Modern Living Showhouse: Built-in Sustainability

Over the weekend, the Modern Living Showhouse was unveiled during the Dwell on Design 2011 show in Los Angeles.  The Showhouse integrates aesthetic design and sustainability unified in the creation process.

Walking into the Showhouse, the design, though modern in style, doesn’t shout “sustainability” to the untrained eye.  But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  The sustainability features are built deep within the home.

This modular structure itself was the brainchild of Jonathan Davis of pieceHomes, a company which specializes in green, factory-built modular houses.  The interior was designed by Zem Joaquin of ecofabulous, which focuses on stylish and sustainable living.  The Davis and Joaquin collaboration yielded a result that was not only good for people, but good for the environment.

“The Modern Living Showhouse is a fantastic, innovative example of a highly-functional, beautiful, and affordable execution of residential design using reclaimed and sustainable materials. This is what happens when creativity and good design work together for the greater good of the environment,” says Michela O’Connor Abrams, President, Dwell Media LLC.

(For an exhaustive list of all the sustainable features, check out the ecofabulous website.)

The Showhouse makes excellent use of solar energy.  It was designed to have big glass windows and sliding doors on the southern side, in order to maximize use of passive solar.  More natural light leads to more energy savings.  Many renewable and recyclable materials were used to build the home.  Flooring was made from cork – an amazing renewable resource since the tree never has to be cut down during cork harvesting.  And the cork on the harvested trees eventually grows back too!

The kitchen counter top is made of recycled glass and concrete.  While it is comparable in price to natural stone, its impact to the environment is far less.

Even the bathroom had an innovative use of materials.  The tile grout in the shower was extremely fascinating.  (Who would ever get excited about tile grout, except an eco-nerd?)  The tile grout was made from the very dust and debris of the tile it was grouting!  How is that for going cradle-to-cradle?

All in all, this is a wonderful example of sustainability incorporated and coexisting within design.

By the way, if you are interested in owning this very home, it is going to be auctioned next week on ebay.  Proceeds will benefit Global Green USA.

Jonathan Mariano is an MBA candidate with the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, CA. His interests include the convergence between lean & green and pursuing free-market based sustainable solutions.

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