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Today's Eco-Friendly Home

In the past, being eco-friendly required living off-the-grid, building a geodesic dome, using passive-solar-heating and eating tofu.  But, now, thanks to decades of data and 50 years of building experience, all that has changed.   In fact, our whole understanding of homebuilding has changed.  Today, it is easier than ever to build efficient houses that are durable, comfortable, and affordable.  Better still, with proper planning and little effort, these new homes can protect the climate and even enrich the environment.  Designing such a house, requires a team that is focused on finding the perfect balance of three key elements: the home, the inhabitants, and the environment.



The Environment

A new house should connect to the landscape and blend into its surroundings, not dominate or ignore nature altogether.  The home should create a sense of place inside and out and minimize its impact on the environment.  By eliminating the use of fossil fuels a house also avoids releasing carbon into the atmosphere.  When an area is disturbed during construction or trees are removed, care should be taken to restore or enhance that area after construction is completed.  Any trees which were harvested during construction can be integrated into the interior of the house, and provide structural beams, flooring, stairs, cabinets or shelving. 

Landscaping should not be limited to a few ornamental bushes around a house’s foundation.  Outdoor spaces, like decks and patios are easily incorporated into the design, extend a home’s useable living area and do so at a minimal construction cost.  A house site can provide food for pollinators, wildlife, and the residents, by growing flowering plants, fruit trees, nuts, and perennial crops like berries or asparagus.  Doing so will create a habitat where plants, animals, and people thrive, for decades to come.

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