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Juliet Grable

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The Align Project: Align Your Future

Posted by Juliet Grable

Apr 22, 2019 1:58:27 PM

It’s time to rethink where we live, what we buy and how we can help ourselves go with green.

On the one hand: climate change disasters, species extinction, geo-political upheavals and population growth. On the other: renewable energy, zero-carbon transportation, protein substitutes and smart tech. When thinking about the future, it’s easy to vacillate between hope and despair. Throughout The Align Project, we’ve been reexamining how we live. Now it’s time to look ahead and question our assumptions about the future.

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The Align Project: Align Your Mobility

Posted by Juliet Grable

Feb 26, 2019 4:22:25 PM

When we consider daily travel, most of us keep our sights on the destination. What if we instead focused on the journey?

A millennial with a downtown job zips by on a rented electric scooter to the nearest light rail station. A single woman with a flex schedule walks down to the co-working space a few blocks away. An older person with mobility issues consults with his doctor using FaceTime.
One of the questions we’re exploring with The Align Project is how to thoughtfully overhaul our transit habits: Can we reduce the negative impacts of transportation, energy use and traffic among them, and improve our quality of life at the same time?

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The Align Project: Align Your Technology

Posted by Juliet Grable

Dec 12, 2018 1:13:52 PM

As we move toward the ‘Intuitive Home,’ a tech-filled smart home like the Orient becomes increasingly hard to turn down. 

Here’s the vision: You return home after a long day at work. Lights fade on in a pleasing combination of soothing greens and blues; your favorite chillaxing music queues up. You’ve plugged in your electric car, but your charger knows to delay charging until rates are lower, or your smart inverter/battery system may tell the charger to draw from the storage battery instead. In the background, devices are talking to each other and automating all kinds of tasks, freeing us to do other things while saving energy and money.

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The Align Project: Align Your Finances

Posted by Juliet Grable

Oct 4, 2018 1:03:02 PM

How can we design and build homes that work for people, instead of the other way around?

When it comes to buying, building and remodeling houses, we’ve been lulled into going for the lowest bid or the least cost per square foot. But anything cheap is bound to have long-term costs. Take plastic goods—most don’t last, and they come with a steep price tag to the environment.

The same could be said for the materials and systems in our homes—pay me now, or pay me later.

“Looking at lowest upfront cost only is an antiquated approach that is no longer applicable and serves no one,” says Sara Gutterman, Green Builder® Media CEO. “We have to start thinking about full cost, or lifecycle cost, to properly understand the value of our homes and buildings.”

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Products in the The Align Project: Protecting Occupants, Helping Builders

Posted by Juliet Grable

Sep 7, 2018 9:26:36 AM

The Align Project demonstration house showcases products and materials that contribute to beauty, efficiency and functionality. Some also help protect occupants in the event of fire.

Products in the The Align Project which help occupants in the event of fire include a PureFlow residential fire sprinkler system from Viega and a fire-resistant building envelope insulated with COMFORTBATT, COMFORTBOARD and AFB mineral fiber products from Rockwool. These products are also easy for builders to work with and facilitate quick construction, saving time and money.

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The Align Project: Align Your Space

Posted by Juliet Grable

Aug 28, 2018 3:53:47 PM

What if we optimized our living spaces to create a home that’s 100 percent useful?

Every year it’s the same report: New homes in the U.S. keep getting bigger, even as the size of the average household shrinks. Though the rate of bloating has slowed in recent years, new single-family homes still averaged 2,457 square feet in 2017. And we’re filling those homes with stuff, much of it bought on credit.

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The Align Project: A Rendezvous With Reality

Posted by Juliet Grable

Jun 26, 2018 5:18:50 PM

This one-year demonstration project will challenge entrenched ideas about how we live in the United States.

Green Builder Media and Austin-based builder Kasita are partnering on a one-year demonstration project, the centerpiece of which is Kasita’s smart, modular, net-zero accessory dwelling unit (ADU).

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The Flex House: Second Coming

Posted by Juliet Grable

May 9, 2018 12:03:24 PM

At CES, The Flex House became a fully functioning Smart Home 2.0, demonstrating technologies that save energy, water and other resources.

As companies jockey for Position in the burgeoning smart home market, questions about the true usefulness of smart home technology inevitably arise. Do we really need our toasters to be connected, or to talk to our refrigerators? How much is hype, and how much will smart home technology really be able to help the built environment become more sustainable and resilient? Green Builder CEO Sara Gutterman believes that the next wave of smart home technology—what she calls Smart Home 2.0—will help separate the hope from the hype. It’s something The Flex House aptly demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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Aiming for Net Zero with Flex House

Posted by Juliet Grable

Mar 5, 2018 2:09:34 PM

The Flex House’s net-zero-energy readiness includes an efficient and airtight envelope, lowered demand and a responsive renewable power system.

With its tough building standards, California is a good incubator for The Flex House, which will be built in a local factory, then transported to sites within and outside the state. The Flex House is designed to function as a net-zero-energy (NZE) home, says Jeff Cretcher, who recently joined Shelter Dynamics as the company’s new CEO. There are a number of efforts underway to help the structure reach that status, starting with the home’s thermal envelope.

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Flex House: Water Miser

Posted by Juliet Grable

Nov 20, 2017 3:53:08 PM

The Flex House demonstrates how to live right with less water.

THE FLEX HOUSE WAS DESIGNED and built in California, a state that has just recovered from the worst drought in recorded history. With its large population and dependence on agriculture, the Golden State is—by necessity—leading efforts to reduce water use across the board. With emphasis on right-sized living, Shelter Dynamics and Green Builder Media set out to demonstrate strategies in The Flex House that reduce potable water use while meeting or exceeding California’s stringent standards.

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Flex House: A Winning Design

Posted by Juliet Grable

Aug 23, 2017 10:39:07 AM

Innovative products and systems may be what ultimately sell The Flex House to a client, but it’s the design that gets them in the front door.

The Flex House was conceived as a modular housing design that can meet the needs of a broad range of homeowners. The prototype consists of two modules that come together at a central axis. On one side of this “spine” are the living room, office and bedroom; on the other, the entry, dining room, bathroom and kitchen.

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The Flex House: Multi-Faceted Adaptability

Posted by Juliet Grable

Apr 24, 2017 2:41:08 PM

Shelter Dynamics and Green Builder® Media demonstrate right-sized living with this net-zero energy modular demonstration home.

Last year, Green Builder Media and Shelter Dynamics introduced The Arc House, a small-footprint, resilient demonstration home that showcased the convergence of intelligent, connected and solar technologies. Jim Gregory, founder of Shelter Dynamics and creator of The Arc House, called his prototype “a demonstration of a direction” in sustainable housing. This year, the two partners are expanding on that direction with the debut of The Flex House.

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Smart Plus Solar Equals Total Control

Posted by Juliet Grable

Jan 17, 2017 3:41:13 PM

The Arc House demonstrates ways to integrate renewable energy with connected technology.

SMART HOME TECHNOLOGY and solar technology provide complementary benefits: reduced energy use, improved efficiency, and greater comfort and control by homeowners. The Arc House demonstrates how these technologies can fully integrate to create an intelligent, efficient home—one that automatically adjusts to optimize energy use and comfort, and provides feedback to occupants that encourages them to change their behavior. 

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