Over the last year, in addition to covering “typical” green home building projects, I’ve blogged about green garden sheds, treehouses, barnsconvents, mobile homes, cave residences, and floating apartment complexes. Yet somehow, green garages haven’t really come up. Until now.

Yesterday, Jetson Green blogger extraordinaire Preston Koerner featured a green garage prototype — called appropriately, Green Garage — in Oak Park, Illinois, that’s totally worth sharing. It seems that with this particular project sustainability comes first, then style, and then car storage … reversed priorities it seems for most newly built garages.

The Green Garage, designed by architect Tom Bassett-Dilley, is built from FSC-certified lumber, a salvaged concrete slab, and siding made from both recycled content steel and salvaged cedar. There’s also a beautiful living green roof designed to accommodate rain barrels surrounding the structure. And the best part? The garage’s open design includes a spacious patio that doubles as a second parking space for guests.

 Here’s Bassett-Dilley’s thoughtful philosophy behind the project prototype:

The inspiration for this project arose out of our work with smaller alley-accessed residential lots in Chicago and its older suburbs (such as Oak Park and Evanston), which pose the same challenge: how to make a meaningful back yard with what little space remains between garage and house. Many of these lots either have old and failing, or new plastic garages, neither of which really benefit their lot. We see the garage as potentially transformative to the back yard environment and experience. Rebuilding also gives the opportunity to recycle and introduce sustainable technology, such as geothermal wells under the new slab or photovoltaic solar collectors on the roof: the garage can be a power plant for the house. Unlike the ubiquitous cheap vinyl garages, the Green Garage is built to last, using as many local resources as are available. In keeping with our firm’s philosophy, each project is site-specific, making a meaningful place by linking users to their environment in delightful ways. While these prototypes are rendered as garden structures, like mini-barns, we can also adjust the architectural language (while maintaining the green garage principles) in the case of historically significant properties. 
I totally dig it. What are your thoughts on green garages? Do you think making an uninhabited extension of your home as sustainable as possible is important? Or would you rather just concentrate on the home itself, not where you park your car(s)? 

Via [Jetson Green]

Photos/Images: Tom Bassett-Dilley Architect, Ltd

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

More than just a parking space
Can car storage be sustainable? Certainly -- check out this green garage with a garden-friendly design that features a living roof and more.