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10 eco-building innovations: plug-in floors, giant bunnies and flying hostels

greentainerGreen building is in, and it’s astounding how many innovative and eco-friendly designers are out there. Here are my top 10 favorites, culled from recent design headlines:

  1. The Greentainer Project. Fashioned from used shipping containers, these Greentainers are not only versatile but — if you have access to a heavy-duty crane — portable as well.
  2. Polli-Bricks. MiniWiz’s clever creation is an attractive, insulating and self-interlocking brick made from recycled PET bottles.
  3. Panasonic’s E Floor. Look, Ma! We don’t make just electronics anymore. Made with recycled scrap wood and a special adhesive, the flooring won the Eco-Products Grand Prize at the recent Eco-Products 2008 show in Japan.
  4. Cielos modular lighting. Designed by London’s Billings Jackson, these “plug-and-play” lighted units are now available in eco-friendly LED.
  5. BC Cancer Foundation’s new building. The foundation’s new building in Vancouver is not only so green it’s earned a LEED Canada Gold rating, but it’s unique in look as well, with round windows that resemble petri dishes and a 15-story spiral staircase inspired by DNA’s double-helix structure.
  6. Speedheat’s RugBuddy. Like “an electric blanket for your floor,” RugBuddy is a roll-up, heated mat that can be placed under carpets and flooring. It even comes with a digital programmable thermostat.
  7. Macau’s “Lantern of the Little Rabbit” pavilion. Built for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, this design by Portuguese architect Carlos Marreiros is solar powered, water efficient and made with easily recycled materials.
  8. Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability. ASU turned an old nursing building with asbestos insulation into a marvel of green architecture with both wind and solar power and a water consumption footprint half of what it was before.
  9. Sweden’s Jumbo Hostel. Conceived by Oscar Dios, this new budget hotel near the Stockholm airport is a retired Boeing 747-200 on the outside and a 25-room hotel (all rooms with three bunk beds — shower and toilet available in the corridor) with cafe on the inside.
  10. myhab. More eco-friendly and easier than a tent, according to its makers, myhab provides recyclable (and made from recyclable materials) two-person shelters for festival-goers in the UK … setup and teardown services included.

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