Green Building Links Indigenous Americans to Past with Key to Future

In a recent article on Indian Country Today Media Network, journalist Nate Seltenrich covered the sustainable building initiatives of several Native American tribes who were the country’s “original green builders.” Through efforts to improve upon substandard housing and economic hardships, indigenous populations are returning to traditional methods of home construction while incorporating modern technologies. Contemporary sustainability calls tribal members back to their cultural heritage and opens up avenues for attainable home ownership and lower energy costs, with the potential to revitalize communities.

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Earthship Farmstead Receives Passive House Certification

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Kaplan Thompson Architects were challenged by their clients to build a farmstead home in the mountains of Virginia that could not only meet standards for Passivhaus and LEED, but include a roof on which sheep could graze.

The solution: Earthship Farmstead is a house that is nestled in the east-facing hillside with a floorplan that fits the contours of the surrounding fields. The dining and living room extend out onto the hill to allow south-facing shaded windows to capture warmth and light from the sun. Recently, Earthship Farmstead received Passive House certification and is gathering data toward LEED Platinum certification.

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Culinary Center Combines Community Focus with Sustainability to be Certified EA Gold

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The new, sustainably built, 15,205 square foot structure for the Jungers Culinary Institute on the Central Oregon Community College (COCC) campus, designed by Yost Grube Hall Architecture, was made possible by $3 million in grants and contributions from the Bend, Oregon community, for which students serve lunch, happy hour, and dinner in the 60-seat public restaurant, Elevation, alongside a three instructional kitchens that include a baking and pastry kitchen, a fifty-seat demonstration theatre, and classroom space for up to 100 students per year.

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House in Rural Japan Maximizes the Use of Natural Light, Airflow, and Natural Surroundings

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Designed by Fujiwaramuro Architects and located in rural Tokushima, Japan, this Hanoura house provides a seamless transition between the inside and outside with a primary focus on natural cross-ventilation, minimizing the need for lighting and utilities. You’ll also notice the wide open main living space is entirely curtain-free, one benefit to living in such a secluded area.

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“Apelle” is a Cozy Wooded Home in Finland That Resembles a Stranded Boat

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Located in Karjaa, Finland, “Apelle” is a wooden home by architect Marco Casagrande that resembles a cozy one-family home as much as it does a stranded boat in the middle of the woods. It may be rurally located in a country known for harsh, icy winters, but geothermal energy keeps it warm and cozy without the use of dirty energy sources.

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Try Before You Buy: Tiny Cabins by Hobbitat at Ecotourism-Friendly Blue Moon Rising

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Recently featured on Tiny House Talk, tiny home builder, Hobbitat, was started just over a year ago by Maryland custom home builder and historic restoration specialist, Bill Thomas.

Since 1995, Bill and his wife, Sue, had been designing and building homes as Blue Sky Ventures and, in 2011, they began constructing little buildings with reclaimed materials and decided to shift focus with Hobbitat when they began work on thirteen cabins for the Blue Moon Rising eco-tourism retreat on Maryland’s Deep Creek Lake.

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