warming up a frigid family. There's no free lunch. Tough sh*t

Wildfire-Proof Prefab Camp Closes Up When You’re Gone

November 16th, 2008 | by Susan Kraemer

If you live in dangerous drought conditions, wildfires are a worry. So imagine a campsite dwelling designed so that you can easily just close it up entirely, completely concealed inside a fireproof sheath, whenever you are away. It is perfect for sites like this isolated area of drought-ridden Australia

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