Earth Day is nearly here—which means now is the perfect time to examine the importance of incorporating eco-friendly architecture and interior design into our everyday lives. Whether that means creating compost, sourcing recycled decor and materials, eliminating plastic usage, and everything in between, there are numerous ways to go about making the world a more sustainable place through your design choices. Here, find eight examples of eco-friendly homes, along with insight from the designers and architects who created them.
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Kevin Lenhart, Design Director of Yardzen, reveals that “85 percent of our customers indicate they want low water plants in their yard. While “low water” may drum up images of succulents and heavy gravel, we’re seeing increased requests for unique water-smart designs that incorporate pollinator-loving plants and climate-adapted plants with a softer, more romantic feel.”
He adds that “requests to reduce or replace lawns have grown 66 percent year-on-year. High maintenance & water-guzzling – climate-conscious homeowners want alternatives to traditional lawns: more seating areas, planting beds, play areas, and water-wise, habitat-supporting plants.”
This home, made possible by Pulled, was built into the side of a hill, providing natural insulation from the Earth. This sustainable trend refers to homes that are built into the earth, with one or more walls being covered by the ground, protecting and insulating it. Because of this, earth-sheltered homes are less sensitive to outside air temperature and they visually blend right into the landscape rather than disturbing it. They tend to face south and leave the front of the structure exposed so that it gets the best light possible.
Consider the Local Environment
“There’s greater demand for, and more opportunity than ever, for sustainable homes. And, there are so many ways homeowners can make eco-friendly improvements with minimal effort or cost,” says Jessica Sommer, Vice President at Wedgewood Homes & Maverick Design.
“We landscape with the local environment in mind, using native plants that grow with little water use. Other approaches we’re taking that homeowners can replicate themselves are using sustainable and environmentally conscious materials like low VOC or Greenguard certified paint, LED/low energy use light fixtures, and recycled materials, using more light roof/cool roofing materials to lower heat gain and cooling costs in states with warmer average temperatures, installing water conscious fixtures and dual pane windows, and sourcing local materials.”
Located in Placerville, Colorado, Hidden Rocks Ranch features air conditioning powered by “a state-of-the-art solar ”power plant” with two large Kohler diesel backup generators.” Agent Bill Fandel has the listing, and it’s still on the market if you’re looking for a move!
Be Mindful of Your Materials
Sarit Marcus, an interior designer and founder of Minted Space, reveals that this home features “organic textures like reclaimed wood, raffia, and natural fibers, [which] are balanced with clean lines and refined pops of marble, velvet, and brass to demonstrate the versatility of elevated sustainable home design.”
She adds that “the house itself was fully renovated with sustainable construction prior to the design project. Rejuvenated with environmental stewardship in mind, the home has Lauzon Pure Genius Smart flooring, which is the world’s first Smart Wood Flooring, as well as digitized smart shower systems, a smart irrigation system that utilizes reclaimed well water, and more.”
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint at Home
CEO of Spacial Homes, Cory Halbardier, tells House Beautiful, “Having spent eight years in the solar industry, I saw how our carbon footprint is rapidly affecting our climate. This doesn’t negate solving the challenges we have here, such as housing; but it does change the means by which we solve those challenges.”
One such example can be seen in California, which “has been on the forefront of green building codes in the U.S. and our Spacial ADUs go another step further by meeting the design requirements for LEED Platinum and many of the Passive Home requirements. Spacial homes have superior energy efficiency, and the small bit of the energy they do use is offset by the solar photovoltaic system on the roof.”
Don’t Sacrifice Great Design
Duan H.M. Tran, a partner of KAA Design, explains the design of the pictured dwelling, stating “so much of our Tower Grove residence is about living sustainably with the land, and to ensure that we maximize the inherent opportunities that result from the thoughtful site planning of the home for greater natural daylighting, passive airflow through cross-ventilation, and the optimized orientation to support our photovoltaic butterfly roof.”
Value Water Preservation
SVP of Sustainability at KB Home, Dan Bridleman, says “there is a growing interest from homebuyers for water-saving features that reduce utility bills and help to mitigate the strain on local communities. One way to support water conservation is by installing EPA-approved WaterSense fixtures, such as Moen faucets and Kohler toilets.”
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