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cliff house chile2

Sitting on top of the world and enjoying unparalleled ocean views is the newly built Casa Till in Los Arcos, Chile. This is what a German couple envisioned as their private Nirvana spot on Earth and they got it.

With the help of the local firm of WMR Arquitectos the couple raised a small, single story wooden building that is wedged snugly into a cliff, and surrounded by 700 foot-high and 6 mile-long stretch of cliffs.

Build from locally sourced pine and powered by solar energy Casa Till boasts a tiny ecological footprint. Its spacious floor plan has an integrated system of sliding walls that allows for flexible room sizes and privacy levels. Its large floor to ceiling windows create a feeling of enormous surrounding space and enrich the living areas with astounding views of the unending ocean scenery. Its gravity defying massive sun terrace is partially built on stilts and overhangs the cliff’s edge. And when you feel like communing with dolphins and whales, a large staircase will lead you to the beach below… [click to continue…]

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ceolux fake lighting2

Any energy efficiency minded home owner knows – maximizing natural daylight in key areas of the house not only lowers the electrical load but also brings enormous comfort and emotional wellbeing. When I lived in California I loved that blindingly clear bright sky but the winter nights would be so long I often wished for more daylight. Now that I live more up North, where sunlight is a rare commodity during the winter, I really miss that bright natural light. Plus, I have another problem to deal with – a huge basement with no windows.

In order to be productive and have my quiet I want to work there but the lack of any natural daylight is a deal killer for me so I started looking for a source of artificial light that resembled a natural sun light. There are a few options out there but this Italian product really captivated my attention. [click to continue…]

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net zero house in santa monica1

When you’re looking to build on a tight urban lot, the task is already daunting enough. But when you’re building that urban house in order to push the limits of net zero, ecological responsibility, and outdoor living, it helps if you’re an architect. The challenge is exactly what architect Buzz Yudell, principle architect at Moore Rubell Yudell – a firm operating out of both Santa Monica, California and Shanghai, China, and his wife Tina Bebee, an architectural colorist with the firm, set out to conquer when they built their new home in Santa Monica, CA.

The couple had previously lived in a country home in Malibu that they simply adored for its indoor/outdoor living capabilities. Why leave a home you adore? Despite the benefits of tranquility and calm country air, the location was less than ideal for the couple and they soon got tired of the long commute. So they found themselves an urban lot with a great location, close to work and friends, but it was long and narrow. Thus the challenge began. They did not want to lose the naturalistic lifestyle they had enjoyed in the country, even though they were moving to the city. [click to continue…]

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styrofoam6

While Styrofoam may be just about the last thing that comes to mind when it comes to eco-friendly materials, it turns out that it can be used to build a surprisingly energy-efficient, low-cost home. In fact, the very thing which makes it such a nightmare in landfills—the fact that it is very slow to degrade—makes [continue reading...]

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solar salesman secrets

I started a part time job at SunGevity in 2013. We were not even trained in the knowledge about leasing vs. buying. Mostly 20 year old kids trying to “get a date” purveying the people at Lowe’s for SunGevity – a total exploitation of the people to only offer the average 5-7% savings for something [continue reading...]

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portland-plane-home

There are people who are eager to defy conventionality to such lengths that they are willing to live plainly on a plane. Bruce Campbell, 64, a retired electrical engineer from Portland, OR., calls his home a 737 Boeing Jet, purchased in 1999 and turned it into his personal residence. Ever since Bruce hauled the aircraft [continue reading...]

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The Kantor Home7

When Etta Kantor decided to build her dream home in New Canaan, CT, she didn’t care about LEED certifications, or any recognition for that matter. Guided by her caring nature, Etta simply wanted to do the right thing – live in harmony with nature, use alternative energy and recycled materials, and conserve natural resources. When [continue reading...]

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Great Gulf House exterior

When it comes to new-home construction, people are used to it being about, well, themselves. New homes are supposed to be built around people, right? How they like to live, relax, cook, clean, move? What if new homes were not built this way? What if homes were built to the land first and then tailored [continue reading...]

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s surrey passive house front

While making great leaps forward, the modern passive house concept has intersected with historical values in South Surrey. Wanting a house that met the standards for a passive house, the world’s most rigorous efficiency standard, but also requiring a structure that would house three generations at once, the family behind British Columbia’s South Surrey passive [continue reading...]

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used-solar-panel-salesman

Residential rooftop solar leases have had a good run in the market, and why shouldn’t they…? They require no money upfront for systems that cost thousands of dollars while the financial and emotional reward is immediate. Problem is (and we’ve seen it before), when a business model is built to benefit only the companies while [continue reading...]

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