Lake Titicaca is nearly 400 meters above sea level. About 2,000 Uros people live on about 50 artificial reed Islands made of floating reeds in the lake. They make a living by fishing and tourism. The boats and houses are all made of reed. They have to pile fresh reed over them every several months as the old reed decays.
The Anuak people live in the northwest part of Omo valley. They build their houses one per family and gather in the village. In the center of the village, they grind corn into flour to cook rice porridge.
Afar people are nomad living in Great Rift Valley. Their houses are called Bulla, which is a transferable compact dome shaped structure. It is built of straw, which is easy to carry.
In the southern part of Morocco, the houses are made of the bricks. Water is mixed with clay soil and placed into a mold to dry under the Sun. The same clay is used to paste bricks one by one and then, paste the clay over the bricks to build the house. The bricks can keep the room temperature at comfortable level, even as the outside temperatures change drastically during a day.
In the Village of Lahu Tribe, nearly 5,000 people live in houses on the steep land 1,000 meters above sea level. The floor of the house is 2 meters high and under the floor, they keep cow, pigs and chicken. The houses are built with wood panels crossing each other.
The fishermen of Saba in the Borneo Island live in a village on the water. They use the timber of mangrove tree which has the durability against the sea water to build the water structures. The houses are officially issued addresses and family registrations.
The people in the south of Philippines used to live in the tree houses. From the tree houses, they could spot the enemies and protect from poisonous snakes and wild animals. They also enjoyed the cooler and drier air. The houses had to be rebuild as the trees grew. These tree houses are now used for meetings and resting.
In the dry Fujian area, the houses are built with hard solid soil walls. Built about 300 years ago, The Hakka family built the town houses surrounded by the hard walls to protect from the outsiders. The houses are 4-storied and hundreds of people live together under the same roof. One townhouse belongs to the whole family with the same last name. Hakka family members with a different last name are not allowed to live there.
Ger is the Mongolian transferable nomad house. They move the house when their domestic animals have eaten the grass in that area. The main 2 poles in the center support the house with the framework, which is covered with the white cloth filled with wool and hair of the domestic animals. In the center, the ceiling can be opened for the smoke coming from the stove. During the severe winter, a double cover is placed on the ceiling.
Ondol is the traditional under floor heating system which has been used in Korean peninsula where the winter is very severe. The heat from the stove in the kitchen goes through the pathway under the floor. They use the firewood or straw for the stove. The entrance of the house is made smaller to prevent cold air coming into the house. They sleep on the warm floor with the mat and they do not need to wear room shoes. In the modern Korean house, Ondol is still used for hot water.
In the tropical climate of Far North Queensland, Australia, cyclones regularly threaten the homes and lives of residents. The Stamp House can withstand the power of a Category 5 cyclone. Its cantilevered arms prevent water from leaking into the house, making this structure one of the safest (and probably driest) places in FNQ to be in the event of a cyclone.
The house is situated on a tiny island in the middle of a pond, accessed by a long walkway over the pond. The structure is made up of a mixture of new and recycled concrete,
Modernism meets traditional environmental systems in this elegant dwelling seemingly sliced into the ground around it, drawing on geothermal advantages without forcing its residents entirely underground. Dubbed the Edgeland Residence, this project rehabilitates an existing brownfield site and “takes advantage of the earth’s mass to maintain thermal comfort throughout the year” with an “insulated green roof and a 7‐foot excavation‐ gaining benefits from the earth’s mass to help it stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the
Pruning a vertical surface can be a tricky proposition at best, so species selection done from the outset is a crucial key to success. You need rugged and robust plants fit for the region, for starters. The architect thought carefully about the plants picked for the outside faces of this stunning four-story structure, selecting varieties that would weather well and grow (but not too much!) in their environs in Lisbon, Portugal.
