People, things and the Best of Show at Greenbuild

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Unity Home

credit: Lloyd Alter/ Unity Home at Greenbuild

10 of 11

Best of Show: Unity Homes


When it comes to the Best of Show, I almost always pick some obscure little product that I think deserves the publicity or that is really creative, innovative and useful; last year it was a heat pump water heater that probably isn't yet in production; the first one I picked was a SIP made from straw that never caught on.

This year, it was no little project than really was the Best in Show, it was the centrepiece, the model home from Unity Homes. There are so many reasons why; in his years of building custom homes at Bensonwood, Tedd Benson has developed a system of design, the tools needed to build with precision.

He has promoted what's known as Open Built, which means that the house is designed to adapt as systems need upgrading and replacement. you don't have to bash the drywall to get at plumbing and wiring; it is all designed up front for future modification. Note how that electric wiring isn't actually in the insulated wall, but is inside, an entire layer added just so it could be changed without wrecking the wall and disturbing the insulation. The plumbing and mechanical is all like that too.

Separating a building’s mechanical systems from its structure and skin—a fundamental tenet of Open Building—helps to ensure the long-term viability of the structure. And we have become ever more convinced that creating buildings which are beautiful is one of the best ways to ensure their longevity, because beautiful buildings are easy to love, and buildings that are loved tend to be well-maintained.

Then it is all panellized, built in the factory under perfect conditions, flatpacked so that it can be shipped to the site and installed quickly, as they did at Greenbuild. They really have thought through every detail of how one puts together a tight, efficient and very green home. I do not have a lot of good photos; it was always too crowded. However when I get the pro shots that were taken I will follow up with another slideshow. In the meantime, have a look at Unity Homes.

More on Unity Homes and Bensonwood in TreeHugger:
Cradle to Cradle products could be key to a healthy house
The envelope, please: BuildingGreen's top 10 green picks for 2016
Unity Homes Builds First Prefab
New Flatpack from Unity Homes May Be The Greenest Prefab On the Market

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