Green Home Innovations Are Springing Up in Unconventional Solutions


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With the building resources available today, as well as a struggling economy, it is no wonder that unconventional, sustainable and less expensive housing options are beginning to make a grand appearance. People are shifting their way of thinking from living in oversized, wooden frame boxes with vinyl siding, a pickup fence and four car driveway to things such as old industrial loft buildings, trailers and even shipping containers. It is all in the perception imagination to redesign these unconventional spaces into sustainable, green homes.

In the Boston area there is a new community called Forbes Park that takes sustainable living to the ultimate level of luxury. Built inside an abandoned printing facility from the 1800's, Forbes Park dubs their homes as Hybrid lofts because they garner over fifty percent of their energy from renewable resources. Most notably is their use of wind power from the turbine located right on the concessions and passive solar through the two walls of windows located at the end of each loft space. In addition, the structure features a rain water collection system for use in toilets, radiant floor heat, thermal-mass passive heating and cooling, low flow toilets, energy efficient appliances and the use of durable, natural materials lessening the need for replacement.

Sometimes there is a negative stigma attached to certain forms of housing, for example a trailer, but Charmaine Manley Design has taken this way of thinking and buried it so deeply beneeth bamboo flooring and paperstone countertops that the double wide trailer that she rennovated in Oregon has been photographed as a show home. The residence started out, as many trailers do, with chintzy carpet, paneled walls, aluminum windows and no character but through sound design principles it has been transformed into a comfortable and livable home. The home also boasts low to no VOC paint, repurposed antique furniture (as a bathroom vanity and closet solution), lighting borrowed from second hand stores, green kitchen cabinets and energy efficient windows and appliances. As a final nod to the planet all materials that were removed were either recycled or donated to various organizations.

A shipping container may not immediately be thought of as a viable option for a home but through conceptual innovation these small metal boxes can be transformed into some very modern housing and on a tighter budget than one might think. With a large surplus of such material simply taking up space at ship yards across the country it is possible to snag one of these containers for as little as $ 900. In 2006 Peter DeMaria of DeMaria Design Associates took the concept to the next level building a two story home in Redondo Beach, California from multiple containers. The home is inherently resistant to bugs, mold and fire and in a location such as this where construction to withstand earthquakes is a priority, it is comforting to note that a pre-fabricated metal box is actually indestructible.

As evidenced in this small sampling of homes, the opportunities are endless to create functional, comfortable and gorgeous, homes that go far beyond the typical standard of normal. Due to their creative innovation each of these homes display a keen attention to environmental awareness providing that irregular is just another word for exceptional.

Source by Jenn Flynn-Shon