Take a Tour of eBay’s Eco-House

On Friday night, the Dwell on Design 2010 Conference opened yesterday at the LA Convention.  Eco-friendly was a dominant theme in the exhibit hall, with a strong presence from LED light fixture designers, as well as solar energy providers and recycled building material companies.

The center of the exhibit floor was reserved for eBay’s eco-house.  Partnering with Levi’s, Reclaimed Space, and Pacific Sales, this chic house showcased the latest in innovative design, energy-efficient appliances, a living outdoor wall, and water-saving features, all without sacrificing style.

Just about everything in the house was either repurposed or designed with sustainability in mind.  Zem Joaquin, a former contributing editor at House and Garden and other publications and the current Editor-in-Chief of Ecofabulous, passionately led the tour, leaving no corner or über-cool detail ignored.  During a 20-minute tour, Joaquin pointed out the one-bedroom home’s highlights:

  • One feature you could not see but would feel was the insulation:  shredded Levi’s denim that insulated the house.
  • Yes, we know that line drying your clothes is the most eco-friendly way to dry your clothes, which is one reason why Levi’s is sponsoring a contest to design a new clothesline.  But for those who are in a hurry or need to dry clothes on a rainy day, a washer and dryer that can each do the job in 18 minutes, while saving water and energy, were in the kitchen, stacked vertically.  Such a kitchen layout may be a bit too European or Asian for American’s taste, but then again, wouldn’t you want to do those household chores all in one room anyway?
  • Don’t buy new; buy used.  The fact that eBay has become a clearing house allowing millions around the globe to empty their attics earns the tech giant a “green” star in my book.  The eco-house featured mid-century furniture in the living area, and Joaquin would snare the envy of any fashionista with the vintage clothes lined up in the bedroom closet.
  • Who would have guessed that the curtains were made from pineapple husks?  Carmen Miranda would have been proud.
  • Grey water systems are one of the most needed solutions to minimize housing’s impact on the environment.  The eco-house’s bathroom featured a Caroma commode directly below the sink—the waste water just flows into the toilet tank.  Yes, there was another sink in the bathroom for hygienic purposes—but such a loo would be perfect for a half-bath or powder room.

The Reclaimed Space-designed home is modular yet customizable—reducing not only the amount of building materials, but fuel needed to shop the materials as well.

Best of all, eBay’s eco-house and many of the items within it were auctioned off.  The auction ended yesterday, and the proceeds went to Global Green USA, a non-profit that fights climate change by advocating and creating green buildings and cities.

Would such a home work for you?  Share with us your thoughts, criticisms, and suggestions.

Based in Fresno, California, Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010. He has lived across the U.S., as well as in South Korea, Abu Dhabi and Uruguay. Some of Leon's work can also be found in The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. You can follow him on Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost).

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