sustainable architecture
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sustainable architecture
design strategies + innovative technologies that promote a sustainable built environment
Curated by Lauren Moss
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Off the Grid: Snøhetta's Norwegian Eco-home

Off the Grid: Snøhetta's Norwegian Eco-home | sustainable architecture |
A Norwegian eco home incorporates a heated pool and a sauna, but still produces three times more electricity than it uses.

Researchers designed the house with a solar-powered roof in collaboration with architects firm Snøhetta. Heat exchangers use excess energy to heat the outside swimming pool and the house even has its own sauna.
Insulation is so good that each floor has just one radiator, and each room has sensors to ensure that light and heat is directed efficiently. It produces 23,200kWh of energy a year but requires just 7,272kW to run.
It may look like a Portacabin that has been involved in a nasty accident, but this slanting roofed building is actually the ultimate ecohome...

Catherine Devin's curator insight, January 21, 2015 4:46 AM

Projet probablement coûteux, tout comme les chalets avec piscine chauffée en plein air dans les Alpes finalement, conçus sans approche de performance énergétique.

Dans la recherche de durabilité, il s'agit moins de renoncer au confort et aux plaisirs de la vie que de réévaluer ceux-ci  et aborder ses projets avec une posture ouverte,  un zeste d'ambition et une envie de mobiliser de nouveaux savoir-faire.

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DOM(E): Sustainable Geodesic Prefab for Any Location

DOM(E): Sustainable Geodesic Prefab for Any Location | sustainable architecture |

No Rules Just Architecture has created DOM(E), an prefabricated off-grid home that is an eco-friendly and portable shelter. DOM(E) provides optimal living conditions no matter where it is located and is less expensive than traditional construction, while making the best use of natural energy resources.

DOM(E) can be folded for transport and assembled on-site. Its shape provides for natural ventilation while utilizing an underground duct system for heating and cooling. Solar panels connect to a hot water tank and rainwater collection systems can be made part of the drainage system that surrounds the enclosure.

Find more details and images at the article link.

Ursula O'Reilly Traynor's comment, July 30, 2013 4:35 AM
we love this! ty Lauren!
Maryline Khan's comment, July 30, 2013 6:50 AM
very impressive!
Conrado C. Guzmán's curator insight, July 31, 2013 11:09 PM



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An Abandoned Stable Becomes a Beautiful Off-Grid Home in Spain

An Abandoned Stable Becomes a Beautiful Off-Grid Home in Spain | sustainable architecture |

Located in the province of Cáceres, high on a hill and far from city water or an electrical grid, this home is positioned as it was originally and the material used are also the same as the existing structure.

The original orientation allows for the sun to be the main source of heat during the winter, while a generous eave prevents heat from entering the home during summer. Large wooden shutters that slide closed like a second skin, cover the large windows at night to trap in most of the home's daily solar heat gain.

In the interior nature has been incorporated almost to every room: bathrooms with views of the interior patio and stone water fountain and bedrooms with picture windows overlooking the countryside.

Supporting walls were replaced by light metal pillars, the haylofts in the upper area were converted into bedrooms and the enormous central lounge serves different purposes.

Ursula O'Reilly Traynor's comment, May 22, 2013 4:19 AM
shared on Pinterest.thank you Lauren!
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Off-grid itHouse: efficiency, passive systems & environmental design

Off-grid itHouse: efficiency, passive systems & environmental design | sustainable architecture |

The itHouse is a design system developed by Taalman Koch that utilizes a series of components prefabricated off-site to better control the construction waste, labor, and quality of the finished product.

Conceived as a small house with glass walls and open floor plan, the itHouse maximizes the relationship of the occupant to the surrounding landscape while minimizing the building’s impact on delicate site conditions.

Energy efficiency is achieved in the itHouse through passive heating and cooling, utilizing site orientation and cross ventilation, radiant floor heating, hi-efficacy appliances & equipment and the use of solar photovoltaic & thermal panels...

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Self-Sufficient Farmhouse by Studio Moffitt

Self-Sufficient Farmhouse by Studio Moffitt | sustainable architecture |

This self-sufficient farmhouse residence in Ontario, Canada by Studio Moffitt is entirely off-grid and generates all its own electricity using solar panels on the roof, as well as from passive strategies. Windows are triple-glazed to prevent heat from escaping, while the concrete floor acts as a thermal mass.

The architectural language of the exterior, a monolithic galvanised steel shed, is informed by the local agricultural vernacular to ensure visual coherence within the landscape and to facilitate construction with locally available and sourced materials. Construction was completed largely by local farmers familiar with agricultural building practices.The rich dialogue with local craftsman ensured that the house is rooted in the building practices and conventions of context while also offering the community exposure to innovative resource and energy-conserving construction practices...

ParadigmGallery's comment, February 23, 2013 8:08 AM
Love this piece...the house is perfectly lovely and sits comfortably in the setting....the story warms my heart...and the fields and farmland exports me to Iowa.....
London Kassab's curator insight, December 2, 2015 10:07 AM

The farmhouse is beneficial to the environment. It is self-sufficient, solar panels are along the roof as the windows are triple-glazed to help trap heat. It was built by agricultural constructors with building practices. This house offers community exposure to innovative resource and energy-conserving practices.  L.K.

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Programmer Creates DIY Solar, Off-Grid Home

Programmer Creates DIY Solar, Off-Grid  Home | sustainable architecture |

"It was a place to come and pretend to be hippies on the weekend."

That's how programming pioneer Loren Amelang explains his back country California property, where he originally built a tiny cabin inside a sheep barn as a country retreat. But when it came to building a larger, more permanent abode—he created a rather wonderful, off-grid structure that looks like it is straight out of a post-apocalyptic Mad Max-style movie. It uses passive and active solar power for electricity, hot water and even some space heating needs, with the rest of the heat being provided through sustainably harvested local fire wood...

