Holland to Get Its Own Vertical Forest

Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale idea has really taken off. Now the city of Eindhoven, the Netherlands will get it’s own vertical forest tower.  Similar buildings have already been built in Paris, France and Lausanne, Switzerland. The tower in Holland will provide affordable inner-city social housing.

The so-called Trudo Vertical Forest will be 246 ft (75 m) tall and have 19 floors. The façade will feature 125 trees, 5,200 shrubs and more than 70 species of plants. These will help cleanse the air, improving its quality, as well as provide a pleasant environment to live in.

The basic design of this tower is different than the previous versions of Bosco Verticale.  The exterior is covered in concrete planters and terraces, which jut out from the sides.

The tower will feature 125 apartment units, intended for young people looking for an affordable place to live. Each apartment will have a balcony with one tree and 20 shrubs. The Stefano Boeri Architetti intends to prefabricate the sections needed to build this tower and then assemble them on site.

The project appears to still be in the planning stage at this time, and there is no information about when construction is set to begin, nor by when it will be finished. Although given the fact that this is a prefab building, it should be erected quickly.

Foldable Home Can Be Installed in a Day

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Prefab homes are a great solution when looking to build fast, and now there is another awesome option to do so on the market.  The Italian architect Renato Vidal has recently unveiled a prefab foldable home, which can be installed in less than a day. The so-called M.A.Di home comes flat-packed and is built using sustainable materials and means, but designed with durability in mind.  It can also withstand earthquakes.

The M.A.Di home is made of CLT (cross laminated timber) and manufactured by wood specialist Area Legno in Italy. It is available in several sizes, namely a 290-sq ft (27-sq m) tiny home, a slightly larger 495-sq ft (46-sq m) home, a 603-sq ft (56-sq m) home, a family sized 753-sq ft (70-sq m) home, or an even larger family home of 904-sq ft (84-sq m).  All the models have two levels and have a kitchen, dining area and bathroom located on the ground level, and bedrooms on the upper level. The homes feature an A frame structure, which makes it easy to fold them for flat-packing and easy transport to the build site.

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The home features a steel profile and steel hinges, meaning that each module can be opened and closed with ease.  When closed and folded, the height of the package is just 4.9 ft (1.5 m), while opened, it measures 21.3 ft (6.5 ft) in height. All of the M.A.Di modules have galvanized steel frames which are designed to support the home’s opening and closing movement. The homes are waterproofed using Polyurethane foam, which also provides the thermal insulation. In addition to this, the walls are insulated using high-density rockwool, while the windows can either be PVC or aluminum.

The actual installation is very simple, since each module just unfolds up.  The home doesn’t need a foundation, since it can be anchored in place with a specially-designed screw pile system, which has virtually no impact so this home has a very tiny footprint.   The home can also be built on a reinforced concrete foundation, if so desired.

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The home can be easily packed away, while it is possible to extend the existing home by adding new modules. It can also be designed according to passive house standards, while there is also the option of taking it off-the-grid by installing a solar power array, composting toilet, water tanks and a gray water system.

The price of this home is $933 (€800) per square meter, so the smallest home will cost about $25,195 (€21,600) and the largest $73,385 (€67,200).

Sustainable Solar-Powered Communities Built on Parking Lots

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The British architecture firm ZED Factory came up with a clever concept for a solar-powered home, which would be installed over existing parking lots to build sustainable communities and help combat the urban housing shortage. The idea behind it is to utilize the space taken up by parking lots, which is often quite large.

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Each ZED Pod, as this home is called (ZED stands for Zero fossil Energy Development) would have a floor space of 147 sq ft (13.64 sq m), but it would be a two-story home. The downstairs area would contain a living/dining space, kitchen and a bathroom, while the upstairs would house the bedroom and an office area. They would be installed over existing parking spaces on a metal frame, which would leave enough space for cars to park underneath it and be sturdy enough to support the tiny homes. The pods would be fully prefabricated in a factory then assembled on site. According to the company, one such ZED Pod community could be constructed in just a week, while it could also be disassembled and relocated with relative ease if the need arose.

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ZED factory envisions a whole community of such homes over a single parking lot, which would also feature a shared community space and an additional raised amenity area that could be used as an allotment.

