Monday, February 11, 2008

Micheal Berk's GreenMobile

Professor Michael Berk has some innovative ideas.

His GreenMobile concept combines sustainability, energy efficiency, affordability, and mobility for a fresh take on green housing. In one clean stroke, this Architect shatters the myth that green costs more. With prices starting at about $50,000, this green home is affordable by most of the American population.

The GreenMobile draws on modular and manufactured home technologies in to create a handsome structure that can be easily transported and set up on-site in short order. Berk’s design is perfect for emergency housing, and even more perfect for the green-conscious, budget-savvy homeowner.

Designed with solar panels and a rainwater collection system, this new breed of home is no slave to the "grid." The GreenMobile can work independently of infrastructure, or as a hybrid-house attached to local utilities. Homebuyers need not depend on the availability of utilities to dictate their choice of home sites.

And keeping the footprint small (a two-bedroom model is 890 square feet, a one-bedroom is 560 square feet) keeps costs in check; the McMansion may have been the fad in the recent past, but modern-day economics is sending too-big houses the way of the dinosaur.

GreenMobile was awarded an almost $6 million grant recently from FEMA's Alternative Housing Pilot Program (part of Congress' post-Katrina relief funding) in an effort to develop a new generation of disaster-relief housing - a good use of taxpayer money, in my opinion. A prototype is currently under development to replace some of the FEMA trailers on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Approximately 80 units are expected to be produced later on this year.

Check out the poster of the GreenMobile’s winning entry in last year’s Lifecycle Building Challenge:

And for more information on Professor Michael Berk and GreenMobile development, go to his web site:

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