The result is a green wrap that provides shade, fresh air and, critically, appealing aromas – smell is
The perfect nature retreat is one that allows you to experience your natural surroundings without actually disturbing nature. Isolée, a low-impact nature retreat seamlessly blends nature with technology in a self-sufficient dream house. The three-story home is meant to touch and influence nature as little as possible. It is tall rather than long to minimize the home’s physical footprint on its surroundings. The structure is supported by four legs which lift the home off of the ground; stabilizing poles extend into the earth to hold the
What looks like an imposing, monolithic black volume from the outside is filled with air, light and greenery on the inside. Casa CorManca is a modern, sustainable home in Mexico City with vertical vegetation spanning three stories in an interior courtyard. The green wall helps control the temperature inside the home, and brings a sense of energy and vitality into the space.
The plot of land the house sits on measures just 39 by 42 feet, so creative measures had to be taken in order to create a spacious home for a family that takes
Slightly-squiggly lines divide the multi-hued organic building blocks of this crisp-edged mountain home, tying it into the surrounding landscape of rolling hills and rough cacti. A set of boxes lifts and falls, following the slope of the site and together forming an unobtrusive but distinctively man-made one-floor residence.
Thick solid structural walls frame large floor-to-ceiling expanses of glass, a binary approach that leaves little by way of architectural detail to obscure views of nature (and maximizes solar heat gain in the
This forest structure that takes site-specific design to new heights, bending its entire layout around trees and, in a few cases, even building them into the structure itself. The remote home in Japan preserves the existing forest of pine and cherry trees, consequently creating a series of small interconnected volumes that break up the home into a series of cozy spaces.
Much of the structure is also lifted off the ground, making the experience of using the connective rooms and pathways feel like more like passing through the forest
Despite its colorful mix of materials, a simple and strong concept stands behind the design of this house: the idea of raising up the existing ground and making it into the roof, in turn intended to nurse native plants.
Set in central California, the building uses reclaimed bark (maybe a bit rough for facades, but it does make for a sustainable cladding system), which further helps the structure look like a part of its natural surroundings.
The structure itself is situated to take advantage of the down-slope view of the ocean,
A team of students at the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University have joined forces to find a simple but effective sustainable pre-fab home that can be transported anywhere, even to remote locations, and assembled on the spot. The homes aren’t luxurious by any standard, but they are strong enough to withstand harsh weather comfortably. The main part of the home – the middle module – contains a kitchen, bathroom, and dining area. The additional modules on either side contain an office, a living area and bedrooms.
Twenty-five students from Sweden’s Chalmers University designed and built a sustainable shared home that is meant to emphasize shared space while providing private spaces for the residents as well.
At only 60 square meters, you might not expect this small home to hold four residents comfortably. The secret to making this home work is to have the shared spaces do double duty. Built-in furniture in the middle of the home actually supports the private sleeping lofts above. The downstairs public spaces are spacious and the upstairs
In practice building a whole house out of containers can prove challenging. In this design, part of the solution was to use containers as needed then frame with other materials around them.
The resulting structure, made for a family of seven, includes three containers and a series of semi-outdoor paths, walls and rooms situated around and in between them. These are contained inside a simple metal framework, spanned by doors, windows and translucent panels to create the needed degree of shade and insulation.
Two shipping containers are the foundation for a single-family home made almost entirely of reclaimed post-consumer materials. Imaginative reuse of waste products like aluminum soda cans, champagne corks and recycled glass have helped lower the carbon emissions by 86% compared to the average home.
Textural reclaimed materials contrast with white surfaces on the interior, including cork tile floors, bath tiles made of recycled glass and wall panels consisting of wood chips that are by-products of various processes and pressed together
This modern prefab dwelling is adaptable to every location.It was designed for the hospitality industry as a kind of green alternative to large hotels. Atop the solid stone base, a shell of sustainable material houses only the basics: a bedroom and bathroom, along with a bit of storage space. The suite is a stylish refuge and easily adaptable to the cabin’s location. Two or more cabins can be grouped together to form a chateau perfect for an eco-friendly weekend getaway.
A series of metal poles “ties” the oversize eave to the
One of the goals of eco-friendly construction is to create homes that not only use fewer resources than conventional homes, but actually produce more energy than they consume. The house, located in Kladnica, Bulgaria, is energy efficient while minimizing its impact on the picturesque mountainous surroundings.
