Living The American Green Dream
Considering adding earth-friendly elements to your already existing home, or building one completely off the grid? Let the following sustainable homes be your inspiration! Whether the house is made of rubber tires and pop cans, features its own wind turbine or is completely solar-powered, we unearthed the top six extreme green homes in the country!
Oldest "green" home
Could this solar-powered home possibly be the oldest "green" home in the US? What makes Shel Horowitz's green home extreme is its age - the home was built in 1743, the year Thomas Jefferson was born. Evidence suggests that the home was built almost entirely from local wood found on or near the property. Horowitz added a solar hot-water system in 2001, and a photovoltaic system in 2004.
Dome desert home
This homeowner will be putting guests up in planet-friendly style in this gorgeously green guest home! Finished this year to complement the geodesic dome architecture of the main residence of this North Scottsdale estate, the guest house was built from the ground up with green architecture and an organic-themed interior design throughout. The main residence features aluminum panels that were manufactured by StarNet, the same company that manufactured panels used at Epcot Center in Orlando and Paris Paris in Las Vegas. The challenge was to bring in a guest home that matched the interior of this extremely forward-thinking architecture. The homeowner wanted a design that brought the desert outdoors in and celebrated conservation, a growing trend not only in Arizona but nationwide.
Powered by the wind, this new home in Cocoa, Florida, was built in January 2011 by the team at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and is owned by the Hurston Family. This eco-friendly home not only features solar panels but boasts Urban Green Energy's eddyGT vertical axis wind turbine, as well as other planet-friendly fixtures. Wind is now the most affordable form of clean energy, and the Hurston family is reaping the benefits of having their own wind turbine installed on their property.
EcoVillage at Ithaca
They say it takes a village ... and EcoVillage at Ithaca, located in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, is setting the trend for suburban living. At the core, EcoVillage at Ithaca, an intentional community, seeks to provide a healthy, socially rich lifestyle, while minimizing its ecological impact. It consists of three co-housing neighborhoods (Frog, Song and Tree), where the focus is on living simply and working together as a community. To improve overall sustainability, the three diverse neighborhoods include a variety of ecological responsible choices in design and function: passive solar and other alternative energy sources including photovoltaics, water-saving storage such as rainwater collection, and sustainably produced non-toxic materials.
A 5,000-square-foot home that's not connected to any power lines? Is that possible in this day and age? Paul Spencer and his family certainly thought so - and went ahead and built an exceptional green home outside of Aspen, Colorado. This 100 percent off-the-grid, sustainable home is heated by the solar energy (both passive and active) and powered by solar and wind. Now a pioneer in the field, Spencer is helping others design and create their own sustainable homes, which is certainly the way of the future.
Magnificent and unique inside and out, you'd never guess by looking at this home that at the heart of its structure are used rubber tires and pop cans! Truly radical in design, Earthships are taking recycled materials to a new level by creating gorgeous homes that are earth-friendly and sustainable. The building method behind Earthships is called Biotecture, which is based on the work of principal architect Michael Reynolds. What makes this innovative new building method stand out is that Earthships can effectively be built globally, in any climate, providing anyone with what they need to survive - and, yes, thrive!
Learn more about Earthships
Take a tour through a unique community in Taos, New Mexico.
How to go green at home
Photo credit: Ecovillageithaca.org