10 great green houses
These incredible homes from across North America have been constructed and operate in the most environmentally conscious and beautiful ways.
Wed, Jun 08, 2011 at 06:09 PM
Chrysalis Farm House
Designed by Roland Gundersen at Whole Trees Architecture and Construction, a green design and natural building company. Located in western Wisconsin, this company incorporates carefully chosen, debarked trees into its structures. Each tree is chosen only when it will benefit both the building's structural integrity and when its removal will benefit the forest in which it grows. The Chrysalis Farm House is a passive solar guest house made of whole-tree columns and beams, along with walls made from recycled shipping palettes.
Designed by Michelle Kaufmann. Kaufmann is well-known for her prebuilt and custom homes — all of which focus on sustainability and ease of use. Kaufmann homes, like the Custom Home seen above, use eco-friendly materials, low-energy lighting design, energy-efficient building systems and other green features. All of this along with unique and beautiful design elements come together to create a simple and sustainable way of life for each homeowner.
Designed by Lundberg Design. The Lundberg Cabin is eclectic, sustainable and beautiful. A perpetual work in progress, the Lundberg is a cross between a warehouse and cabin and boasts an overabundance of materials and components salvaged from demolished structures. Among other amazing features is a salvaged 50,000-gallon water tank turned into an outdoor, 14-foot-deep swimming pool, a 3,000-square-foot vegetable garden and large steel sash windows reclaimed from five different remodeling projects.
Designed by DeBoer Architects. The Gatehouse is not only curvy and dreamy in design, but also incorporates many sustainable design features. This one-bedroom passive solar straw-bale guest cottage features earth-plaster walls, radiant-heat floors stabilized with linseed oil, and a woven bamboo-mat ceiling with bamboo trim. While small in size, the open floor plan and rows of windows brighten the entire structure, making it appear more spacious.
Designed by Communitecture Inc. Communitecture specializes in sustainable design, and the Bloom House is a great example, made with locally harvested oak structural columns and salvaged materials from nearby barns. The Bloom House is also interesting due to its unique shape. The home incorporates trapezoids rather than rectangles and "Serpentine lines and ripples of rivers flow through the plan," which celebrates the builder's love of water and fish.
The Remainder House
Designed by Openspace Architecture. The Remainder House was built in a tree-heavy area of British Columbia, but instead of merely tearing out trees to make space, architect Don Gurney built this home in a way that allows people and trees to live together. No trees were removed. This small house instead nestles snugly and naturally into the space allowed by the forest shape, which leaves the land virtually undisturbed. The home also boasts reclaimed Douglas fir wood and reclaimed materials from a warehouse that was already being razed.
Sonoma Coast Remodel
Designed by Arkin Tilt Architects. This is an excellent example of how anyone can remodel green. Features in this Sonoma Coast home remodel include a renewable energy system that meets virtually all the home's needs and even provides emergency power during grid interruptions. New energy-efficient aluminum-clad wood windows were added to the home along with increased insulation levels throughout. Lastly, this remodel uses salvaged materials both inside and out, including the laundry sink, the range-top oven, interior doors and some light fixtures.
Mayne Island cob house
Designed by Cobworks and Cob Cottage Company. The Mayne Island house is the first fully permitted cob house in Canada. Built in 1999 for Hilde Dawe, the Mayne Island cob house is not only adorable and eco-friendly, but so is the back story. "The couple who bought this home had both seen a picture of the house [before they knew each other] and it motivated them to take a cob workshop," says Kit Maloney of Cobworks. "They met at our Baja project in 2004, married the next year and now own the cob house that brought them together."
Designed by Sparano + Mooney Architecture (John Sparano and Anne Mooney). This is a stunning example of green building. Shiny and unique, this home has great views and great green details, including a small footprint, recycled framing, low-VOC paints, concrete radiant floors, EnergyStar dimmable CFLs, Solatubes, and a high-efficiency boiler, among others. To learn more about this amazing structure, visit Jetson Green, which scored a Maryfield Home tour with plenty of pictures.
Designed by Pb Elemental Architecture. The PCI Residence glows, literally — the home's exterior is made up of 100-percent recyclable polycarbonate walls, which illuminate the home from dawn to dusk, as well as a custom LED lighting system. Chris Pardo, cofounder of Pb Elemental Architecture, says the design "was based on the concept of interacting with and utilizing nature." Among other green building techniques, the home incorporates rooftop solar panels, in-floor radiant heat, a rainwater-harvesting system and low-impact materials such as raw concrete and raw steel.
Click for photo credits
Chrysalis: Courtesy Paul Kelley
Custom: Courtesy John Swain
Lundburg Cabin: Courtesy JD Peterson
Gatehouse: Courtesy DeBoer Architects
Bloom House: Courtesy Patrick Donaldson at Communitecture Inc.
Remainder House: Courtesy Don Gurney at Openspace Architecture
Sonoma Coast remodel: Courtesy Ed Caldwell
Mayne Island: Courtesy Kit Maloney/Cobworks
Maryfield Home: Courtesy Bryan Allen
PCI Residence: Courtesy Vicaso\Vista Estate Imaging