The home was built on a solid concrete foundation with concrete supporting frames and garage roof, but the rest of the structure is lightweight steel and timber. Thanks to excellent insulation and sun protection, the home needs
Solar panels can be used as your source of electrical energy. Aside from economy, it can also protect from fires and short circuits. Solar panels are placed on the roof facing the east to west in order to make sure that you will get enough solar energy. If you haven’t placed solar panels yet, make sure that your roof is designed with this provision. Pick a roofing material that will reflect radiant heat like a light-colored standing seam metal roof.
Depending on the function of your room, you can choose from a variety of flooring materials like marble, parquet, granite, terrazzo, ceramic, wood and bamboo. But if you really want an eco-friendly flooring, it would be better to use laminated wood and bamboo especially for your bedroom.
Choose wall materials that can absorb solar heat like natural or fabricated brick. Bricks made up of sand, lime, cement and others are good for they are fire-resistant, absorb sun’s heat and have low water absorption. Some use ceramics for their walls which is also good for it is low in maintenance and could create an elegant look.
Green roofing is cost efficient and attractive. Using a green roofing system can give extra insulation that helps keep energy consumption down. It can be used on some parts of the roof or for the entire roof. If you will not use green grass roofs, you can still go green by controlling storm water runoff with perimeter drains, gutters and subsurface drainage systems. You can collect rain water using rainwater catchment so that it can be used for washing clothes, flushing toilets, watering plants and irrigating landscapes. Do not use asphalt
Most green homes have open design layouts in order to reduce construction cost. It also improves light and ventilation. It would also be easier to arrange your furniture if you have an open space. If you would like to have a touch of nature in some parts of the house, you can have them directly connected to an outdoor space for gatherings.
Choose room locations by considering the mount of natural light and air that could enter it. You can also take into consideration the amount of heat that can enter your room in some time of the day. But you also have to consider the usage of the room in order to determine which ones will need enough heat and cold.
Windows should have wood or aluminum frames. Aluminum can be reused, free of toxins, energy-saving, cost-effective and free of cancer causing substances. The size of windows can be adjusted in relation to the mass of walls and floors that receives direct or indirect light. Place roof overhangs, canopies or awnings to shade your room from excessive heat. Try to determine the direction of prevailing winds and use casement windows on these areas for it can help hollowing out air that can give natural ventilation.
If you are serious about having a green home, use materials that make your home environmental friendly. You can make use of cement, ceramics, bricks, aluminum, glass, and steel as the main raw material in building your home. Before, wood was the primary material for green homes but due to the issue on illegal logging, wood was replaced by mild steel and aluminum. Mild steel can be used for roof trusses, walling, ceiling and others. Mild steel is stainless, lighter, more robust, easy to install and would last longer. You can also use LED
It is important to consider how your home is positioned in the location you have chosen. Make sure that it is aligned on the east-west axis and the windows face true north or true south. For places with hot climates, place large windows at the north side to scoop in cool air and spread light. On the south side, have smaller windows and have shades for direct sunlight by using canopies and roof overhang. For cooler climates, minimize window sizes on the north side to minimize heat loss and larger windows on the south side to let more sunlight
Before you plan in making your home, you have to determine which site you would like to use. Observe if the area inspires you and suites to your wants. It should also be able to provide space for solar access, gardens, privacy, water and air. Since a green home is built to last, you need to look for a land you truly like where you can spend most of your time.
High atop a 230-foot seaside cliff outside Sydney, Australia, the 3,498-square foot Holman House is a palace fit for a rock star. The plan is open, maximizing the benefits of sunlight and sea breezes. The concrete core acts as a thermally insulated box, reducing need for heating, even in the mild climate. The lower areas are of rough stone, blending into the local rock. The interior furnishings are natural materials.
The design clearly pay homage to Phillip Johnson’s iconic Glass House, which is now more than 50 years old. Yet the goal of creating more seamless integration with the surrounding environment, as well as leaving a smaller footprint, are clearly as relevant as ever. The 4,090-square foot X House near Quito, Ecuador is like an expanded, updated Glass House, oriented around a central courtyard.
