For those unfamiliar with the PCBC (Pacific Coast Builder Conference) it is one of the largest regional builder’s shows in the US. It’s a constructive blend of builders, developers, designers, architects, engineers and vendors that swap ideas and learn about the latest building technologies. I’ve attended for perhaps the last 7-8 years and always find a number valuable ideas, trends and products. Unfortunately the show has shrunk over the past few years along with the economy. But 2011 seems to have reversed the trend a bit. Some highlights:
For the homeowner: more home sprinkler systems (they save lives!), new ceiling and wall products that reduce noise from noisy neighbors (people want their privacy), many more products that appear “high end” yet with advances in manufacturing and new materials they’re really quite affordable (high design for the masses). As well there were lots of retrofit products that increase energy efficiency of existing homes ranging from solar powered attic ventilation to panels and paints that reflect solar heat (save operating costs). Cement sidings and plastic trim all meant to mimic the look of wood yet drastically reduce home maintenance cost were also shown (more leisure time).
For the designer: recessed LED fixtures with a variety of styles, bezels and sizes (finally there are reliable and plentiful sources that we can recommend as alternatives to incandescent and fluorescent). They’re still pricey, but for those who want to go “Green” the cost is almost justifiable. Paint manufacturers continue to improve colors, reduce emissions, and advance technologies (heat reflecting paint that reduces cooling costs). There were many energy efficient, green and sustainable products including zero VOC paints, engineered and certified lumber products and tank-less water heaters. It appears as though these technologies are maturing well, more accessible and more easily installed than when the “Green“ revolution started. It is time to generally recommend these products to our clients I believe.
For Everyone! However, the coolest product of the bunch had to be at the Outdoor Living Showcase: the c192 nomad by HyBrid Architecture based in Seattle, WA (it was also the Sunset Idea House 2011 and it is shown above). According to HyBrid it “Sleeps a family of four. Built in a single 24’ shipping container, the c192 nomad allows added space for a bunk or double bunk and is designed as a self contained backyard cottage or remote retreat. Expansive openings allow the space to fully embrace its surroundings.” And the base price is only $59,500! (Bay Area bargain naturally)
I like the fact they call this micro housing as it feels more house-like than a mobile home and still resides within an environmentally efficient footprint. It comes complete and ready to drop on a foundation, hooked up to water, sewer and power and ready to enjoy. Personally speaking, an acre up in Napa or a hill top overlooking the Pacific with one of these on it would be quite the fantastic weekend get-away. And if you decide to move, disconnect it, put it on a flatbed and drag it to your new location. To see more go to http://www.cargotecture.com