Many think that sustainable, energy-efficient house plans are new, however, architect Lee Porter Butler (1940-2005), inventor of the “Gravity Geo-thermal Envelope,” founded Ekose’a Homes in San Francisco in 1976, an architectural services company that published energy conserving house plans. He and his houses made the covers of Popular Science, and Better Homes and Gardens and were heralded world-wide for their extraordinary energy efficiency. Butler set the stage for more recent plans for innovative and sustainable house plans.
In response to the 2005 hurricane that hit the GulfCoast, at least two Katrina Cottages books have been published with designs for inexpensive homes appropriate to the area. An organization sponsored by actor Brad Pitt, the Make It Right Foundation, works with architects nation-wide to obtain designs for green, affordable, high-quality and reproducible homes in the neighborhood hardest hit in the 2005 New Orleans hurricane. Los Angeles firms Graft and Gehry Associates are among the participants included in a new book about the Make It Right house designs.
Architect Michelle Kaufmann, author of Prefab Green, is founder of Michelle Kaufmann Designs, an Oakland design/build company that led the movement of prefabricated green homes. Her highly successful green prefab home designs Glidehouse™, mkLotus™, and Sunset Breezehouse™ were purchased by Blu Homes of Massachusetts in 2009, which plans to make these homes widely available.
Taking advantage of the Internet to sell its stock house plans is House Plans.com, founded in San Francisco in 2009. Their goal is to make quality home design affordable by using all the resources of the Web to streamline a complex process.
Although the Internet is providing a new venue for the distribution of stock house plans, California consumers continue to clamor for new, innovative and affordable house design “catalogs” no matter the format. Recent trends in stock plan offerings highlight sustainable, energy-efficient house designs, but the demand for affordable designs has been constant since the origins of plan books. Affordable house plan options—houses for everyone--will always be a major advantage of stock plans.
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