Latest Articles in Solar

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A Zero-Energy Community: Part 1

Project Manager Brad Liljequist chronicles the building of the zHome, a ten-unit townhome in Issaquah, Washington—the first multifamily zero-energy community in the United States. Part 1: Introduction to the project.   I am writing this as I sit in the zHome Stewardship Center, which will open later this Fall as a hub of education and market transformation for radically green housing in the Pacific Northwest. I’m surrounded by the sounds of typical construction wrap-up on a residential community—the clink of rebar being laid down for the concrete walkways, Motown being played on the radio by a cleanup crew, and a trackhoe moving larger trees into place. There’s also non-typical sounds—those of drills on the roof, where the solar panels are being installed, and ground source heat pumps starting up for the first time.
September 14, 2011
Yerba Buena Street Life Plan

Yerba Buena Street Life Plan

Recently in San Francisco, the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District and CMG Landscape Architecture unveiled the Yerba Buena Street Life Plan. The plan is meant to serve as a master plan for the mixed-use neighborhood known as Yerba Buena that is located south of Market Street and includes prominent public buildings and spaces such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Yerba Buena Gardens, and the Moscone Center. The goal of the plan, meant to be implemented over the next ten years, is to create an identity for the neighborhood and foster a sense of community where residents and passers-through can stop and enjoy the area and engage with its outdoor spaces.
August 8, 2011
Modern house with solar panels and energy systems

High-Tech Green Family Home in Los Angeles

Though tricked out with high-tech touches, this house’s greenest feature is decidedly low tech: the family’s intention to make it their lifelong home.
June 20, 2011
Modern sustainable house by the beach

Tunquen Treasure

A set of solar panels, a wind-powered well, and passive sustainable strategies make living miles from municipal utilities a non-issue for this Chilean beachgoer.
May 16, 2011
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HelioTrace Robotic Facade

I was intrigued by a rendering featured in the latest newsletter from SOM, which came across my desk a few weeks ago. So I wrote the firm for more information. Turns out this new invention—a kinetic, solar-responsive curtain wall system—is still in development and won't be available on the market for a few years still. But it's an intriguing concept, so I figured I'd share.
April 11, 2011
Yellow North Face tent atop a wooden deck

A Platform for Living

Setsumasa and Mami Kobayashi’s weekend retreat, two and a half hours northwest of Tokyo, is “an arresting concept,” photographer Dean Kaufman says, who documented the singular refuge in the Chichibu mountain range. “It’s finely balanced between rustic camping and feeling like the Farnsworth House.”
April 6, 2011
Solar energy house in Denver’s Highland neighborhood

Denver's Energy Efficient Home

John and Paige Damiano are snow worshippers. As the Colorado and New Mexico territory manager for Burton Snowboards, John depends on winter precipitation for his business, not to mention for family entertainment. While the pair  waits all summer for the flakes to fall, they’ll be the first to tell you that their domestic comfort actually revolves around the sun.
March 26, 2011
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Just Redo It

What do you get when you give a couple of designers unlimited creative license on a very limited budget? For Andrew Dunbar and Zoee Astrakhan, the possibilities were limitless.
January 24, 2011
off the grid home

Green Cottage Getaway in Maine

On an island 20 miles off the coast of Maine, a writer, with the help of his daughter, built not only a room but an entire green getaway of his own.
November 22, 2010