Solar Decathlon 2013 – Orange County Great Park

Flux Home University of Southern California USC

CLICK HERE   See the Flux House in Ojai **** an internationally, renowned, architect moves the 2013 Solar Decathlon Flux Home to Ojai, CA

The Solar Decathlon  is a very cool event – a college competition to build solar homes.  Usually in Washington, DC – last year the 2013 Solar Decathlon exhibit was in Orange County, California for the first time.  Although I follow the event every year – this year I went to see the houses.

They say architects are at their best when they are old – experienced.  This truth exists but there is something really fun, fresh and appealing about these college students taking on the task of building a home – an efficient and new style of home.

  • lots of shed roofs
  • passive solar design using shading
  • open and flexible plans
  • solar systems


The Decathlon was held at the former El Toro  Marine Air Base – which is being transformed into “Great Park” – at 4700 acre real estate development – CLICK HERE for more info

A runway of cool houses …

Continue reading “Solar Decathlon 2013 – Orange County Great Park”

Shipping Container Homes

Shipping Containers – there’s millions of em – floating around – literally!   It is estimated that thousands of these things are lost at sea every year !

But these relatively cheap, strong, box structures are turning into some pretty cool homes.

Everything from the shack below …

To three story urban homes – this one is in Venice California …

To exotic homes like the “Tea House” in Korea ….

See our newest video all about Container Homes



This’ll blow your hair back! Solar Decathlon 2011

Its Solar Decathlon time again ! 

I love this annual competition.  Crazy ideas – experimental – cutting edge – out of the box (as they say!) – weird – fun – they say if you want to learn and be creative – you should take things apart – turn them upside down – backwards – shatter ideas and then put it all together.  Well that’s what they do here.  Watch all 20 of the competitors entries and I guarantee you will get an education.  Watch with an open mind and remember – we are looking for new stuff here!

Press play to watch the SCI-Arc video.  Right in my  back yard – SCI-Arc is cutting edge and a little bit Hollywood too!

Solar Decathlon Teams

The 20 university-led teams that design, build, and operate the competition’s solar-powered houses are the heart of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Learn more about each of these teams competing in Solar Decathlon 2011: Continue reading “This’ll blow your hair back! Solar Decathlon 2011”

Show Us Your Projects ! – Bio Diverse Farm – Super Green Building

This amazing project caught my eye !  Just check out the spec’s … containers – green houses – graywater – gardens – solar – Bert calls this the “Bio Diverse Farm” – check it out

Click on photos to enlarge

Send us your projects!


Hi Otis

This Design project might interest you. The main points are:


Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia

2 acre plot, gentle slope to SE

Winters Wet, Summer very dry limited ground water

Climatic zone 6-8

Continue reading “Show Us Your Projects ! – Bio Diverse Farm – Super Green Building”

In Search of the Ultimate Green Home – Paqtagonia- Ventura Today


THE California Central Coast Chapter of the U.S. GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL

Presents:  Otis Bradley
In Search of the Ultimate Green Home

Custom home builder Otis Bradley of the Otis Bradley Company and will be leading an interactive dialogue about the path to “net-zero” homes at the monthly meeting of the U.S. Green Building Council C4 Chapter on Monday, January 24th at 5:30pm.  This meeting is open to the public and is held in the Patagonia Fire House at 280 W. Main Street, Ventura.  Infusing his inquisitiveness, vast industry knowledge, and a healthy sense of humor, and using the design and construction of his own recently completed home as a jumping off point, Otis will guide the group through an interactive dialogue about the future of homebuilding in our new “Green” reality.  Be prepared for an offbeat and spirited exchange of ideas.

Otis currently owns and operates Otis Bradley Company, Inc.,, a California Custom Home building business.  Otis also runs webinars about Green construction at, where he blogs regularly about a variety of green topics.

The presentation takes place at the Patagonia Firehouse Building, 280 W. Main Street in downtown Ventura on Monday, January 24th, 2010 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.   The monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Our next presentation will be on Monday, February 28th.

For more information, please call (805) 218-2254, or visit the C4 website at 


PS For those of you that can’t make it watch for the replay to be posted here on     

Earthships for the rest of us – How to build a code compliant Earthship

I love Earthships – my wife hates ’em !
I love Earthships – the building department hates ’em!

Ahhh life’s challenges.

My visit to Taos, New Mexico to visit the “Greater World Earthship Community” got me thinking …. this is really cool – off grid – independent community.  Why don’t we have more of this kind of thing going on?   Well it’s not as easy as it looks – for some the idea of building a house out of old tires is just too much!  And – most areas that follow modern building codes will treat you like a Communist in the McCarthy hearings!

So here’s my idea to take the Earthship and modify it into a “user friendly” home that still uses a lot of it’s great attributes but allows the rest of us to hire a contractor – hook up to standard city utilities

Continue reading “Earthships for the rest of us – How to build a code compliant Earthship”

Net Zero Home in Vermont

Here’s a cool house that I have seen written up a few times … located in Charlotte, Vermont – right near my alma mater – The Universtiy of Vermont.  David Pill and Hillary Maharam designed their own energy producing green home.  The 2700 sf home uses an all electric system of a ground souce heat pump coupled with super insulated walls and a wind turbine.

Article by David Pill  Journal of Light Construction

Netting Zero in a Cold Climate

How a house in northern Vermont produces as much energy as it consumes.

Netting Zero in a Cold Climate How a house in northern Vermont produces as much energy as it consumes by David Pill As an architect, I’ve been educating myself in green building practices for nearly 20 years, through reading and attending workshops and conferences. So when it came to designing a new home for my family in northern New England, I had definite goals in mind. First, I wanted to create a house with as little environmental impact as possible. Second, I wanted to use the most conventional methods possible, so that the house would be relatively affordable and include …

To see the rest of this article – either buy the current issue of JLC or go to the Journal of Light Construction

You can see more about David and Hillary ‘s home on their web site

Thick Walls – Green Homes – Oregon

Do you know about Passive House or Passivhaus as they say in Germany?  They use wood frame walls – sometimes almost 12 inches thick!  I only heard about Passivhaus a couple of years ago but recently see more and more projects following this philosophy.   Apparently the founder of these ideas started in the USA during the 70’s solar revolution and took the ideas back to Germany and developed super low energy consuming homes.

            Continue reading “Thick Walls – Green Homes – Oregon”