These tiny houses help minimum wage workers become homeowners in Detroit

June 7, 2017 by  
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Detroit, Michigan, may have one of the highest rates of poverty in all metro cities in the U.S., but a new initiative launched by local non-profit Cass Community Social Services (CCSS) aims to make it easier for low-income individuals to escape lower class living. The organization is constructing 25 tiny homes which will house tenants who don’t have the funds to rent their own living quarters or purchase a home. Homeless people, students, and low-income seniors will be given priority. A fundraiser was kicked off last week when CCSS invited the public to tour six completed tiny homes . Located in the two vacant blocks between the Lodge and Woodrow Wilson Street, each home will have a unique exterior, and will range in size from 250 to 400 square feet. The development will also be in walking distance to popular social, education, recreational and health services at Cass’ main campus. Said Cass’ executive director, Reverend Faith Fowler, “The structures are being built with the permission of the city, and with the help of professional tradespeople and volunteers . The project is using a rent-to-own model, with rental prices set at $1 per square foot, meaning that a 300-square-foot house would cost $300 in rent per month. Each will have its own basic furnishings and appliances, but no bedroom — so they are not meant for families.” Potential tenants need to meet low-income eligibility requirements and go through an interview and selection process. Rent is capped at no more than one-third of their monthly wages and after a maximum period of seven years, they will officially own the house . The cost of utilities is expected to run around $35 per month. The initiative is applaudable, but there is a catch: tenants are required to attend financial coaching and home maintenance classes once a month. Related: Tiny house startup Getaway to launch off-grid tiny homes in NYC this weekend “It’s good for everybody. It’s good for the environment , as tiny homes have a small carbon footprint. It’s good for the renter to become homeowners because [they will someday have] an asset. It’s good for the neighborhood because 25 more lots will be filled with people and repopulated. It’s good for the city because they’ll become taxpayers. It’s good for the larger community, especially the homeless community, to see that somebody who used to be homeless now is a stakeholder in our neighborhood. So it’s really good on so many levels, and we’re excited about it,” said Fowler. As TreeHugger reports , the tiny house project is primarily funded by private donations and foundations, including the Ford Motor Fund, the RNR Foundation, and the McGregor Fund. Cass’ ultimate goal is to help revitalize the surrounding area. Because there are over 300 vacant properties within a one-mile radius, the non-profit envisions rehabilitating unoccupied buildings for low-income residents and operating on the same rent-to-own basis. Via TreeHugger Images via CassCommunity WordPress , Cass Community Facebook

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These tiny houses help minimum wage workers become homeowners in Detroit

Trump actually wants to build a border wall covered in solar panels

June 7, 2017 by  
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For all of the crazy concepts that people have come up with for Trump’s border wall , Trump’s own design might just be the most surprising of all. The climate change-Denier-in-Chief recently pitched to congressional Republicans the idea of building a renewable power-generating border wall covered in solar panels. According to Trump, the barriers would be “beautiful structures” that will pay for themselves. When Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement , he claimed that it would somehow continue to be the greenest country in the world. According to Axios , Trump intends to do that by proposing a border wall that will generate clean energy. The energy that will be generated by the wall will be used to pay for itself. Related: Donald Trump would probably hate this crossable border wall Trump pictures the wall as a 50-foot high structure covered in solar panels . Realistically, a solar wall along the southern border has a lot of logistical challenges, though it could be possible to build a one that pays for itself. During the meeting, Trump told congressional representatives that they could talk about the solar wall as long as they mentioned that it was his idea (it wasn’t). While this latest concept may be an improvement on the border wall in general, talking about the wall is really just a distraction from the conversation about whether or not there should be a wall at all. On the bright side, at least we know now that Trump thinks solar is a viable and cost-effective technology for government projects, right? Via GTM Images via Gleason Partners and Flickr

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Trump actually wants to build a border wall covered in solar panels

Giant glass orb in Paris is wrapped with a rotating solar sail that follows the sun

June 7, 2017 by  
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Architects Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines teamed up to create the stunning, solar-powered Seine Musicale located on Seguin Island in Paris. The shimmering glass globe is framed within by Ban’s beloved timber , and its exterior is wrapped with a massive solar panel “sail” that rotates around the building to follow the sun. Located in Paris’ Boulogne-Billancourt suburb, the urban project is part of Jean Nouvel’s Island Master Plan for Seguin Island . The multi-use building comprises a concert seating hall with a capacity of 4,000, a classical music hall that seats 1,150, along with various rehearsal and recording rooms. Additionally, the building is surrounded by ample green space for visitors and practicing musicians. Related: Elliptical Music Pavilion in Austria is made from locally-sourced silver fir Although the exterior is clad in glass panels, that doesn’t mean that timber-loving Ban has forsaken his green building material of choice. The hexagonal globe frame, including the building’s beehive ceiling, is made out of timber. However, the star feature of the design is undoubtedly the massive triangular sail covered in solar panels. The sail will constantly rotate, following the path of the sun in order to provide the building with optimal solar energy throughout the day. The large covering also acts as a solar shield for the building’s all-glass Grand Foyer. A spokesperson from Shigeru Ban Architects explained that the building’s design was carefully crafted to fit into Nouvel’s urban plan for the area, hopefully becoming an eco-friendly icon for the developing area, “This environmentally friendly sail will ultimately become a new identity for the complex. It is expected to become a new symbol as the western gate into Paris.” + Shigeru Ban + Jean de Gastines Via Arch Daily Photographs via Luc Boegly & Sergio Grazia

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Giant glass orb in Paris is wrapped with a rotating solar sail that follows the sun

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