Tag Archives: Housing Updates

New housing design gets Quinhagak approval

From The Tundra Drums, Wednesday, February 17, 2010:

Houses in Quinhagak battered by decades of fierce wet winds might soon be replaced by a new model that hearkens back to traditional Native sod houses.

At a meeting last week, village leaders in the Southwest Alaska community accepted a preliminary plan for an energy-efficient home that could be a prototype for other houses in the village.

Click here to read the full story.

2009 Passive House Conference

From FineHomeBuilding.com, Monday, October 27, 2009:

The Passive House movement (Passivhaus) started in Germany 15 years ago and recently spread to the United States. It is a group of builders, architects, engineers, manufacturers and others focused on reducing the energy use of buildings, large and small, including houses. They’ve developed a rigorous standard that results in a building using up to 90% less energy for heating and cooling. Over 20,000 buildings in Europe have been certified to meet this standard. So far only a handful of homes in the U.S. have been certified, but many new projects, aimed at meeting the standard, where presented in Urbana. And by the end of 2009, there will be over 200 people in this country certified as Passive House Consultants, so the movement should continue to grow exponentially.

Click here for the full story.

Green building can present new legal risks

From the New York Times on Friday, May 29, 2009:

Building green can open the door to plenty of legal pitfalls, a new study warns.

The study, by Harvard Law School’s Environmental Law & Policy Clinic and sponsored by Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, a Philadelphia law firm, says that green building raises a number of liability questions.

What if the building set out to meet LEED certification or other government green-building standards, but falls short, for example? What if it fails to garner expected tax breaks from the government for building green?

Click here to read the whole article.

2009 Economic Stimulus package amendment would add house purchase tax credit

From the Washington Post on Thursday, February 5, 2009:

Seeking to jump-start the housing market, the Senate added new tax relief for homebuyers to its $900 billion economic stimulus bill yesterday as the legislation moved toward a final vote.

The amendment, offered by  Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), represents a significant victory for Republicans. GOP lawmakers have complained that the package includes few of their priorities for easing the economic crisis, including more help for the housing sector, which has been devastated by foreclosures and the frozen credit market.

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Economic downturn changes the American "house of the future"

From businessweek.com, posted on January 6, 2009 and retrieved on Friday, January 30, 2009:

2009 IBS House of the Future

2009 IBS House of the Future

When the homebuilding industry descends on Las Vegas on Jan. 20 for its annual trade show, a highlight as always will be a project called the New American Home. This model house—a new one gets built each year—serves as a showcase for the industry’s latest technology and trends. The massive four-bedroom, five-bath structure popping up in suburban Las Vegas this year may seem a little out of touch with the times as the nation suffers through the worst housing slump in decades. But out in the real world, architects and builders are busy trying to figure out how to put some of the same design features into new homes. Such trends are worth noting: Having amenities that appeal to buyers a decade or more after your house is built will help it hold its value. We list below some of the most important new design features you’ll see in homes.

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Homebuilders confidence in housing market at new low

From the Anchorage Daily News on Wednesday, January 21, 2009:

 A key gauge of homebuilders’ confidence sank to a new low this month, as the deepening U.S. recession and rising unemployment erode chances for a housing turnaround.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index released Wednesday dropped one point to a record 8 in January. The index was at 9 for the previous two months.

Index readings higher than 50 indicate positive sentiment about the market. But the index has drifted below 50 since May 2006 and has been below 20 since April. The slide in builders’ confidence accelerated in the wake of the U.S. financial crisis, slipping three points in October and then five points in November.

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GreenBuild announces 2008 top 10 building products

From buildingGreen.com, retrieved on Tuesday, December 23, 2008:

Three of the products this year save energy, including a low-cost, solar water-heating system; a combination heating, water heating, and heat-recovery ventilation system; and a system for monitoring real-time energy (and water) use in buildings. Water saving products are represented by a line of rainwater storage tanks—the first rainwater storage equipment ever recognized in our Top-10 lists.

Fully half of the products this year are green in part because they are made from natural, rapidly renewable, or agricultural waste materials; natural materials often require significantly less energy to manufacture. A new compressed-earth masonry block is particularly noteworthy in this regard. “Most of the Top-10 products this year have multiple environmental attributes,” said Wilson.

Click here to read the whole article.

Green homebuilding jobs may grow first

From Builder 2008, on October 21, 2008:

Efforts to make buildings more energy-efficient will create millions of new jobs, researchers surmised, and will also have a greening effect on the job responsibilities of an estimated 111 million people worldwide who already work in construction. High-performance projects and upgrades could generate up to 3.5 million additional green jobs in Europe and the United States alone, the report concluded.

These findings dovetail with new research by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which forecasts that American green jobs will grow fivefold over the next three decades, from 750,000 currently to more than 4.2 million by 2038.

Click here to read the whole article.

The high cost of a green home

From the New York Times, on Friday, October 31, 2008:

Building a green home, with features like solar panels and top-of-the-line insulation, involves significant up-front costs.

Added onto that is the cost of certifying your home — a stamp of approval that the home meets green standards.

Some architects and builders voice concerns that LEED for Homes — a relatively new expansion of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design brand, which has largely been concerned with commercial buildings — is expensive and involves too much paperwork.

Local programs, they say, are cheaper and sometimes better suited to regional needs.

Click here to read the whole article.

"Nutrition label" for green homes

As mentioned in an article on nytimes.com from Friday, September 26, 2008, two architects have proposed a “nutrition label” to address “the need for a universal sustainability-labeling standard (much like F.D.A. labels on food) that would empower homebuyers to make smarter, more sustainable homebuying decisions.”

To read a q&a about green prefab construction, click here.

To read the white paper “Nutrition Labels for Homes: A way for homebuyers to make more ecological, economical decisions,” click here.