In exactly one month, open voting will begin for Google’s 10^100 contest, that asked inventors to come up with ideas to change the world, and help as many people as possible. You can already find some of the ideas online; one particularly intriguing one is the Vitruvian Building System.
Pictured above is just one of several home designs that Vitruvian is working on. Instead of typical sheetrock walls, the main component of a Vitruvian building is super-insulating foam panels, that are prefabricated and can be fit into place at a construction site. Vitruvian believes the improved insulation that results is more than a marginal improvement: Buildings produce 30% of our greenhouse gas emissions. If every new house built until 2030 used the Vitruvian system, the company thinks it would be equivalent to taking 80 million cars off the road. Granted, that’s a pretty wild assumption. But if Vitruvian gets 5% market share? Four million less cars is nothing to sneeze at. Vitruvian believe that its system would be the fastest, cheapest way to fight carbon emissions in the U.S.
The business case is fairly compelling. For all the talk of LEED certified building and energy efficient home innovations, there are few one-stop, mass-market solutions to green building. The choices are mostly: Hire a (very expensive) LEED certified architect, or buy a high-design prefab. Neither of those options is open to the overwhelming majority of home builders in the U.S.