Innovation in sustainable homes

Innovations In Sustainable Housing

Innovations In Sustainable Housing

Innovations in sustainable housing are very exciting.  New technologies are enabling a new breed of housing. Innovative approaches to construction, are creating homes that are more resistant to climate change along with many sustainable features. Modular or prefab homes are becoming a popular alternative to traditional new construction methods. Some of the benefits modular/prefab homes can offer are energy efficiency, very little to no construction waste, less use of precious resources, quick delivery times and more affordable price points. Check out the videos of this new unfolding, totally transportable home created by TENFOLD.

Ten Fold Engineering

TEN FOLD develops ready-to-use, movable buildings and structures that unfold to provide any combination of space and facilities.

The trend in tiny modular homes that have modern features and large windows such as the one below, created by Vipp Shelter, looks stunning….however, and that’s a big however, before you decide to go this route, make sure that the product  you’re purchasing is created with thought about the natural environment it will be placed in. If for example the climate, sun orientation or existing infrastructures are not considered, then this beauty could turn out to be a lot less desirable. Here’s a great article from Treehugger on what one needs to consider….

Vipp Shelter tiny prefab as precise industrial-era appliance

The Danish company VIPP (famous for its iconic 1939 wastebasket, now in the MOMA) has created a prefab tiny home designed down to the last detail (flashlight included). Their 592-square-foot “plug and play getaway” wasn’t designed to blend into nature, but to float above it; fifty thousand pounds of glass and steel serve as a frame for the surrounding landscape.

Another company that’s making a splash in modular steel home construction is Canadian company, Green Terra Homes. The company makes the case for steel construction over wood construction as follows:

“Wood frames are outdated. It takes forty trees to build a wood frame, and the lumber has to be processed and chemically treated. By comparison, steel is one of the most recyclable products in the world. You can also add solar panels and green roofs to your modular home.  Steel is a lighter, stronger, and straighter material than wood, thereby making is easier to lift and move around without the use of a crane to construct the frame. You can erect the frame yourself or hire an experienced general contractor or framer to provide this service.

Lightweight steel is 100% recyclable and the most recycled product in the world. Steel frame homes are unaffected by humidity or temperature changes which make them energy-efficient. This results in money saved on fuel costs. Lower energy consumption helps the initiative to further conserve our natural resources. It takes six recycled cars to build one steel frame home vs. 40-to-50 trees to build a timber home.   A steel frame home is the optimum choice for you and your family’s health and safety. Contrary to wood, steel does not absorb moisture so it will not rot or grow mold.
The Healthy House Institute recommends steel framing for chemically-sensitive and environmentally-conscious homeowners who are seeking the best possible indoor air quality.   Additionally, steel is non-combustible and therefore a lower fire risk. A wood home burns very fast as the wood fuels the fire. Steel does not contribute fuel to a fire. When exposed to extremely high heat, steel may deform but it will not burn. “
Key features include:
  • Creating value
  • Affordability
  • Design
  • Rapid construction
  • Cost savings
  • Sustainability
  • Made of Steel
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • 100% Recyclable
  • Built to Last
  • Does Not Contribute to Landfill
  • Redefining Prefabricated Homes

Green Terra homes recently partnered with Habitat for Humanity, donating a portion of sales to the non profit.

Another company re-inventing how sustainable homes are built, embracing steel over wood construction, is the Quebec company, Bone Structure. Inspired by the aerospace industry, structures are designed to fit into place without the need for screws, nails or the like. The company is focused on being a net zero energy construction. Although they are more costly than Green Terra or other such companies, their designs are quite stunning!

Project 15-580: Stanford, California

Uploaded by BONE Structure on 2016-07-06.

BONE Structure – Bigwin Island Bare BONE Event

Host Erin McCoy takes a trip to cottage country to visit the BONE Structure Bare BONE Open House event on Bigwin Island on Lake of Bays in Muskoka. Learn firsthand about the innovative new steel home assembly system from BONE Structure.

Marc A Bovet, the founder of Bone Structure gave a TEDX Talk on why houses are ripe for innovation. Our cell phones, computers, cars and most everything today is being what I call “uberized”. Marc is passionate about creating homes that will “stand the test of time”.  Learn more about Marc and listen to his TEDX talk:

Innovation – It’s Time to Take it Home | Marc A Bovet | TEDxLaval

Everything that surrounds you has evolved through innovation. Your cell phone is now a smart phone, your car is now a computer on wheels, your news comes from social media and your newspaper is a tablet. The housing industry can’t afford to ignore innovation or stay in denial mode based on the saying – we’ve always done it that way!

For other cool, innovative, sustainable, urban, architectural inspiration, check out this site and videos by Kirsten Dirksen on

Sunbathed small wooden studio in calm forest near Barcelona

Tasked with building a tiny studio in the hills outside Barcelona, architect Pablo Serrano Elorduy created an all-wooden shelter stunning in its simplicity, efficient thanks to smart design. The orientation takes advantage of Spanish sun for heating: large windows open the South side to winter sun; protective shading blocks direct summer sun.

According to Linkedin, Sunday January 28th 2018;

“Housing costs keep climbing in the U.S. and the trend is sending ripples through real estate. The spike — coupled with the trend of workers seeking employment in the city or looking to switch to remote work — has inspired a few novel projects to make better use of America’s space.  Join the conversation –  #UrbanInnovations

Follow this topic @ #UrbanInnovations





Bonnie Meisels
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