Solar Homes

October 1, 2012

Solar Decathlon 2013 to Land in CA

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While the Solar Decathlon 2011 wrapped up in September in Washington, D.C., the next one hits Orange County Great Park, Irvine, CA from Oct. 3 - 10, 2013. This biennial competition allows 112 college teams to create cost effective, energy efficient homes. If you live in the area or plan to visit you can tour the homes and pick up some do-it-yourself tips.

Europe and China also have their own decathlons.The image is last year's overall winner from the University of Maryland.

Via Solar Decathlon

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February 20, 2012

Bauhaus Barge - Solar Living on the Water

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For water lovers and those with small budgets, living on a boat can be a fine option. This Dutch Bauhaus is located in London and runs solely on solar power. The barge is 15.4 meters in length, 3.66 x 14m inside and has a lounge/kitchen area, 2 cabins and bathroom. It features a 1.7kw PV system and electric motor that, when at rest, can be used for powering up appliances and other gadgets. Best of all, no nasty gas smell or messy repairs to keep the vessel going. We want one!

Via Bauhaus Barge

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October 10, 2011

Inexpensive Hobbit Home

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It's nice in this hectic day and age to find someone like Simon Dale, a throwback to the 70's attitude of staying real, mellowing out and living in harmony with the planet with a Hobbitish home. Not a skilled architect or builder, he, his dad-in-law and friends and passersby created this house in West Wales for about £3,000 (~$4621.00,) in less than 1,500 hours.

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Built with local, natural materials like scrap wood, stone, straw and mud, there is a woodburner for heating, a skylight for natural lighting, solar panels for power and a compost toilet. For things like windows, wiring, etc., he says "anything you could possibly want is in a rubbish pile somewhere."

The best is yet to come. Dale is now building his second eco-house as part of a project in Wales backed by the Lammas Organization, who are struggling to build an eco-village despite the hassle of paperwork and proper permits. (Bummer, man.) You can give them a donation or, even better, volunteer your time and energy into assisting the communal project. Hang on Simon, we're comin' to Wales.

Via Simon Dale

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June 6, 2011

Japan Building Smart Town Despite Troubles

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As Japan continues to move forward in their cleanup efforts, Panasonic, partnering with 6 other companies, is building a clean tech replacement neighborhood. Consisting of 1,000 houses on 47 acres, the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town will have solar panels on every roof that will provide power for the homes and store the unused in storage batteries for, you guessed it, electric cars. There will be sensors everywhere to control public lighting via smart grid and lots of greenery with parks and main road vegetation. Hopefully residents can start moving in by March 2014.

Via Panasonic

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January 3, 2011

Solar Powered Earthship Built in Haiti

We first saw the efficient Earthship on 'Nightline'. We were quite impressed with architect Michael Reynolds' vision and ability to make passive housing out of old tires, trashed appliances and plastic bottles. Although it takes an up front investment to make one for yourself, the result is a home that only costs $100.00 a year to run, and that's just for the propane for the stove.

The whole idea, says Reynolds, is to create a machine. Steel, cement, solar panels, recycled materials and a lot of sweat and tears makes one of these Earthships. But what really got to us is what he accomplished in 4 days in Haiti, where it seems that the people have been forgotten and many funds have gotten lost in a bureaucratic nightmare.

After collecting $7,000 and adding $3,000 of his own, he and his team built a small shelter there with Haitians doing most of the work. He plans to go back and build more Earthships this year, so if you have felt the need to do something for Haiti, volunteer, donate and pass the word.

Via Earthship

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October 11, 2010

Solar Panels to Be Added to White House Roof

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As part of Prez Obama's push to make the White House Residence greener, there will soon be solar panels on the roof. The Department of Energy announced last week that a solar water heater will also be installed as a way of not only leading by example, but also as a way of getting the word out to the public. As we mentioned previously, Jimmy Carter originally had the idea, only to have them removed by Ronald Reagan when he took office.

