3 Homes Showcasing New-- and Gorgeous-- Green Construction
Many homebuyers today want to reduce our impact on the environment as well as the size of our utility bills and remodeling costs. Green construction then is a win-win for us. It’s a especially a win-win when it’s not just ecologically and economically responsible, but gorgeous as well. Today I showcase 3 unusually beautiful eco-conscience houses, and give you some links to similar resources as those used to make these homes come to (green) life.
Designed by Pb Elemental Architecture to “interact with and utilize nature, this home makes us of solar and radiant heat, raw steel and concrete, LED lighting and a rainwater-harvesting system. And if those walls seem to glow, that’s because they do—literally.
The PCI House’s exterior walls are 100% recyclable polycarbonate walls, drawing in and reflecting natural light. This latter resource, new to me, is interesting. Polycarbonate fashioned into walls gives several advantages to eco/econ-aware homeowners. The material is extremely durable, able to stand up to most of mother nature’s more common beatings without wearing as other more common wall materials do over time. It is also a natural insulator, keeping the home cooler in hot weather and warmer in cold weather. That same insulating quality works with sound as well, creating a quiet oasis in your home.
Interested? Here are some links to get the look—or at least get close to it.
The Remainder House
The Remainder House was designed and built by Openspace Architecture in a heavily forested portion of British Columbia. Instead of clear cutting a lot, these architects opted not to cut down even one tree. The home is actually smaller than it looks, because of the ingenious way it rests in spaces between the existing foliage. The wood and other materials used in the actual construction of the home come nearby demolition or reclaimed sources.
Reclaimed wood has some amazing properties worth mentioning. Because the wood comes from old trees, harvested long ago, and then re-used for a modern application, the wood itself offers increased strength, stability and durability. Wikipedia explains that “The increased strength of reclaimed wood is often attributed to the lack of air pollution that existed up until the 20th century as well as the wood often being harvested from virgin growth timber, which had hundreds of years to grow before man touched them.”
The wood also performs better in homes than young wood from freshly cut trees because reclaimed wood has been exposed, many times over, to changes in humidity. Thus it's unlikely to swell, contract, expand, or crack in response to climate change, and is better suited for use with radiant heating systems.
Love the eco-cabin effect? Here are some links to get you started:
Resting gloriously on the Gualala River in CA, The Lundberg Cabin, creation of Lundberg Design, was fashioned mostly of material salvaged from numerous demolition and remodeling sites. Though the entire home charms me, I am truly in love this 14-foot deep swimming pool, which began live as a 50,000 gallon redwood water tank, was reclaimed, and brought to the cabin. It joins a 3,000 square foot veggie garden to complete the effect of “living off the land” (natural and human-made).
Reclaimed redwood should be of interest to any homeowner who a) lives in a rainy climate; b) wants to add some kind of water feature to his/her home; or c) loves the unique grain and hue of redwood in general. Reclaimed redwood, just like other forms of reclaimed wood, is older and thus more stable and enduring than new wood, with the added feature of being extremely rot-resitant.
- Salvaged Water Tanks:
Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in theSan Francisco Bay AreaandPacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert