Build Your Own Underground Greenhouse


Growing food in the colder months of the year is a challenge, and growers in colder climates that want to extend the crop-growing season are always looking for a better way to do so. Greenhouses are a great option, but they cost a lot of money to construct and heat during the colder months. The American sustainable agriculture non-profit organization Benson Institute has come up with a set of easy to follow instructions on how to build a much cheaper alternative, the so-called walipini, which means “place of warmth” in Aymara Indian. The walipini is basically an underground, pit greenhouse in which it possible to grow vegetables all year, even in the coldest regions of the world.


By |February 23rd, 2014|Vegetation|0 Comments

Radiant House Uses Bamboo as Primary Construction Material


The Santa Clara team are designing a 980-square-foot Radiant House for their entry into the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition. The team’s goal is to expand the accessibility of solar energy and prove that sustainable living is something that can easily be achieved in this day and age. Another important innovation of the Radiant House project is the use of bamboo to build a large portion of the structural elements of the house. Bamboo is used in Radiant House’s walls, floor and ceiling and the Santa Clara team spent the last 10 years designing and engineering bamboo into structural elements.


By |September 19th, 2013|Materials|2 Comments

Florida Contractor Builds the First Luxury Net Zero Energy Home


Marc Rutenberg, the CEO of the Florida company Marc Rutenberg Homes, has recently successfully designed and built a luxury home that complies with and even surpasses all Energy Star standards and is LEED Platinum certified. The Castaway III, as the house is called, measures 4,552-square feet, which is about 3,100 square feet larger than the average zero-energy home. This house proves that there is no need to sacrifice comfort and luxury to reduce one’s carbon footprint.


Salvaged Old-World Charm Meets Modern-Day Efficiency in S.C. Cabin


Jay Hicks didn’t miss a beat when he lost his South Carolina cabin to a fire. He decided to build off of the 80-year-old original structure’s partial wall that had remained standing and devised a plan to have Addison Homes design and build a high-performance, energy efficient home that would have an old-world charm.

Fitting the floor plan to the topography and granite subsurface of the site that is located near Caesars Head State Park, Todd Usher, president of Addison Homes, directed workers to follow the flow of the rock shelf and form a foundation of concrete footings made of recycled content. Rigid foam insulation that was placed under the slab serves as a thermal break. The structure is oriented to benefit from passive solar heating and natural daylighting.


By |September 8th, 2013|Recycled|0 Comments

Net Zero BARNagain Uses Reclaimed Barn Wood to Achieve LEED Platinum


Dubbed BARNagain,  this LEED Platinum-certified home was designed by Rick Hauser of In.Site:Architecture to meet the client’s request for an energy-efficient house that utilized materials from a deteriorating barn for its structure and skin.

The main structural elements of the home were built using timber frames, while reclaimed barn siding served as the exterior skin. Salvaged barn framing was also used for flooring, ceilings, drywall, and decking.


By |August 27th, 2013|Materials|2 Comments

Everitt and Schilling Tile Brings Old World Craftsmanship to Modern Sustainability


As German-Russian craftsmen who left their homes in Russia to migrate to America and become farmers, the Schilling family and its history are integral to the passion for tile installation craftsmanship that Luke Schilling brings to Everitt and Schilling Tile. Aaron Everitt has roots in the lumber business as far back as the Oklahoma land rush and now manages the family’s development and homebuilding company. Luke and Aaron have joined forces to create a unique and sustainable wall covering from repurposed and reclaimed wood.


By |August 18th, 2013|Materials|0 Comments