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The ZED pods would be fitted with solar panels, a heat recovery ventilation system, a green roof, composting toilet, and a grey water recycling system, which means that they would be able to operate completely off-the-grid. The surplus of energy produced by the solar panels could also be used to charge electric cars.

The ZED Pod would cost around $85,931 (£60,000), which includes installation. They would rent them out for roughly $1,074 (£750) per month, which includes all the utility bills.

ZED factory is currently in talks with the Oxford City Council about securing space for testing a community of about 50 ZED Pods. Since they’re so eager to build this community they have offered to do so with no cost to the council. It will definitely be interested to follow this project if it goes ahead.

Net Zero Prefab That Can be Built in Just Three Days

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Unity Homes has recently unveiled a prefab home, which is sustainable yet still made to last for at least as long as traditionally constructed homes. The home has a number of certifications, including LEED v4 Platinum, while it is also net-zero energy and can be constructed on site in three days or less. It is also fitted with the largest number of Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certified building products used in a residential project to date.

This so-called Zūm model was built in collaboration with BUILDER magazine and the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. The demo home pictured above, which was exhibited at the 2015 Greenbuild event, was made in the company’s factory in New Hampshire in just five weeks. It measures 1,620-square-feet, and features two bedrooms and two bathrooms. On the Expo floor, the shell was built in a day and a half, and the rest, including the furnishings and additions took an extra two days.

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The home is insulated using GreenFiber Cel-Pak cellulose insulation, which is made of 85% recycled paper fibers. To create the home’s airtight envelope, which targets .6 ACH50, they used Huber Engineered Woods’ ZIP Systems wall and roofing panels. The home is also fitted with fully operable triple-glazed unplasticized PVC (uPVC) Intus windows. The home is equipped with a Zehnder ComfoSystems CA 200 heat recovery and ventilation system, which works to provide an uninterrupted flow of fresh air into the home.

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Furthermore, the home is fitted with SunPower solar panels, which are the only solar panels to have received C2C certification. They are made completely out of non-hazardous materials and come with an energy meter and app. This is only one of many C2C materials and products used to build the home.

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According to the company, they can build one of these homes in just 30 days yet they will be around for 300 years. They also use no fossil-fuels in the building process. Unity Homes wish to offer affordable as well as sustainable homes, so this prefab is priced at under $150 per square foot. This number could still drop to under $140 per square foot in 2016.

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Downsize in Style

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The motto of the company Tiny Heirloom Homes of Oregon is: “downsize, don’t down grade”. To meet this goal they offer a variety of ingenious tiny homes, which range from the basic to the more sophisticated. They also offer off-the-grid options, full customization, and smart home automation in partnership with Nest Labs. One of their goals is also to become the first luxury, custom tiny home manufacturer in the US.

The tiny homes they produce are fully customizable, while they all feature high-end flooring materials, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, a composting or incinerating toilet, a washer/dryer combo unit, a Dickinson p12000 heater, as well as wind turbines, solar panels, battery banks and so on. The basic model costs $75,000, with shipping included. Also included in the price are all the legal considerations, as well a as flight so you can visit the factory where your home is being built. I assume this is part of the “luxury” aspect that they are reaching for, though it might be better spent on some extra base level features.

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They will also soon release the so-called Tiny Heirloom Home Automation System, which controls lighting and temperature remotely, features voice activated hand locking, and offers auto-leveling jacks, tank level indication, and propane level readings and Bluetooth surround sound. This can all be run via an iPhone or Android app.

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The homes they make weigh from 8,000 to 18,000 pounds, which means they can be classified as travel trailers, and not park model RVs, which is the case with most other mobile tiny homes. This means that no permit to move them is required, while the company also claims that it is easier to get a loan from a bank for a travel trailer. These claims should be checked out by prospective buyers though, since they might not be the same in all states.

While these homes do bring some flair to tiny home living, and the fact that the customer can basically customize the whole thing according to their preferences, is a definite bonus. However, whether luxury and tiny home living are two words that can even be used together remains an open question.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:
Yet Another Quaint Tiny House
Shepherd Hut Style Off-The-Grid Home
Tiny Prefab Homes Worth Checking Out