Lets make sustainable housing for everyone – Steve Glenn

For those that don’t know who Steve Glenn is check out this ‘DoLecture” video below and see how his group is putting sustainable building methods and practices to work in Los Angeles and around the globe. The mission is strong and one I believe can be replicated here in Chicago. He starts off by discussing his past, his inspirations and his business mission and vision. He hires an architect and builds his own home using top award-winning architect Ray Kappe and the results are inspiring. 

Here are some of my notes from the video I wanted to share:


  • There are companies that wed process and purpose. Both business imperative and social imperatives. Purposeful businesses. Prius, Whole Foods, Patagonia
  • Golden Rule: believe in a greater social mission with your business models. 
  • Developers are more important than architects. They hire architects to meet their vision. 


  •   GREAT DESIGN: appreciate products with great design (form and function)
  •   HEALTHY & SUSTAINABLE; products that are healthy and built in a sustainable way
  •   NO SUPPLY: can’t find homes that reflect these values

Living Homes Model: 

  •   World-class architects who design standardized Living Homes
  •   Extremely comprehensive (Z6) environmental program
  •   Pre-fab to make homes better, quicker, cheaper and smaller ecological footprint

Ray Kappe LIving Homes (SiArch)

Kieran Timberlake Living Homes

Jim Rouse    Better Places, Better Lives: Autobiography of James Rouse

New Urbanism: Festival Market Places

The Enterprise Board; Grants and loans for affordable housing


4 systems: 

  •   Manufactured (wheels -movable / HUD control)
  •   Modular (built in pieces and assembled on site/ City jurisdiction
  •   Panelized homes
  •   Pre-cut/Kit homes


  1. Time savings 1/2 or at least 1/3 faster than site built
  2. Materials savings/Efficiency (30-40% standard site built waste production vs 3-10% pre-fab waste). Store materials onsite of fabrications
  3. Modules: expensive to ship (air not flat)
  4. Panels ; flat easier to ship; more efficient 
    1. Living Homes uses a combination of Modules and Panels: 
      1. bathrooms/kitchens/utility cores ; LivingHomes uses modules
      2. walls and floors LivingHomes uses pre-fab panels systems
  5. US Buildings:
    1. 39% of All Energy for US goes to Buildings
    2. 71% of electrical consumption
  1. Energy: zero-energy very important
    1. tight envelopes 
    2. energy efficiency
    3. zero water
    4. zero energy
    5. emissions/ IAQ
    6. plants and indoor air quality system
    7. steel is highly recyclable
    8. newsprint insulation

Movable partitions to allow growth

Add rooms and stories

Young adult to family to down size after move out

Zero Ignorance

  • make responsible choices
  • Prius feedback

Lucent Technologies

performance technology and measuring of homes

Homes Sustainability Score Card

Image (image borrowed from www.dolectures.com)


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