Fall House Exterior by Joe Fletcher Photography

Green Home’s Features Make It Part of the Landscape

This coastal home in Big Sur, California, is built to be one with the surrounding landscape. The building is actually embedded in the land, making it an integral part of the coastline. According to the architect, Fougeron Architecture, “The interior is a shelter, a refuge in contrast with the roughness and immense scale of the ocean and cliff.” Sustainable Design Strategies Natural daylight is used in all rooms, including bathrooms, and the design is tailored to maximize solar exposure and…

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Divine Nectar retreat cabin

Earthbag Buildings – Functional to Beautiful

In homage to our previous post on all natural building products, here is a photo collection of earthbag buildings – built from bags of dirt or sand, stacked brick-like, and covered with mud mixed with straw. Divine Nectar retreat cabin – This stunning earthbag cabin was built as part of a retreat center in the desert of Arizona. This is an example of earth-sheltered earthbag building, which involves packing dirt around an earthbag structure and growing grass on top for a…

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Internal Wall Insulation Could Save You and Your Family Up to £460 Per Year

How to Save on Your Energy Bills The recent hike in energy prices has left many families struggling to keep up with inflated rates for gas and electricity. In extreme cases, people are being forced to choose between eating and heating, as the ‘big six’ energy companies dominate the UK energy market and take their cues from each other when it comes to increasing prices. Whether you’re looking to save on your energy bills or do your bit to protect…

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Living as One with the Landscape

Buildings that are beautifully and uniquely designed are only made better when they tie in with their surroundings and bring out their individual landscapes. The following are four examples of buildings that become one with their environment and both bring out the brilliance in the other. Nature, nurture, design and intent all mesh into a space of alluring creativity. The first building is an entryway to an underground mystery space. The building is the Jewel Cave Visitor Center at Yallingup,…

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10 Earth-Friendly Building Materials for Earth Day

Borrowing from Discovery.com’s 2012 top ten list of natural building materials, here are ten earth-friendly building materials, some old and some new. 1. Rock Locally sourced rock is the most earth-friendly, due to short transportation distances. Extraction may be the most energy intense part of the life cycle of this material. Rocks can be mortared together with earthen plasters such as sand and clay or lime. Rock walls have very good thermal mass, which means that they absorb the outside temperature,…

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Shigeru Ban is Awarded The 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Everyone has their heroes, their role-models, their if-I-could-be-like-anyone-it-would-be persons and I am no different. I wrote about his past accomplishments, including his cardboard cathedral and paper tube relief houses on GBE a couple of years ago and now my career hero was given the ultimate award in architecture this past month. He is Shigeru Ban and the award is the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The award goes to a living architect whose work has contributed to humanity and the built environment.…

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New Prefab Book of Note: Prefabulous World

As we have been writing a series about green prefab homes, the timing could be no better for the release of “Prefabulous World – Energy Efficient and Sustainable Homes Around the Globe,” a new book by Sheri Koones. As we have been writing a series about green prefab homes, the timing could be no better for the release of “Prefabulous World – Energy Efficient and Sustainable Homes Around the Globe,” a new book by Sheri Koones. Also, with Earth Day soon to…

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Smart Books for Builders: “Making Better Buildings”

“Making Better Buildings” by Chris Magwood is a smart and user-friendly book for green builders Ask a builder, architect, or contractor to look at the Table of Contents this guide to sustainable construction and they will feel confident in having a book like this on hand. This guide to sustainable construction for homeowners and contractors is well considered and easy to use as a reference tool. Starting with foundations, this tome then covers walls, floor and roof structure, sheathing and cladding…

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Green Prefab Homes – Part II: BioSIPs

This is the second part of our series on green prefabricated homes, and this time we are writing about structurally integrated panels, SIPs and BioSIPs. Of most interest to use from a green and sustainability perspective are BioSIPs., as you will soon discover. Not enough people have an understanding of structural integrated panels (SIPs). Even fewer know about BioSIPs and their potential contribution to the green building industry. In an important white paper, Jacqueline McIntosh and Mark Harrington, at Victoria…

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Guest Post: Living Green in Your Log Home

Log homes are great examples of sustainable homes. The wood used to build the home, when properly managed, can be grown again. The abundance of beetle-killed pine, coupled with potential fire dangers, make log homes a good option for building materials. And who isn’t drawn in by the beauty of a log home. This guest post has been written by John Seifer, who works with Southland Log Homes. Log home owners tend to have an individualistic streak and aren’t afraid…

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Understanding PV Technology and Inverters

Congratulations to Tigo Energy on announcing that its PV optimization solutions for the solar industry reached another milestone. The company reports that its solutions are now operating with over two thousand (2000) different types of inverters from over eighty (80) different suppliers. For anybody on the green building and consulting end of the renewable energy spectrum, this is useful information to have in the archive. There is certainly no ‘one-size-fits-all’ in the way of inverter solutions. Here is the press…

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Green Prefab Homes: Introduction

Prefabricated homes, or kit homes, have been on the homebuilding scene for a long time. But now there are green prefabs. The basic ideas behind using a kit are fairly simple: Reduce design cost Reduce materials cost Eliminate the amount of construction waste Shortened construction time Design simplification Fixed costs, reduced surprises Add green or sustainable considerations to this formula and the idea sounds great, especially when it comes to minimizing waste that’s destined for a landfill. The majority of…

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Shipping Containers and Tree Houses: New Homes to Consider

Many buildings are being re-constructed of existing goods or concepts but in new ways. This article highlights some of those designs that are unique and smart in their creation beginning with the re-use of shipping containers. Articles on Hi Consumption show the 15 greatest shipping container homes on the planet and another article shows some truly innovative grown-up tree houses. The shipping container homes range in size, price and use. Some of them make up the construction of the whole…

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KB Homes Launches Solar-Powered Models in Arizona

Homes designed with renewable energy options continue to become more common. This news release from KB Homes is great news. New homes are a logical place to feature solar power options where the challenge of financing the cost of renewables can be included in the original mortgage loan. Expansion of popular solar initiative gives new homebuyers in the Grand Canyon State the chance to let the sun help pay energy bills KB Home today announced that homebuyers at all of…

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Guest Post: Three Game-Changing Building & Construction Innovations in 2014

Guest writer Michael Craig provides GBE readers with this glimpse of important construction and building innovations he is looking at this year. Radical advancements that will significantly impact building and construction concerns in 2014 and beyond By Michael Craig With the construction industry on the upswing, with 2013 construction starts on the whole advancing 6% to $516.8 billion over the year prior according to McGraw Hill Construction (a division of McGraw Hill Financial), attentions are turning to emerging building methodologies,…

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Prototype Transitional Housing in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a city, like many others, that is facing huge population and industrial growth but does not have housing enough to meet all those needs. There are more than 280,000 individuals living in Hong Kong that are without permanent forms of housing and they resort to building and residing in illegal temporary structures for survival. In 2013, architects AFFECT-T created a micro-dwelling prototype house that could change Hong Kong’s homeless statistic. The built example is a transitional living…

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Water Smart Products: Caroma Profile Smart 305 Dual Flush Toilet With Sink

There are many places we can be smarter about the water we use. Start with the toilet, for one. Give it dual-flush capabilities for starters, then put a sink on top. Featured here is the Caroma Profile Smart Dual Flush Toilet with Sink. Caroma provides this profile information: Unique design and advanced performance make the Caroma Profile Smart with integrated sink the ultimate water saver. After flushing, fresh cold water is directed through the faucet for hand-washing and and drains into…

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