Nowadays, the mark of a successful home isn’t determined by whether or not you used Carrera marble in your kitchen or have a 3D gallery feature wall in your living room.
What makes a home special is how cleverly you can integrate recyclable materials into the design, or how low-impact and self-sufficient the home you build is.
In short: the greener, the better.
Nothing is more stylish than sustainably designed houses. Especially when they’re actually works of art.
Now, green architecture hasn’t always exactly been known for its aesthetic appeal: think clunky, chunky glass buildings and modular, box-like constructions, but people have learned that green homes can be eye candy just like a Georgian build or a Victorian terraced house.
They’re just eye candy with a purpose.
Here are some interesting eco builds sure to inspire homes lust... and just wait until you read about their fabulous sustainable features.
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Built in 1937, this Scottsdale, Arizona home was designed by one of the pioneers of sustainable design, Frank Lloyd Wright, whose innovative creations embrace the symbiosis between the natural landscape and the home being built on the land.
Taliesin West was the architect's winter home and reverentially grows out of its desert surroundings (he used materials like desert stone and natural redwood timber found on site in the home's construction). The organic design, which takes in elements like sunlight and water, is one of the forerunner's of today's sustainable architecture designs.
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When Canadian Jason Uher's home burned down in 2013, he turned a negative situation into something positive by rebuilding the home he shared with his wife and family in a sustainable, green way. Think passive solar design, straw walls, bamboo floors, eco-batt insulation, and a 98% efficiency furnace and masonry wood-burning heater (to provide heating in addition to the solar panels). A neutral black, earth and cream colour scheme keeps the house timeless and fresh, while a wraparound deck showcases the landscape, which includes a stream and three hectares of wooded conservation land. Oh, and building this place slashed the family's heating bills by 75%. Not too shabby.
Because who doesn't want to pretend they're a hobbit and bed down in a quirky, egg-shaped carbon-neutral home? Which happens to sell for under £50K? The Eco Hab (also known as Eco Pod) uses solar hot water heating, wind turbines, photovoltaic cells, rainwater harvesting and filtration and energy-saving insulation, while also doing all the other stuff you need it to, like offering spaces to eat, sleep, work and relax.
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Inspired by medieval architecture, this thoroughly modern house in Kent has a timbrel-vaulted arch, kitted out with solar panels and covered with 80 tonnes of soil and gravel, dotted with plants and flowers. The floor is made from crushed glass bottles, while doors are vacuum-insulated, walls are filled with recycled newspapers to provide added insulation and windows are triple-glazed to maximise energy-efficiency.
And no, there's nothing this house can't do: it even collects rainwater on the flat roofs to help power the washing machine. Bring on the muddy clothes.
This tiny house on wheels, designed in Vienna, Austria, is made from recycled materials and features cosy sheep's wool insulated walls, triple-glazed windows, solar photovoltaic rooftop panels and rain harvesting capabilities. The interior of the Wohnwagon - aka Living Wagon - is minimalist, with light wood walls, dark wood flooring and charming furniture. This makes off-grid living look seriously tempting.
Who says you can't do sustainable in your own house? J.D. Doliner made her 1920s-era bungalow "green" back in 2006, using recycled materials to build the home and incorporating solar panels to help generate electricity and hot water. A roof that looks like slate is actually made from recycled rubber tires, the floor was recycled lumber from a tobacco factory in Tennessee, and the insulation in the walls is made with a 50% soy material. The green sentiment even extends to aesthetics: note the peace sign shaped window in the kitchen.
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You might not know that former US president George W. Bush's vacation home near Crawford, Texas, is one of the greenest residential spaces out there. The single-level passive solar house is positioned to absorb sunlight, while geothermal heat pumps distribute water through the home, using only a quarter of the energy typically needed for conventional heating/cooling system. A 25,000 gallon underground cistern collects rainwater, while waste water is also funneled through the cistern and used to water the surrounding grounds. The limesone design is made from rescued material from a junkyard. Each room is designed to showcase the surrounding landscape in a specific way: look up from the sink in the guest bathroom and you'll be staring at a grove of oak trees instead of your reflection.