Viia DOE

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September 27, 2010

Elite Preserve Community Offers Solar Option Homes

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SunRun, a major player in the home solar market, and builders Toll Brothers, recently cut the ribbon on their new Preserve community, located in Vista Del Verde, Yorba Linda, CA. While we are not all that crazy about the name if someone who is retired wants to move there, we are jazzed that one of the options is to sign up for solar power for $0.00, as opposed to investing up to $30,000 for a system.

The service will run about $42.00 a month, which should lower power bills by $50 - $100 per month, depending on how much is used. It is no surprise that of those who have already purchased a home, 90% have opted for the solar deal. The panels have been integrated into roof tiles on the residences.

There are several models to choose from in the upscale community that has access to the Black Gold Golf Club, two parks, and walking and equestrian trails. Housing is priced at around $600,000 for 2,160 - 2,450 sq. ft. for up to 4 bedrooms that also features energy-saving devices like tankless water heaters with on demand hot water, dual pane low E Max Glass and Energy Star Appliances.

(Thanks, Kelley)

Via Vista Del Verde

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April 28, 2010

Last Resort - This Ain't Your Grandma's Houseboat

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Copenhagen's RAFFA Architecture & Designs have come up with the Last Resort, a solar-powered home that floats on water. A glorified houseboat, its solar array powers both the engine and the home itself. At a size of 5 x 15 meters, it has two decks and is large enough to have a living room, 2 bedrooms, kitchen and bath. Although still only at the design stage, the company has already gotten several orders for it. We so want one.

Via RAFFA

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April 16, 2010

Sunflower House Enters Solar Decathalon 2010

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Tianjin University students have built the eco-friendly Sunflower house. Obviously, it gets its energy from the sun and features an energy efficient kitchen and recycling toilet system. The team plans to enter the home into the Solar Decathalon 2010 in Madrid this June.

Via Xinhuanet

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March 25, 2010

Birchway's Aesthetically Pleasing Eco-Community

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The Birchway Eco-Community was built in the London Borough of Hillingdon. Twenty four affordable 1 and 2 bedroom curvy housing units are available. The homes were pre-fabbed and already had kitchens and bathrooms installed. Designed by Acanthus LW Architects for Paradigm Housing, they feature solar thermal and panels, rainwater capture, high insulation, passive ventilation, heat recovery and a biomass boiler for heat and hot water.

Via Birchway

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March 23, 2010

Site O' the Week: Design Your Own weeHouse

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Looking for a greener prefab? Alchemy Architects' weeHouses come in many shapes and sizes and start at a price of $48,000 for the 20 x 12 x 10' Studio model. The features a custom steel base, an IKEA kitchen wall, natural bamboo flooring, electric wiring set-up, insulated walls, cedar decking and an EPDM rubber roof. There are more floor plans and other options that include solar power and larger living spaces. With so much to choose from, we name Alchemy our SOW this week.

Via weeHouse

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March 12, 2010

Site O' the Week: Ma Modular

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Ma Modular uses 15 x 36 ft. and 15 x 60 ft. modules in combination with a connector module to create your dream home. Our SOW this week allows you to design your Ma home with green materials such as cork and bamboo. Green options include photovoltaic panels, geothermal HVAC, tankless water heating and a rainwater harvesting system. At $125 a square ft., you have to provide your own foundation.

Via Ma Modular

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March 8, 2010

OC's First LEED Platinum Certified Home

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Developer Steve Blanchard built the Costa Mesa Green Home in the OC, the first to receive LEED Platinum certification. The home is a huge 5,000 sq. ft., and has 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms and a three-car garage. It has enough photovoltaic panels to power up the entire home, and has water recycling, high efficiency HVAC equipment, Energy Star lighting and was built with highly insulated walls and windows. Don't get too excited. The purchase price of the Costa Mesa home is $2,999,000.

Via Costa Mesa Green

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March 2, 2010

Home of the Future Debuts at Olympics

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During last week's Olympics, the Home of the Future was put on display at the BC Hydro Power Smart Village in downtown Vancouver. Made of 2 shipping containers and covered in cedar and pine beetle wood, the 680 sq. ft. home has solar panels and a plug for the owner's electric car, of course. The home has smart appliances and an energy management system. A green wall acts as insulation, filters pollutants and can grow veggies for dinner.

Via BC Hydro

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