Extreme Green Homes

Green building is becoming an international phenomenon and many home plans now come standard with energy efficient building envelope features that were once an added cost. As building codes change to improve efficiency, designers push the envelope of what it means to have a green home. We take a look at homes that expand the boundaries of green buildings with these extraordinary eco-friendly homes.

Orchid House, Cotswolds

This green building masterpiece has the distinction of also being the most expensive green home in in the world having sold for $14.2 million. The Orchid House produces more energy than it uses through geothermal heating, solar and wind power. The home is designed by Sarah Featherstone who was also responsible for part of the London Olympic Village.

Dome Home

Building a super green home need not cost you a fortune. The Japan Dome House Company has a unique solution to labor shortages in the construction industry and the cost of net zero homes, meet the Dome Home. This modular kit home can easily be constructed by four people in a week. Made from 100% expanded polystyrene, the wall sections snap together and then coats of mortar and paint are added to the exterior and interior. The homes are well insulated, and earthquake and fire resistant. Whole villages of dome homes have sprung up all over Japan, replete with dome shops and dome restaurants.

Styrofoam Dome Home

Endeavour Center

Set to be Canada’s greenest home, Endeavor Center in Peterborough is undertaking this unique project that is set to raise the bar on Canadian green building. This not-for-profit trade school will build a home with a collection of features including a basement composting system which will convert toilet waste to fertilizer. The system works with worms, fungi and bacteria reducing waste volume by 90% over the course of a year. The resultant fertilizer looks like topsoil and will be utilized to feed the garden. Rainwater collection and solar panels will reduce consumption to make this a true net zero home.

The Mud House

This truly unique home is constructed from a number of honeycomb-shaped domes. The mud house sports a green roof and the estate on which it is constructed prohibits cars and fences to allow for the natural flow of rainwater. The house consists of a number of inter-connected domes constructed of coiled clay and clay bricks. Some of the clay walls are fired and others remain unfired and unfinished so that they absorb moisture and help to keep the level of humidity constant throughout the year. Architect and owner Gernot Minke’s vision has inspired a whole neighborhood of dome homes and green roofs.

“Hobbit Home,” Wales

The now-famous “Hobbit House” was built by its owner, his father-in-law and passersby over the course of four months and for about £5,000 ($7,500). Built into the side of a hill, the bermed home has a wooden frame with straw bale walls covered with lime-plaster. Most of the wood for the framing was scavenged from the area which helps to keep the costs down. “Being your own (have a go) architect is a lot of fun and allows you to create and enjoy something which is part of yourself and the land,” said Simon Dale, owner/architect and builder of the Hobbit House.

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