One of my friends is obsessed with Portland, Oregon -- according to him, Portland is a magical oasis of green living and public transportation. As an East Coast girl, I tend to tune out these starry-eyed speeches about the wonders of the mysterious world on the other side of the country.
However, be that as it may be, this story about affordable green housing in Oregon caught my eye. Minimalist+ is a group dedicated to supplying pre-fabricated green homes in the Portland area. The homes avoid the usual pitfalls of pre-fabricated houses: they’re designed by architects, and they’re assembled in local warehouses, so few fuels are wasted during transportation. They’re erected in a matter of days using a panel system, and they're available in two varieties: "light green," which costs $160 per square foot and comes with basic green features such as on-demand water heaters, and "dark green," which costs $180 per square foot and boasts a 30% greater energy efficiency than a typical built-to-code home. According to Minimalist+, the "light green" home will cost $295,680, while the "dark green" home will cost $332,640. So basically, Minimalist+ is offering affordable, easily constructed homes with green features, but without the dubious design principles often associated with pre-fabricated houses.
Minimalist+ hasn’t yet started building its houses, but the group is talking with several potential buyers. What do you think? If you live in the Portland area, or if the Minimalist+ homes catch on and spread throughout the country, would you buy one? Or does the ultra-modern look not do it for you?
I love green and healthy building, after all, I am a green and healthy contractor / builder / remodeler in Atlanta, GA I must say, though, that the design shown in this blog is not as bad as many I've seen. That is the primary "turn-off" point when I start to sell 'green design". People think it has to look marginal, minimalist, modern or all three to be green. Maybe this started with the solar options looking so commercial? Fortunately, there are many not just building greener, but working to make it appealing to a broader design market. You can go to our site at www.affordablecraftsmen.net and see a number of custom homes & remodels that were built green, but are historic themed / lookalike architecture to a fine level of detail. Also, they were only $2-3/sf more to build at 400-450 points on the Earthcraft scale. Total cost to build $120/sf plus the 120-150k for the lots. Not bad considering they had extremely high quality trim throughout. Check them out at our site and give feedback on the "invisible green" look. The new cool in green will soon be, not looking green.
Emily, I like the Minimalist+ approach of offering homeowners two choices of green homes. I do however question if the goal is to live green, whether a true environmentalist would choose to take up undeveloped land with a new home rather than making green home renovations to an existing house. The “green” choice to me is to renovate.