Tag Archives: green building design

How California’s New Solar Mandate Will Affect Homeowners

In 2018, the California Building Standards Commission approved a mandate requiring all new homes under three stories in the state of California to install solar panels. This solar roof mandate, which is the first of its kind in the United States, will go into effect on January 1, 2020. Continue reading

Windows, Daylighting, and Ventilation

Windows have long been used in buildings for daylighting and ventilation. Many studies have even shown that health, comfort, and productivity are improved due to well-ventilated indoor environments and access to natural light. However, windows also represent a major source of unwanted heat loss, discomfort, and condensation problems. In 1990 alone, the energy used to offset unwanted heat losses and gains through windows in residential and commercial buildings cost the United States $20 billion, one-fourth of all the energy used for space heating and cooling. Continue reading

The Sea Ranch Style

The Architecture of Sea RanchConceived at a time when nature and utopian ideals were becoming increasingly prevalent in American culture and modern architecture, the Northern California community of Sea Ranch was developed in the early 1960s by architect and planner Al Boeke. Boeke envisioned a community that would preserve the area’s natural, rugged beauty and coastline, and would be based on ecological principles with minimal impact on the native environment. Continue reading

The World’s Tallest Wooden Skyscraper

Rendering of the proposed wood skyscraper. Image credits: Sumitomo Forestry

A Japanese company is set to build a skyscraper made of 90% wood in Tokyo, which will make it the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper upon completion. Sumitomo Forestry, a Japanese wood products company, is planning to build the massive structure which they have named “W350”. The wooden high-rise will be built to commemorate the company’s 350th anniversary in 2041. Continue reading

California’s Solar Mandate for New Homes: What You Need to Know

As you may have heard, California recently became the first state to mandate solar PV systems on all new homes. This is a momentous decision for the industry; it brings the benefits of solar, a historically niche product, directly to a significant portion of homeowners. The policy will dramatically expand the size of California’s solar market–already the most mature in the nation–and perhaps it will eventually inspire similar action in other states. Continue reading

Tips for Designing Your Shipping Container Home

Robyn Volker and Anke Irmscher decided to paint their shipping-container home bright orange because, as Ms. Volker said, “you might as well announce it’s a container.” credits: N.Y.Times

Shipping container homes have grown immensely in popularity in recent years for several good reasons: they are durable, eco-friendly, and modular. More importantly, approached correctly, they can be built both faster and more affordably than conventional homes. The first two-story shipping container home in the U.S. is said to have been designed by a California architect in 2006. Since then, the rate of shipping container housing has steadily accelerated in response to the increased cost of home construction. Here are some tips for those considering a shipping container home. Continue reading

Five Ways of Optimizing Framing

Five Ways of Optimizing Framing

Optimized Framing

Advanced framing can save materials and time while boosting your homes’ efficiencies. As builders look for ways to cut costs while meeting ever-more-stringent energy codes, many are turning to advanced framing methods. Also known as “optimum value engineering (OVE),” advanced framing techniques optimize material usage to cut down on waste, eliminate redundancies, reduce labor, and increase a home’s energy efficiency while maintaining structural integrity. Here is a look at 5 advanced framing techniques that builders can adopt one at a time as they ease into new, more efficient building methods. Continue reading