04 October 2011
This last weekend I was invited to attend the Solar Decathlon by Plastics make it Possible. The bad news was that due to scheduling I couldn't make it... But I thought I would tell you about it anyway and some of the cool features that I think you might be able to consider for your homes, since it is kind of like the ultimate in homes shows.
Images Source for all images unless otherwise noted.
I don't know about you, but I love a good parade of homes... AND this parade happens to be the ultimate in green design and innovation. To give you a brief explanation of the event. The decathlon is a contest for collegiate teams to and I quote "Design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive." On the website linked above they also have tours of the homes, and I am telling you, they are amazing!
I want to show you a few of my favorite homes:
First Appalachian State University's The Solar Homestead
I just love the look of this home!
They created a home base on the homesteaders of the past. The home has a large porch, and out buildings, All connected but also with the easy ability to customize for your particular needs. I love the open outdoor space. Especially having lived in the Appalachian mountains, I completely understand the need to use that outdoor space! They also incorporated some really beautiful design elements. Including bark siding... I think it is really cool.
One feature that sounds especially interesting to me with kids (that can wake each other up from naps... I know many of you know what I am talking about), is the special soundproofing of the bedroom walls. They used an insulative rubber/plastic sound barrier. This feature sounds like a really easy and useful feature that would be very doable for about anyone building a home, or even updating one.
Here is a tour of the home:
Okay, on to the next house I really like, Purdue University's In Home.
The great thing, about this home is it's approachable exterior. I love the look of modern homes, but many people can't picture themselves living in one. So this home, which is very traditional in look would be the perfect way to live in a green home, without sticking out.
This home features a plastic rain water collector. This is something that Justin and I have been wanting to do for a while. Buy a few used plastic barrels and create a rainwater harvesting station on the side of our home, right near the garden for watering our plants.
There is a video here about how to create a living wall, using these Wolly Pockets which are a smart breathable plastic pocket lined with a recycled bottle plastic coating that creates a moisture tight barrier. How cool would it be to have a wall of fresh basil and parsley that you could collect while cooking too! So, while it might be hard to create the bio wall, you could do it in a smaller scale on your own. And maybe I am just a geek, but I sorta love caring for plants, too. My mother always has a lot of plants, so I guess that has rubbed off a bit, besides it is fun to watch them grow.
Finally the last house I want to show you is the University of Maryland's Watershed.
They won overall.
They won overall.
I really love the look of this house, but I love the idea behind the butterfly wing roofs, of collecting runoff rainwater into a wetland that recycles greywater from the shower, clothes washer and dishwasher into water that can be used in your gardens.
This home also has a green roof, that is lined with a plastic membrane. The green roofs create are insulative and help with runoff issues. And the home also integrates a garden right off the kitchen.
p.s. Did you see that kitchen, I can't get enough of it, (and it has recycled concrete counter tops just like I have wanted for the last few years...)
They also use a plastic tumbling compost bin to recycle compostable scraps. This is something Justin and I have wanted for years! Right now we have boxes built from recycled fence posts which is frankly barely holding together and has a lot more up keep than it's plastic counterpart. The tumbling units, can create perfect compost in about 14 days... ours takes at least 6 months. I really would like to get one for my mom too, because she is a gardening genius, and the compact units make it easy to spin with just a simple crank instead of having to dig it all up by hand just with brute force!
Be sure to check out the video of this house, I love all the smart space savers... SO cool!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the quick little tour, I am so sad I couldn't go, but I am hoping that I can next year!!
So I have a few question for ya,
If you could live in a green home like one of these, would you?
What features would you want?
What green home features do you have in your house?
Which of the three is your favorite and why?
And just for my information....
Do any of you have that cool plastic tumbling compost bin? Do you like it?