We often see new home designs at Inhabitat that incorporate advanced technologies, reduce energy use and provide a healthy and safe living environment, but we really enjoy seeing home designs that have been vetted in competitions such as the Lifecycle Building Challenge. This annual competition, in its 2nd year and sponsored by well-known organizations such as the EPA, AIA, Building Reuse Association, Southface, and West Coast Green, is a challenge to design buildings with several points in mind: incorporate local building materials, consider the whole lifecycle of building materials, reduce the overall embodied energy and greenhouse gas emissions from materials, use innovative and creative strategies, and reduce environmental and economic costs. The 2008 winner of this contest for Best Residential Design was the Spoorhouse, by Benno van Noort of Van Noort Designs, LLC.
The competition called for entries that considered the full lifecycle of a home, seeking designs that utilize re-used building materials and have the ability to be dis-mantled and recycled again. The Spoorhouse not only satisfies this requirement in its basic construction– ISO containers– but is equipped with plenty of eco components, including soy-based insulation, floor heating and cooling, integrated whole-house ventilation, and water conservation technologies.
Additional modifications and design elements can be added, including active solar systems (both photovoltaic and solar hot water), foam-flush toilets, grey-water processing, or rainwater recovery. The home is 1,500 sq feet, the average size of a 1970’s home, and the basic model starts at $245,000 ($160 per sq foot). The homes go as high as $375,000 with all the green design elements included, and none of the designs include land, site work, or delivery of the home.
The exterior of the home is constructed of steel, concrete and cementous material, which are non-flammable and can withstand the impact of storms and other natural disasters. Interior fixtures are either screwed in or bolted on, rather than being nailed or glued, to ease dis-assembly and recovery of materials. Rigid insulation is also used versus spray insulation foam for the same reason.
Benno van Noort’s Spoorhouse will come with a wide range of options that are classified into three categories: Eco, Basic, and Custom. All the homes will qualify for both LEED for Homes (depending on site selection) and EnergyStar for Homes. Spoorhouse’s website details all building materials and options.