Underground Houses

“Underground living refers simply to living below the ground’s surface, whether in naturally occurring caves or in built structures. Underground homes are an attractive alternative to traditionally built homes for some house seekers, especially those who are looking to minimize their home’s negative impact on the environment. Besides the novelty of living underground, some of … Read more

Earth-sheltered Homes

“Earth sheltering is the architectural practice of using earth against building walls for external thermal mass, to reduce heat loss, and to easily maintain a steady indoor air temperature. Earth sheltering is popular in modern times among advocates of passive solar and sustainable architecture, but has been around for nearly as long as humans have … Read more

Save $100,000 on Zero Energy Homes

I was browsing Build it Solar.com, one of my favorite websites, and found the Montague Urban Homestead zero energy home pictured above. I was initially attracted to the home design by its simple lines and potential for do-it-yourself owner-builders (the focus audience of our blog). But then I saw the $180,000 price tag and was … Read more

Cody Lundin’s Zero Energy Home

No heating or air conditioning, and yet Cody’s house stays around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Cody’s website and book explain how he built his ferrocement house. You could build a house like this with earthbags on the sides and ferrocement on the roof. “It’s winter in the high desert as I write this, and last night … Read more

Designing Your Affordable, Energy-Efficient, Eco-Friendly Home

There’s a huge groundswell of interest in living more lightly on the earth. On the one hand, conscientious homeowners want to pollute less and protect natural resources. But they also want to save money on construction and energy costs and still have a beautiful, safe and comfortable home. Whether you call it natural building, green … Read more

Passive Houses in the New York Times

Gayle Fleming at EcoGayle’s Blog recommended an article in the New York Times that addresses the effectiveness of passive homes: Can We Build in a Brighter Shade of Green? The New York Times article chronicles the experiences of Barbara and Steven Landau, who are building a 2,000 sq. ft. house to the passive-house standard in … Read more