Last Dog Days in July

Hard to believe that July will be over next week. August is full of site visits for prospective weeHouses, staff vacations, and getting ready for a Fall full of travel. Alchemy will be at Design Philadelphia in mid-October (details forthcoming), we'll also be hosting two open houses in New York State (yes! VERY exciting) the weekend of October 11, 12. You'll be able to walk-a-wee outside of Albany, NY (see progress photos below) or outside of Esopus, NY. Be sure you're signed up on weeMail to get the detailed announcement we'll send in September.

Also, what's your feedback on our solar/wind options for the weeHouse? About one out of every five phone calls and emails wanted to know about off-grid, or at least grid-optional, operations for the weeHouses. We think we found a great solution in Fusion.

Another question we're often asked is "Can I move my weeHouse later if I buy land elsewhere?" Technically, for a 1x wee, the answer is "yes, you can" but it would require removing the weeHouse from a permanent foundation. Not so easy, and most likely, not too cost-effective. We note that the weeHouse is not a weeWheelie ... it really isn't mobile unless it's designed that way from the very start (see the Saturn weeHouse on our Web site). So, think of your weeHouse as a permanent home—well, at least until you want to build another one!

Speaking of permanent (not) ... this week's Dog Days photo is of Pepsi, a foster-puppy that I'm taking care of for a few weeks 'til she finds a permanent home. Of course she got to come to work one day!



Alchemy’s weeHouse now offers Fusion's add-on solar and wind Energy Kits
July 15, 2008 — MINNEAPOLIS, MN

Alchemy Architects has been creating stimulating, engaging and efficient designs for a wide audience since 1992. Their weeHouse, first produced in 2002, continues to be a design leader in contemporary modular prefab with sixteen built and four more weeHouses scheduled for Fall 2008 installation. The weeHouse “standards,” announced in early 2008, are designed with lighting and appliance features that are highly energy efficient, and are now available with add-on Energy Kits for an even greener “wee”. A typical American home uses about 700kWh per month of power. The Energy Kit alternative on the efficiently designed weeHouse demands less than 260kWh per month of power.

Created by The Fusion Companies of Baltimore, MD, each Energy Kit is scaled, by square footage, to produce enough power for everyday necessities standard in a weeHouse including lighting, refrigeration, hot water, microwave, induction stovetop—as well as televisions, stereos and computers on an intermittent basis. "A weeBit of Fusion Guidebook" offers detailed recommendations as a comprehensive homeowner guide to energy conservation techniques and successful home management of alternative energy systems. In many areas, local incentives and rebates will apply, potentially covering up to 75% of the total cost of the Kit (local installation and permit fees are additional charges). Adding Fusion’s 720W AC Energy Kit to a weeHouse STUDIO or SMALL for $16,999 keeps the total weeHouse STUDIO price to under $100,000. (See Web site for regional pricing.) Typically, the Fusion 720 produces 21.5 kwh/week of power output. This is based on a five-hour daily charging window (results may vary depending on solar insulation levels, weather patterns, shading, collector tilt, among other factors). Other Kits for the larger weeHouses include the Fusion 1440W AC Kit for $23,499 (up to 1100 SF), and the Fusion 1800W AC Kit for $27,999 (up to 1500 SF).

Each Fusion Energy Kit includes (the appropriate): high-efficiency solar panels, charge controller, battery backup bank, professional roof flush mounting hardware (tilt-mounting hardware and top-of-pole mounting hardware kits are also available if needed), battery interconnects, combiner and breakers and inverters. A local, qualified electrician installs them on-site but a Fusion representative is also present to ‘sign-off’ on the final product. Kits come with manufacturers’ warranties on product along with a one-year warranty on installation.

If a weeHouse-Fusion client wants to go completely off-grid, the Whisper 500 small wind turbine is available starting at $9,999 + local installation. This two bladed fiberglass blade incorporates the patented side furling design that optimizes output at any wind speed. A Whisper 500 keeps batteries charged and “lights-on” at all times. Assuming a 12 mph wind, a Whisper 500 will produce as much as 500 kWh/ per month—enough to power the average California home—and it maintains an exclusive 5-yr. warranty.

