Michelle Kaufmann visited Architecture for Humanity headquarters for our weekly Lunch and Learn session to talk about sustainable design. Her firm, Michelle Kaufmann Studio, works to make thoughtful, sustainable design more accessible. She said the average San Francisco home emits 8,000 lbs. of waste. One way to reduce waste by as much as 50 to 75 percent is to utilize modular construction, she said. A modular home is created in the factory but built to suit a specific site. You can check out a video of a modular home (designed by Michelle Kaufmann's firm) being set up here: http://michellekaufmann.com/2010/03/smart-home-a-home-in-90-seconds/.
Michelle also talked about working to build homes that achieve zero energy. Positioning windows on the corners of rooms helps reduce energy usage because rooms are "washed with light." There are low tech solutions for sun shading, such as sliding wood sun shades, which cut down on heat from the sun. Her firm also advocates creating spaces with double functionality, such as roof decks. It's positively easy now to choose plumbing fixtures that use less water, she said. Native, local landscaping also reduces water usage in homes. Tips on green living, including 'composting as sculpture,' can be found on her website.
Michelle summed up her talk with this maxim:
rethinking: reinvention: innovation