School in Ladakh Heats and Cools Itself

The SECMOL (Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh) School building features rammed-earth construction and passive solar architecture. The region has a cold desert climate with temperature variation from 20°C (68°F) in summer to -30°C (-22°F) in winter. Luckily this area has over 300 sunny days per year, so the sun is a reliable energy … Read more

Showcase of Natural Building at OUR Ecovillage

Freya’s House is an off-grid green building that showcases multiple natural building techniques from straw bale, cob, and rammed earth walls, to earthen floors, a green roof, and reclaimed, salvaged and locally sourced materials. It uses solar power for electricity, a legal composting toilet, and on-site greywater filtration. The house is located at O.U.R Ecovillage … Read more

Couple Builds a Hempcrete Home in Victoria

Melburnians Sarah Corbet and David Bruce bought a 7.5 acre block of land in central Victoria with plans for their future retirement and a slower paced life. They engaged Altereco Design to design the house, ideally to be made with hempcrete. Sarah and David requested a ‘warm design’ that was functional as well as beautiful. … Read more

Landscaping to Enhance Passive Solar Design

The role of landscaping in passive solar building design can play a crucial part in maximizing shade and solar gain. By carefully planning and positioning landscape elements, homeowners can create outdoor spaces that work in harmony with the sun’s natural patterns, resulting in energy-efficient buildings that are comfortable year-round. One of the primary goals of … Read more

The Ins and Outs of Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters vary in design, efficiency, capacity and price, but they all replace a good chunk of the gas or electricity used to heat water with clean, free sunlight. The three basic designs all have a way to collect heat, a tank to store hot water, backup heating for when your system can’t keep … Read more

A Simple Earthbag House in Jamaica

This environmentally friendly house was built with durable, empty bags filled with raw earth. The structure employed rice bags with local soil from the site (with additives), along with barbwire acting as tensile strength. Earthen plaster was then applied to the exterior for a smooth finish. Earthbag construction has remarkable strength and longevity. It can … Read more