It was a black day in the green building and design community when architect Michelle Kaufmann’s modern green prefab firm, mkDesigns, went belly-up in the bad economy last May. Since then, Kaufmann has done everything but disappear from sight. In fact, it seems to have been an extremely busy year for the green building goddess as she focuses on sustainable communities such as the Aria Denver project and net-zero energy homes. Added bonus: this past September, Boston-based startup Blu Homes acquired the assets of mkDesigns (the Glidehouse lives on!). 
Now, Kaufmann is truly back in the green prefab game with a just-launched trio of net-zero energy modular homes: The Zero Series. The three homes, Ridge0, Vista0, and Contours0 are, as Kaufmann puts it, “designed to blur the boundary between the interior and exterior, 'borrowing' space from the outdoors, and using the strategy of designing big rather than building big. Getting more out of less.” And being net-zero energy homes, they're designed to generate as much as energy as they consume.
Designed to be LEED-certified (other certifications like Build It Green can be achieved, too) and incorporating Kaufmann’s five patented Eco Principles — Smart DesignEco MaterialsEnergy Efficiency,Water Conservation, and Healthy Environment — the homes, factory-built with utmost efficiency by Blazer Industries, range in size from 422 square feet to 2,643 square feet. Prices start at $66,500.
Here’s some of the green nitty-gritty on the Zero Series via Michelle Kaufmann Studio:
The Contours0™ and the Vista0™ homes have outdoor rooms as much as indoor rooms and utilize strategically placed windows, glass doors and skylights to maximize natural ventilation and sculpt in natural light.  The Ridge0™ is designed using Passivhaus principles of good insulation, southern orientation with shading, efficient windows and frames, air-tight building envelope, energy star appliances and lighting, and passive preheating of fresh air, all resulting in a low demand for space heating and cooling. In addition, the homes are designed to also incorporate alternative energy systems such as PV solar as well as water conserving systems such as rain catchment and gray water systems.

Congrats to Kaufmann on the new “babies.” These simple, stylish, and super-green prefab designs look fantastic (I’m particularly digging the Vista0). What do you think?

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