Last week, Green Building Advisor’s Martin Holladay published an excellent, thought-provoking piece on the bad habit of bestowing certain single-family building projects as the “Greenest Home in [enter specific city, state, region, country here].” I myself am guilty of partaking in the phenomenon and, as Holladay details, while most of these superlative-worthy homes may sport impressive, energy-curbing bells and whistles, they're predominately larger, more expensive, and more luxurious than the average single-family American home.
Pointing out that the greenest homes can be found in rural Asia, South America, and Africa and that most Americans would balk at the idea of living in these truly green homes, Holladay writes: … “it's time to throw in the towel when it comes to the Greenest Home Olympics. The contest was won long ago by a poor family in Brazil, Tanzania, or Laos. It's going to be really hard for an American architect to win a gold medal in this event.”
Hot on the tail of Holladay’s post on green home grandstanding, Preston over at Jetson Green has unearthed a 2009 video tour of Michael and Dot Rea’s Zero Carbon House, a super-insulated home located in the North Isles of the Shetland Islands that "NBC Nightly News" throws into the running for the title of greenest home in the world (the Daily Mail also dubbed it as "Britain's first eco home" back in 2008).
Of course, bestowing the Zero Carbon House as the greenest home in the world isn’t exactly fair nor is it true. Whatever the case, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the three-bedroom home, complete with a 1,000-square-foot hydroponic green house and EV charging station, is most likely the greenest abode on the windswept island of Unst (population 720 as of 2001).
Superlatives aside, Zero Carbon House is a fascinating project, particularly due its challenging location, that I wasn’t familiar with previously. Take a short video tour of the home in the video below and head on over to the Zero Carbon House website for even details.
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