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Best of 2013: Energy-Efficient Buildings Off The Grid

Best of 2013: Energy-Efficient Buildings Off The Grid | sustainable architecture |

The phrase "off the grid" is quite literal: It means these buildings are not connected to the power grid or sewer systems. There is no need for trash collection and removal, and building materials are often harvested locally—making it beneficial for the environment and your wallet.

Off-the-grid architecture originally had mixed connotations, but off-the-grid living has moved beyond the typical remote shack with no lighting systems. New chemical-free stains and finishes transform reclaimed wood into rich materials for façades, while sustained rammed-earth and recycled steel lend a certain rugged appeal. It has also allowed architects to be more inventive in terms of space, creating structures that provide the privacy of typical homes—without the carbon footprint.

The future of off-the-grid looks promising—perhaps in 2014 we'll see the trend implemented in pre-existing structures in urban areas. Until then, check out the best (and most sustainable) off-the-grid buildings from 2013...

Norm Miller's curator insight, December 25, 2013 12:09 PM

Homes off the grid need energy storage and that is still the major issue, but TESLA is now making batteries for homes and someday they will be less costly.  For now such solutions are exotic and economically unreachable.

Ursula O'Reilly Traynor's curator insight, December 27, 2013 9:16 PM

Wouldn't it be good to stay in one of these buildings, even for just a short while ....I'm sure it would inspire more of us to think along the lines of sustainability for the built environment of the future. To think outside the box.

Lauren Evelyn's curator insight, February 14, 9:57 PM
Scottsdale Arizona
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Zacatitos 004 Residence: Off the Grid in Mexico

Zacatitos 004 Residence: Off the Grid in Mexico | sustainable architecture |

Designed by Campos Leckie Studio, the Zacatitos 004 Residence is the fourth and smallest home of a series of structures successfully operating off-the-grid. Located in a tiny Mexican town, roughly 45 minutes up a dirt road from San José del Cabo, this project is part of the collective of four innovative seasonal retreats.

The house greets guests into a stucco hallway that leads to a courtyard, where the house’s environmental control strategies come into play. The courtyard is properly shaded from the intense sun rays and the two entrance walls catch and amplify the winds, drawing air across the pool to naturally air-condition the exterior deck and kitchen/dining area.

Different areas of the home are slightly separated, Campos and Leckie used the separations in the architecture to fill the gaps with light and wind. The presence and orientation of walls along with choices of material passively temper the environment..

Ursula O'Reilly Traynor's curator insight, May 22, 2013 3:50 AM

sounds cool :)

Luiz F. Costa's comment, May 22, 2013 8:08 AM
Excelente projetos eu particularmente gosto muito obrigado abs.
Dalila Sälvatore's curator insight, October 21, 2014 10:52 AM
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Off-Grid, Design/Build: The House on Limekiln Line

Off-Grid, Design/Build: The House on Limekiln Line | sustainable architecture |

An extraordinary off grid home built with local materials, that fits right into the rural Ontario landscape, the House on Limekiln Line is an extraordinary artifact, addressing a 220 year old heritage, with a modern aesthetic.

From the architects:

The House on Limekiln Line, a design-build off-grid house, is sited in a rich agricultural landscape.The house is understood as both a mediator to and a microcosm of its immediate cultural and climatic context. An “observation shed”, the house is composed of a series of scales of spaces, each with distinct vantage points, visual alignments, and framed vistas to the larger context beyond, facilitating stewardship of and respect for the productive landscape in which it sits...

Natalie Curtis's curator insight, April 19, 2013 9:22 AM

Off grid living at its finest- definitely needs to be explored more in some cases. The local materials are a great way of resourcing too!

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Stamp House: A Striking Off-the-Grid Beachfront Project in Queensland

Stamp House: A Striking Off-the-Grid Beachfront Project in Queensland | sustainable architecture |

Located in the environmentally sensitive FNQ Beachfront Rainforest in Queensland, this futuristic residence is entirely carbon neutral.

Making the most of the site’s amenities and resources, the project reintroduces the surrounding native wetland environment by situating the home over an engineered water ecosystem, a collaborative effort between national parks, environmental agencies, and state and local government. With solar panels covering the roof, the use of cantilevers to mitigate the impact from potential flooding, and a structure that can withstand cyclones, the Stamp House is a striking marriage of refined design with environmental awareness.

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Rural Sustainability: Off the Grid Home in Ontario

Rural Sustainability: Off the Grid Home in Ontario | sustainable architecture |
For this rural Ontario home, building sustainably was less about high-tech gizmos than learning to truly love the land.

The 925-sq-foot house blends into the landscape with a steel shed roof and siding; it looks like a high-design little brother to the barns on the surrounding farms, and its energy footprint is equally subtle: Designer Lisa Moffitt built it with an array of sustainable features that take the simple home off-grid...

Read about these features and learn more about this contemporary green project at

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Students design and build new homes for Navajo families | SmartPlanet

Students design and build new homes for Navajo families | SmartPlanet | sustainable architecture |
More than 2.4 million Native Americans live on or close to tribal reservations, and over forty percent live in dilapidated or overcrowded housing where basic conveniences like water, power and plumbing are often severely insufficient.

A educational nonprofit based in Utah is taking the principles of design-build, where designers are involved in construction, to address the situation of housing on the Navajo reservation that straddles Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.

DesignBuildBluff (DBB) gives architecture students at the University of Colorado and the University of Utah the opportunity to design and build new homes for Navajo families living in Bluff, Utah.

The students do all of the design work for a specific family, and the same students that do the designing do the building (hence the design-build name). The designs must focus on sustainability, and the houses must be 1000 square feet or less...

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