New DVD About Building Green Homes

Green home building in all its forms is metaefficient. There’s a new DVD out with some practical advice for green building, called Building With Awareness: The Construction of a Hybrid Home. It is a how-to video on building one home, from start to finish, that uses sustainable materials, generates its own electricity, collects rainwater in a cistern, is passively solar …

Biopavers

We mentioned previously that using porous pavers is an effective alternative to paving with concrete. They make patios and driveways less erosion-prone and they do not get as hot as hard-surfaced pavement. Now a company called Biopaver is trying to take things a step further by introducing a new type of paver designed to catch storm water run-off but also …

Earth Sheltered Houses

Earth sheltered houses make use of earth or “berms” for protection against the natural elements. These homes can be complete underground homes, or homes which are protected by earth on just one side. The major advantage of this style of building is that the house has a constant and comfortable temperature throughout the year, so it is much less expensive …

“Green Building Products” Released

BuildingGreen has recently released the GreenSpec Directory of environmentally preferable building products and materials. It includes more than 1,850 listings that designers, builders and building owners can use in identifying products to improve the environmental performance of their buildings. This increased availability of a diverse range of such products and building materials is helping architects and engineers to take green …

New Solar Tiles Introduced

Kyocera has introduced a new solar roof tile. The solar tile is designed so that it blends in with standard roof tiles. These are not the first solar tiles on the market (see this previous post), but it is the first time a large corporation has introduced them. Kyocera calls the solar tiles “MyGen Meridian”. The company says the tiles …

Book Review: The Beauty of Straw Bale Homes

Straw bales are a renewable resource, and they are becoming a widely used construction material in some parts of the U.S. Many localities have specific codes for strawbale construction, and some banks are willing to lend on this technique. Bale walls can be erected quickly, even by amatuer builders. This book, The Beauty of Straw Bale Homes, is lavishly illustrated, …

Book Review: Earthbag Building

What is Earthbag Building? Well, plainly enough, it’s a method of building using bags filled with earth. This newly released book, Earthbag Building, is the first comprehensive guide to all the tools, tricks, and techniques for building with earthbags. Having been introduced to sandbag construction by the renowned Nader Khalili in 1993, the authors developed this “Flexible Form Rammed Earth …

Japanese Interiors: Minimalist: Adaptable: Renewable

Traditional Japanese houses are built with bamboo, paper, straw and other kinds of light weight wood, all of which are renewable. The houses are also made with components such as tatami mats, shoji screens and tansu cabinets. The components are fitted together without nails, and are often rearranged. For example, in the bedroom, futons are rolled up and stored away, …

Transefficient: Porous Pavers

Porous pavers are permeable replacements for concrete or other hard surfaces. They reduce rain water runoff by 90% thus avoiding erosion. Less pollution reaches the waterways because the rain water penetrates the underlying ground more effectively. Permeable pavement is slightly different — it looks like concrete but is structured to be porous so that rain water seeps through it. See …

Translucent Eco-Resins

EcoResin™ by 3form is a specially formulated polyester resin which incoporates a 40% post-industrial recycled content (it meets the threshold for LEED credit). The resins allow natural elements, textures and colors to be embedded in the translucent material, creating a striking effect. The interlayers can be arranged into thousands of combinations. Customization is encouraged by the manufacturer.