Designed by Arquitectura X, the X House is recyclable, and features water-saving fixtures and efficient evaporative cooling.
Perched on a steep slope above Tomales Bay in Inverness, California, this unique home was inspired by the rustic character of its surroundings. Designed by Studios Architecture to flow with the natural contours of the hillside, the house is flooded with natural light. It is made with locally sourced pine and takes advantage of passive solar heating and cooling, supplemented with efficient (and cozy!) radiant floors. The 1,840-square foot home also features water-saving technology.
325 square feet
Obie G. Bowman, Chris Heath
Gold Beach, Oregon
This small, off-grid cabin was designed as a guest house, and visitors are rewarded with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. Its “A-frame” shape helps it weather a demanding climate, including winds up to 90 miles per hour.
The small home is powered by solar panels and features gorgeous, locally sourced cedar. The dark concrete floor slab serves as a thermal mass that helps store heat during the day, releasing it in the evening.
70 square feet
FLOAT Architectural Research and Design
Built for a writer who wanted to channel his own inner Thoreau, the tiny Watershed House has got to offer some of the most stylish living available in 70 square feet. Reducing a cramped feeling, the cabin has lots of openings to let the light and the scenery in.
Watershed is built in a prefabricated process that reduces waste and disturbance to the site. The polycarbonate roof provides shading and diffuses the light, and the windows are double
387.5 square feet
Hangar Design Group
Would you believe that this space-efficient design features two bedrooms, a kitchen and two bathrooms?
The small-but-comfortable house is prefabricated off site from recyclable metal cladding and wood. Several skylights provide illumination and ventilation, and the plumbing and electrical systems are designed to leave no visible mark on the terrain should the house be picked up and moved to a new vista.
The average person will use anywhere between 5 to 8 gallons of water per minute while showering, and taking shorter showers is one way simple to cut down on excess water and energy use. But if you’re someone who finds themselves transported to another world when the H2O starts to flow, don’t fret, there’s still hope for you to meet your water-saving targets. The Efergy Shower Timer and Alarm is a clever little gadget that is able to monitor the amount of water going doing the drain as you lather up. Quickly and easily calibrate it to
While ample windows are a great way to bring natural light into a living space, they also are the cause of heat loss during the winter and heat build-up during the summer. Pair these two elements together and you’ll often find yourself needing to pump up the heat or cooling to keep your home comfortable. While many don’t think of blinds as anything more that a way to block out the sun, the reality is that an efficient set of shades has the power to cut your energy bill all year long. Honeycomb shades are your best bet when it comes to
The average American household spends more than $2,200 annually on energy bills, and nearly half of that amount is part due to to heating and cooling. One of the easiest ways to dramatically cut down on this number is to install a programmable thermostat. Not only are they inexpensive (some cost as little as $25), but unlike their predecessors, they’re are intuitive, easy to use, and ever-programmable to meet changing needs and erratic schedules. Once installed they can save you about $180 a year — not to mention alleviate some
Cut energy usage and create some ambiance in the bedroom, family room or kitchen with the Maestro C.L Dimmer for Lutron. This sustainable, award-winning design is geared for use with incandescent and halogen bulbs, as well as dimmable CFLs and dimmable LEDs. This dimmer offers customizable delayed fade-to-off, which lets you leave a room before the lights go out. And we’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: switching out incandescent bulbs in favor of more energy efficient ones have the potential to cut your energy bill by
We’re all guilty of it, forgetting to turn off lights. If this is you, or someone you know (like your kids), consider employing Lutron‘s Maestro Occupancy/Vacancy Sensing Switch (fun fact: they are the inventors of the dimmer switch!). The handy gadget adds convenience and energy savings to any room in your home by automatically turning lights on when you enter the room and off after a period of inactivity. Using a proprietary sensing technology to ensure lights stay on when the room is occupied, the sensor features ambient
Many people would love to install a complete photovoltaic system to power their home, but they either lack the space or money to do so. One much less space-intensive—and inexpensive—alternative is the 16.8-Watt Solar Charger Kit from Voltaic. This handy system features a V60 battery that is able to charge everything from laptops to tablets to cameras to several cell phones at once, and its portable and lightweight design makes it easy to move around to wherever you need power. Moreover, if any of the recent natural disasters have
It’s a tough housing market. The nation is awash in anxiety over mortgage defaults, credit problems, debate over bailouts and haggling over the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
People are staying in homes longer, rather than flipping houses, and they are now investing in their houses and buying bigger-ticket items. In a trend that at first seems counterintuitive given the weak housing market, many homeowners are spending considerable amounts of money in green building features, such as energy efficiency upgrades and
In many areas of the country, water use for irrigation exceeds indoor consumption, averaging more than 50% of total residential consumption in the U.S. So, while installing water-efficient fixtures inside a home is an important step toward water efficiency, addressing outside use should be at the top of your list, especially if your projects are in drought-prone locations.
