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Virtual Green Building Tour
by Sam Rubinoff
Here's a sampling of the types of innovative structures that might be part of this year's National Tour of Green Buildings. Just think of the time, gas, and wear and tear that you will save by touring via the pages of Green Living Journal.
1) Bright Built Barn
Project Location: Spruce Mountain Rockport Maine
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Price: under $200,000-
Points of Interest: The Bright Built house is one of seven LEED certified platinum buildings in New England. The house came 90% prefabricated by Bensonwood Homes. Super insulation and extreme Air Tight technology allows the house to function without a furnace, even in Maine! The outer perimeter of the house is lined with color changing LED lights that act as a mood ring to indicate energy consumption--Green the color of envy represents Net-Zero usage.
2) Tumbleweed Tiny House Company
Location: Santa Rosa California
Specs: Epu 89 square ft.
Price: Build it yourself $19,950. Ready made $42,997
Points of Interest: Epu, along with 5 other tiny house models sits on rolling chassis that can be towed anywhere. The Epu is designed to be a fulltime living space consisting of a porch, main room, kitchen, bathroom, sleeping loft and storage space, all crammed into its tiny energy efficient size. Heating can come from electric space heaters, solar panels or small wood stoves. Jay Schayfer, Tumbleweed's owner boasts that his tiny house costs him a mere $65 a year on utilities.
3) Shelter Kit Inc
Location: Tilton, NH
Specs: 875- 2500 ft 1-5 bedrooms
Points of Interest:Shelter-Kit Inc. are experts in efficient assembly and use of home building materials. Their homes are built and proportioned in four-foot increments in order to minimize construction waste. Home kits are delivered to sites with almost all materials pre-cut so no power tools are required and minimal waste is left afterwards. Owners can opt for Forest Stewardship Council certified lumber. In addition, plumbing and heating work is carefully placed in order to maximize efficiency. Their "Green-Kit" home can be customized to meet owner's needs and can be assembled by two people in 10-15 days.
4) BASF Home
Location: Paterson, New Jersey
Points of Interests: The BASF Near-Zero energy home represents the junction when green building meets the community's needs. Located in Paterson, one of New Jersey's largest and most economically challenged cities, the home was built for the St. Michael's Housing Corporation and will serve as a template for further green building education and housing development throughout the city. Their "building envelope" features insulated concrete forms and an ultra cool metal roof. Solar power is intergraded into the advanced HVAC system that uses radiant floor heating to warm the house. The home boasts a LEED Platinum certification.
5) Jewish Reconstuctionist Congregation
Location: Evanston, IL
Size: 31,600 sq ft
Points of Interest:
The Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue is among the first houses of worship to obtain a LEED Platinum certification in the country. The large contemporary styled building is sided in 14,000 board feet of recycled cypress wood. Inside, the sanctuary is designed to hold 500 people and features a heating system that focuses only on the lower seven feet of the building in the high ceiling room. The eternal light is solar powered and the handles for the Ark, which contains the torah scrolls is crafted from recycled wood from a pool cue factory. Mazel Tov!
6) Fossil Ridge High School
Location: Fort Collins Colorado
Size: 290,000 sq ft.
Points of Interest:
Designers for the Fossil Ridge High school were faced with the challenge of building an environmentally friendly school for 1,800 kids on a tight budget. They were able to obtain a LEED silver certification at the same cost of a conventional construction project. In addition, their energy bills are about one third less than other new schools in the area, saving them $11,500 annually. Classrooms are equipped with naturally harnessed light, which is proven to improve math and reading test scores and the low-flush toilets will insure milder swirlies.
7) Omega Center for Sustainable Living:
Location: Rhinebeck, NY
Size: 6,200 sq ft.
Points of Interest:
The Omega Center for Sustainable Living is regarded as one of the nations most well known schools for holistic studies, wellness and personal growth. Their new building is not only carbon neutral and LEED Platinum certified but is expected to achieve the world's first Living Building certification, which requires buildings to take into account eco-region characteristics, generation of all of energy with renewable resources, and the efficient treatment of all water. The building's 4,500 sq. ft greenhouse which contains the "Eco-machine", uses "a combination of plants, bacteria, algae, snails and fungi" to treat and recycle up to 52,000 gallons of wastewater daily.
8) Container House
Location: San Francisco, California
Size: 1350 sq ft. three bedroom
Points of Interest: Shipping containers, once an eyesore for port cities is now an asset for green builders and chic homeowners. This container house was built out of three forty-foot shipping containers. The doors were removed and used for a retaining wall on the property. Solar Tubes were used to capture day lighting.
9) Green Microgym
Location: Portland, Oregon
Points of Interest: The Green Microgym harnesses energy produced from treadmills and stationary bicycles and uses it to power its televisions and the rest of the facility. Additional power is supplied by solar panels. As it's name suggest, this gym is small, but the four-room building efficiently utilizes space and uses recycled materials whenever possible. A rewards program for power produced by treadmills makes this the most eco-friendly sweatshop ever!
Courtesy of The Palazzo
10. Palazzo Casino and Hotel
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Size: 3,000 rooms
Interesting Information: Las Vegas, one of the lavish and unsustainable places in America is now home to the largest LEED certified building in the world. This monstrosity was built with recycled steel and concrete. The plumbing uses 37% less water than conventional buildings its size, which is the equivalent of providing each Nevada citizen with 266 eight-ounce glasses of water a year. The pool's heater is powered by solar panels; however Wayne Newton's face is still made of fossil fuels.
Sam Rubinoff is a recent graduate of the University of Vermont and is interested in writing, traveling, and green building.
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