We Get Greener Kit Cassingham & her Bigger Half

Efficient Green Home Design

Efficient was the focus of the house My Bigger Half and I designed and had built seven years ago. It's a green home in most ways. But, as efficient as we made it, we didn't think of going with movable walls.

Before I share the movable wall idea, let me digress and talk about other eco-friendly homes and home design. The Solar Decathlon competition. According to the website "The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends cost-effectiveness, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency." There also is to be enough energy generated by the house to fuel an electric car. Student teams come from around the world to participate in this annual event in Washington, DC.

I was thrilled to see the Solar Decathlon competition on the Mall in Washington, DC, October 2009, because that meant I got to tour it. I'd seen and enjoyed two entries before that -- CU-Boulder and Montreal -- and had enjoyed their innovations. So when I found myself on the Mall with all of the entries I knew I was in for a good time.

I saw a delightful array of houses. Beach and mountain, urban and country, as well as modern and futuristic. One house I saw had solar panels comprising the exterior of the building -- all four sides and the roof. Solar panels were of course a common element of all of the entry homes. Lots of light was a common element of the homes, and shading too. Some incorporated gardens, others patios. Innovative, fun and exciting sum it up for me.

One house used modular walls and sliding wall panels to create flexible space. It didn't hit me how useful that concept was until I saw the 344 square foot Hong Kong condo in this video. The architect and owner calls it his Domestic Transformer.


Gary Chang shows how his tiny condo is palatial

The Murphy bed was the precursor of this idea. My Bigger Half and I do have a Murphy bed in our TV room, making the room more utilitarian and efficient than having two rooms. We don't watch that much TV, and we don't have that many house guests. One room does the duty of two. It's not a transformer in the sense of Gary Chang's, but it's not far off.

I don't know if the domestic transformer idea will take off, or be useful in your life. But it's an interesting way to walk lightly on the planet. It's an interesting thought for how we can get greener.

Comments

That is VERY VERY awesome!

Ruth Stewart at July 31, 2010 9:13 PM

It's known that cash makes people free. But what to do when somebody does not have money? The one way only is to receive the home loans or commercial loan.

FryFrieda34 at January 22, 2011 1:21 PM
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