But where outfitting a home with efficient bath fixtures is pretty straightforward, designing and installing water-efficient landscaping and irrigation can be
Prefab is often synonymous with cheap and shoddy when it comes to homebuilding. Houses partly built in a factory are known for their low costs and fast construction. You just need some land to build on. The manufacturer simply delivers the home in pieces and sets it up. But like many construction advancements, prefab homes have come a long way in recent years, making them attractive to even affluent buyers. Prefabrication techniques reduce waste, making it a more eco-friendly homebuilding method, and factory precision keeps modern clean
Do you know where your financial “power spots” are? The contemporary methods of feng shui associate prosperity issues with the back left corner of any space. Stand at your front door facing into the house; your wealth area is at the back of the house on the left-hand side. There’s also a wealth area within each room: facing in from the doorway, it’s the corner area in the back of the room on the left-hand side. Now that you’ve identified your money power spots, here are some quick and easy ways to apply feng
1. Hang a wind chime outside the front door.
2. Never attach dead or dried plants to the door.
3. The path leading to the front door should be curved, never straight.
4. The front hall should be appealing – the paint fresh and a vase of flowers near the door whenever possible.
5. The area in front of the house and the door should be uncluttered.
6. If the front door looks straight through the house to the back door, block the view with a large plant or piece of furniture. Otherwise, the chi (good energy)
Replacing your incandescent light bulbs with the EnergyStar rated compact fluorescent variety all over the house can save you $100 per year, according to the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH).
True, buying new bulbs does take an initial investment, but Compact Fluorescent light bulb is a simple way of making a big change at a low cost in the energy efficiency of your home. Most home improvement stores carry these bulbs, which use 70 percent less energy than regular
Have you bothered to look around your attic space to see if all areas contain insulation? Even a small area with limited or no insulation — or even insulation that has been damaged or compressed — can significantly decrease overall effectiveness. The U.S. Department of Energy says that adding insulation to the attic is relatively easy and very cost effective.
To find out if you have enough attic insulation, measure the thickness of the insulation. If it is less than R-22 (7 inches of fiber glass or rock wool or 6 inches of
Do you know what one of the top 5 leading health risks are in the US according to the EPA? Try indoor air.
That’s right, the air in your house. And one of the leading causes of that problem are the paints, varnishes and solvents we use containing VOC’s. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound and has been a key component of the composition of oil based paint and can be a problem even in traditional latex based paints.
Exposure to VOC’s in paint can trigger asthma attacks, eye irritation and respiratory
Many flooring, cabinetry, countertops and other interior finishing materials Such as Formaldehyde-free flooring and cabinets, natural linoleum floors, etc. can also be considered green. Although not all products will carry a certification label, many are still considered ecologically friendly based on the raw materials that are used, the ability to recycle the end product and their low VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions.
Bamboo, cork and eucalyptus flooring products are all excellent choices for the home as they are sustainable
You may love the forceful flow of water at your faucets, toilets and showerheads, but did you know that installing aerators on them could cut your annual water consumption by more than half?
