When architect Karl Wanaselja built his home in Berkeley, California the junkyard became his urban forest for materials. For months he visited one of three local yards looking for car roofs and Dodge Caravan side windows. The windows became awnings and the roofs became siding for the top floor of his home. Wanaselja designed the home with his partner (in business and life) Cate Leger. They liked the look of the old cars, but they also believe firmly that reusing trumps recycling. They reused more than just cars to build their home. The lower half is sided in poplar bark, a waste product of the North Caroline furniture industry. Exterior wood is salvaged redwood and the fences and windowsills are on their second life.
Because they wanted to blend into the neighborhood as much as possible, Wanaselja and Leger played with perspective to create a home that looks small on the outside, but feels big on the inside. The home is only 14 feet wide on the ends, and it pitches forward and pinches in at the ends so from the street the home looks small. And it is just 1,140 square feet- more than half the U.S. average- and only 700 square feet on the ground floor. "It's kind of like Dr. Who's TARDIS. He's got this little phone booth, he goes in and then it's a giant space inside."
In this video, Wanaselja and Leger give us a tour of their home, their car part shed and their shipping container architecture studio in the backyard. For more details about the house see: lwarc.com
Currently the majority of wood stoves in use deliver only 40 to 50 percent of the energy potential of the wood. This is highly wasteful. But on a bright note, many of the prototype models entered into the Wood Stove Decathlon squeezed out more than 90 percent of the wood's energy potential and burn much cleaner than older stoves.
The rocket mass heater works on similar properties as a masonry heater. A fast, high heat and oxygen-fed fire burn up the volatile gases and particulates, leaving very little pollution, and turn almost every ounce of wood fuel into energy.