The firm Sprout Tiny Homes will be building a 200 house community in Salida, Colorado. The houses will be available for rent, while there will also be a number of communal features such as a gym, a restaurant, and more. The tiny house community will be located on a 19-acre piece of land along the Arkansas River. Once completed it will be the largest tiny home community in the US, and the project recently got the go-ahead from the Salida city council.
Sprout Tiny Homes offers three versions of tiny houses, namely the Aspen, the Birch and the Man Cave model. They are built out of structural insulated panels (SIPs), while the interiors are made of chemical-free materials and finishes.
The Aspen features a comfy lounge area and a well-sized kitchen. It also has a large sleeping loft, which is accessible via a storage stair. The home can sleep up to 4 people. The bathroom is quite spacious too, and features a toilet, sink and shower. The Birch can sleep up to 2 people, and has no sleeping loft, meaning everything is on the ground level. It’s well-proportioned and can easily be a full time home. The Man Cave has more than 300 sq ft (27.9 sq m) of usable space, and features 2 sleeping lofts, a well-sized lounge and kitchen, and a bathroom.
All of these homes can be constructed either atop a trailer to make them mobile, or on a foundation. There is no word yet on which models will feature in the community.
The homes can be hooked up to the grid for power, water and plumbing, though they can also easily be made to run off the grid. One of the main aims of this project is to create additional affordable housing options in the city. About half of the units will be available for vacation rentals, while the rest are intended to be rented out on a permanent basis. The rents will be from $700 to $1450 per month with all the utilities included.
The firm Studio Lokal from Denmark has unveiled plans to build a very interesting tower in Copenhagen. It will be located on the site of a former produce market, and for this reason the architects incorporated spacious balconies into the design, where each of the residents will be able to grown their own fruits and veggies.
The building will be called Hanging Gardens, and it will be located in the historic area of Copenhagen called Carlsberg. In an effort to make sure the building blends in with the surrounding historic structures, some of the design elements were borrowed from nearby buildings, namely the Carlsberg Brewery.
The tower will rise to a height of 152 ft (46.4 m) and it will have a total floorspace of 102,257 sq ft (9,500 sq m). The building will feature 200 units, each with it’s own balcony, so all the residents will have their own small garden. The construction will be done using materials sourced locally as much as possible, while the tower will also feature a closed roof-top garden to effectively provide a sort of green roof for the structure. The roof garden and the surrounding areas will be accessible to residents.
The façade itself has an interesting design. The architects say that combined with the greenery grown on each balcony, this façade will make it easy to manage rainwater, as well as reduce solar heat gain in the apartments, and shield the balconies from wind.
To further encourage the residents to grow their own greens, there will be a farmers market on the ground floor of the building, where they will be able to sell, trade or buy produce. This is certainly a very nice and sustainable idea, and more architects should be thinking in this direction when designing new urban structures.
Construction if the Hanging Gardens will begin in April 2017.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) sent out call for proposals for renewable energy developers to build new projects for a clean energy program available to PG&E customers.
The sites are for PG&E’s Regional Renewable Choice program that will expand renewable energy access by enabling customers to work directly with developers of new renewable projects. Through the program, customers will have the option to work with developers and subscribe to the output from a new renewable project equaling between 25 and 100 percent of their electricity use. Participating customers will pay the developers for the new energy directly, and receive a bill credit from PG&E on their monthly energy statement.
“The Regional Renewable Choice program is part of our ongoing commitment to support the growth of solar and other renewable energy sources in California. This program enables our customers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their electricity usage and allows them to directly be a part of California’s clean energy future,” said PG&E Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions Aaron Johnson.
PG&E is seeking proposals from local renewable energy developers across Northern and Central California to build small- and mid-sized renewable projects ranging from 0.5 to 20 megawatts for the Regional Renewable Choice program. The energy for these new projects can be from renewable resources including but not limited to solar, wind or biomass.
This program offers renewable energy developers an opportunity to submit proposals starting April 26, 2017 through noon Pacific Time on May 26, 2017. Projects will be chosen through a competitive bidding process and are expected to be selected by August 2017. This request for offers calls for a development target of 150 megawatts of renewable resources.
Financial services group ORIX USA formed a partnership with IGS Solar (IGS), a turnkey commercial and residential solar provider. Together, ORIX and IGS will develop, acquire and operate a nationwide portfolio of commercial and industrial solar energy generation products across the United States.
Committed to growing its renewable energy business in the United States, ORIX has partnered with IGS to invest in an initial group of assets that includes 13 solar energy projects across seven states that are either in operation or currently under construction.
The two companies expect to continue to grow the portfolio, making additional investments in projects within the coming months.
“Together with IGS, we are well-positioned to rapidly expand our portfolio of renewable energy assets,” said Barry Gold, Managing Director and Head of ORIX Infrastructure and Renewable Energy. “ORIX has a long history of investing in a broad array of infrastructure assets—specifically renewable energy generation. Investing in solar projects is especially attractive given our ability to utilize both the tax and cash benefits directly. Being part of the ORIX Corporation group, we have substantial resources, capital and industry expertise to put behind infrastructure and renewable energy assets.”
Scott White, President and CEO of IGS, said, “Our alignment with ORIX fits closely with our long-term approach. We share the same culture of innovation, commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences and dedication to making solar accessible, particularly to organizations that haven’t previously been able to consider it due to the upfront costs.”
Germany, among other EU countries, is currently facing the problem of quickly finding adequate housing for refugees and asylum seekers that it has let across its borders. The modular houses, designed for this purpose by Architect and builder Werner Sobek, are a great example of the fact that refugee housing can be modern, affordable and comfortable. The units are called Aktivhaus, and a whole development of them has recently been completed in Winnenden, which is a town about 20 kilometers northeast of Stuttgart. It can accommodate 200 asylum seekers and functions just like real homes.
The development is comprised of 22 units, which were built with quality and durability in mind. The modules used to build these homes are prefabricated off-site, and arrive to the build site ready to be assembled. They’re made from larch wood, and the company claims they have a lifespan of 50 years. They are manufactured by the company AH-Aktiv-Haus.
These units will be used to house refugees, but that is not their sole purpose. The German region of Baden-Württemberg is in dire need of additional housing, and they estimate that they will need 40,000 apartments per year for the next few years. About 30,000 apartments will be needed by those granted asylum.
Each Aktivhaus is built according to the so-called Triple Zero sustainable building standard, which was developed by Werner Sobek. In a nutshell, a Triple Zero building is one which consumes no more energy than it generates from renewable sources (Zero Energy Building). Such a building also produces zero carbon emissions, or other harmful substances, which also makes it a Zero Emission Building. Furthermore, such a building can be completely reintegrated into the cycle of materials, making it a Zero Waste Building. In addition to that, it can also be connected into a network of other self-sufficient buildings, power generators, energy storage systems and energy consumers.
This is certainly a great example of eco-friendly building, and the result is a home that is modern, spacious and would be a pleasure to live in.