Toilets installed 15 years ago use more than twice the amount of water than the newer low-flow models. Even if you have older toilets, however, you can adjust your float valves to permit a lower water flow into the tank.
New toilets have redesigned bowls and tanks that use less water but function more efficiently than first-generation
What is already in place in your home that could be a drain on energy? Is it that old refrigerator in the garage? Did you know that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that one older appliance (such as your trusty old fridge) can cost you as much as $150 more per year than an energy-efficient model? Plan a budget to slowly replace all your “energy hog” appliances with new energy saving models and you’ll thank yourself later on.
If you are in the market to upgrade any of your major appliances, consider purchasing
On demand water heaters (Tankless) eliminate the need for a tank of hot water to be kept heated at all times, plus a solar water heater on the roof. Every day you get about 40 gallons of hot water for free. Tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand at a preset temperature rather than storing it, which reduces or eliminates standby losses. Replacing an electric water heater with a solar model can reduce costs by up to 80 percent a year, and over the 20-year lifespan of the appliance will prevent
Sustainable homes are those that incorporate sustainable or recycled building materials into the design. They also use renewable energy sources wherever possible, and rely on eco-friendly furnishings, paints, appliances, and cleaning products. Residents of sustainable homes also often try to incorporate sustainable living into their everyday lives. They look for new ways to shrink waste, conserve energy, and reduce their carbon footprint. Here are a few items to consider:
Smaller is better:
Sustainable architecture is based on the idea that the design of a building or home should have the least impact on the environment as possible.
People who are interested in living a greener lifestyle, but who don’t have the resources to build a new sustainable house, can improve the sustainability of an existing structure. They can convert one area of their home at a time, or they can hire a green building specialist to help with a building overhaul. Materials and furnishings commonly used in sustainable building include
A great part of Feng Shui lies in having good design, but interesting architecture will sometimes get in the way of this since Feng Shui depends upon how Chi moves in and around a building and the effect that this has upon people. There are seven principles that this will affect and thus it is important to consider each of these principles individually.
1. There are many floor plans in which architects will intentionally place doorways or windows directly opposite of one another. Some architects may line an entire wall with windows.
These are just a few definitions of environmental Architecture that are becoming reality, hopefully, leading the human race into a way of life that could be sustained for many more centuries to come.
What Is “Adaptive Reuse”?
Old buildings often outlive their original purposes. Adaptive reuse, or re-use, is a process that adapts buildings for new uses while retaining their historic features. An old factory may become an apartment building. A rundown church may find new life as a restaurant… And
Tomorrow’s homes are on the drawing board. New materials and new technologies are reshaping the way we build. Floor plans are changing to accommodate the changing patterns of our lives.
1. Earth-Friendly Home Design
The most exciting and most important trend in home design is the increased sensitivity to the environment. Architects and engineers taking a new look at ancient building techniques that used simple, bio-degradable materials. Today’s “earth houses” are proving comfortable,
What exactly is green architecture?
Green architecture, also known as sustainable design, is simply a method of design that minimizes the impact of building on the environment. It can be organized into several areas of application, as follow:
Green buildings are not only be designed for a present use, but consideration is also be given to future uses as well. An adaptable structure can be “recycled” many times over the course of its useful life. The materials
Buildings made with earth are economical, energy-saving, environmentally-friendly, and sustainable. Earth architecture includes adobe, cob, straw, and compressed earth blocks.
Compressed Earth Block
Compressed Earth Blocks, or CEBs, are construction blocks made with clay, sand, and a stabilizing ingredient such as lime or Portland cement. The earth mixture is poured into a hydraulic press machine. Since they are machine-made, compressed earth blocks are uniform in size and shape.
Earth-Friendly, Energy-Efficient Design helps slow Global Warming
The most exciting houses being built today are energy-efficient, sustainable, and thoroughly green. From solar-powered dwellings to homes underground, some of these new houses are entirely “off the grid,” generating more power than they actually use. But even if we aren’t ready for a radical new house, we can lower utility bills through energy-efficient remodeling.
Using only power from the sun, these