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Modern design and sustainability in Lakeview

Some new construction on Harrison Avenue in Lakeview may have caught your eye, but you may not realize it's a modern house in more than just looks.

A brilliant, yellow porch leaps out at you.

"People often ask about the little oval windows," Architect Judith Kinnard said. 

Some have dubbed it the Swiss cheese house, but Kinnard and design partner Tiffany Lin calls it the Sunshower house.

"We decided that those two themes the sun and water collection would play a huge role," she said. 

Solar panels bask at 22 degrees to the southern sky and rainwater drains into the funnel shaped roof.

"We have one gutter."

That singular pipe drains through a filtration system into a rubber reservoir beneath the house for later use.

In New Orleans regulations require that rainwater can only be used for irrigation, but in other parts of the country and world that collected water could be used for daily household use.

A dividing wall between the kitchen and living area is made of clay so it absorbs moisture and it's cool to the touch so it actually helps regulates the climate in the house.

The entire house is designed to reduce energy use, be strong and quick to build; the goal of a design contest in 2010.

"I think we were the only women who entered and we won," Kinnard said.

Oceansafe makes insulated steel panels. They partnered with Woodward Design and Build, C & G Construction and The Regen Group to create housing that can be shipped into disaster areas as quick shelter kits, but function as permanent housing.

"It's a four inch panel and this is how it's made and it's very much like what you see around a cooler wall," Richard Dupont with Woodward said. 

The walls can with stand 155 mile per hour winds and it's off the grid features make it more likely to survive and thrive in a future disaster.

"The reason why he targeted this market place is because New Orleans is growing out of this storm event and there are a lot of creative and innovative ideas that have come out of Katrina that we all experienced," he said. "We had to bring stuff in from far away so when you forget something on a job site you have to go make that long trip, with this product everything is delivered you don't have to make those second and third trips."

This project has a global market with interest in countries like South Africa, Iraq, Haiti, Brazil and Japan.

The green aspects just make it more desirable.

"We've been all focused on cars and other consumption devices, but buildings are the biggest consumers. The more we do to reduce energy consumption, demand on water systems, the better we will ultimately have an impact on the earth," Dupont said.

It's a local home with a potentially global impact. The Sunshower house is still a work in progress. Dupont says it's his job to figure out how much a home like this will cost once all of the options are considered.

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