Alchemy LLC, 856 Raymond Ave., Suite G, St. Paul, MN 55114, (P): 651-647-6650; Web site:
The Fusion Companies, Fusion Modular, P.O. Box 17598, #64145, Baltimore, MD 21297, (P): 866-981-9191

St. Paul, MN — Established in 1992, Alchemy Architects’ mission is to make stimulating, engaging, and efficient design accessible and affordable for a wide audience. Our distinctive hands-on approach to architecture and design combines
a playful design process, collaborative relationships with clients, and partnerships with builders and fabricators, to create
a harmonious blend of site, building, and community. With sustainable practices as a mainstay of our daily work,
Alchemy utilizes recycling and reuse along with building strategies that reduce waste. Our multidisciplinary team draws inspiration from art, literature, history, and leading creative thinkers to create alternative and atypical project solutions. Alchemy’s innovation on the weeHouse prefab system and “tightwad panache” renovations has gained recognition
on an international scale.
Contact: Betsy Gabler, 651-647-6650

Baltimore, MD — Fusion endeavors to design & build the most eco-friendly homes on the planet and make these homes available to everyone. We offer designs ranging from traditional to modern - building both affordable and extremely high-end custom homes. We are a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and build LEED Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum homes. We are also members of the National Association of Home Builders and build NAHB Certified Green Homes. Our
modular homes are 100% constructed by a Certified Energy Star Partner that can also offer Energy Star Qualified Homes. Our team consists of professional architects specializing in sustainable building practices, LEED Accredited Professionals,
NAHB Certified Green Professionals, Energy Star Partners and even Eco-Brokers.

Contact: Wes Sims, President, 866-981-9191

Hot Fun in the Sun

This week was busy for the Alchemy staff. We received our first ever dental office commission which brings with it all kinds of interesting design challenges including (by priority of the Alchemists):
1. SOUND control (who wants to hear that drill?)
2. INTERESTING CEILINGS (after all, what'cha lookin' at while you're in that chair, anyhow?)
3. BUDGET (the equipment ain't cheap)

We're also working on a new prospective weeHouse-on-a-rooftop project for Brooklyn, NY. And having an amazing time managing 3 weeHouses 'on-the-line' at our various factory partners. We're also hot-to-trot for some partnership ideas we're getting from The Fusion Companies. They've put together solar 'kits' for each size weeHouse. These'd be optional accessories for the wee, but who doesn't love a good accessory? Especially when it's new, affordable, and well, helps you stay 'hot'?

Geoffrey Warner attended the MoMA's Opening Night for the Home Delivery prefab show. It was a wonderful night to be an architect (well, most nights are) and more-than-just-interesting to be able to see what others are thinking about for the future of prefab.

We were very sad to say good-bye to Siena (see previous Dog Days of Summer post). After 14+ years of being the primary AlchePup, she was too worn out to go further. ¡Ciao! Bella Siena.

For a breather in the Dog Days posts, thanks to the owners who are also graciously gifting us with photos of their weeHouse progress, we're pleased to have you meet a future weeHouse inhabitant:

Greetings from Katahdin, a MaineCoonCat named after Mount Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine. Called Kat-ah-din by people local to the peak and by the Penobscot Indians, the term means "The Greatest Mountain". Katahdin does live up to its name but generally spends most days in wee spaces like this ... and expects to be perr-fectly happy in my new weeHouse this Fall.

Door Frames In!

Two more pictures documenting the foundation build for one of our upstate NY weeHouses. I love how, when the foundation is finished, you really understand the footprint of the house. For more pictures, scroll below.

Hot Dog Paddling

It's hot here today ... as in 90+ degrees! Guess that's to be expected during the dog days of summer, but since it's sometimes minus 20 in the winter, too, it can freak a body out. Recently, everyone's favorite little white dog, Rocketdog, took the plunge with Scott in, of all places, Lake Superior. Hot Dog, Cool Water. Great way to spend a summer day!

We're also working on a pool house that I thought you might like to see. More details to come, but meanwhile, feel free to dream (along with us) on owning one of your own someday!

Alchemist At Large!

Yes, that's me! Just a few days ago, I was oh-so-casually reclined against some pretty jaw-dropping Incan masonry in el Peru glorioso. (Note the 'weeCasa es suCasa' tshirt.) Sigh. But I guess if a girl must return from the vacation of her nerdy-architect dreams, serving up weeHouses is a pretty good gig to come back to!