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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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styrofoam house

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 it ideal for construction purposes. Styrofoam is not only cheap and sturdy, but is impervious to rot and mold and can withstand winds up to 200 miles per hour.

Chris Murphy, who is the co-owner and president of Murphy Brothers Contracting, decided to make use of the styrofoam-based insulated concrete form technology when remodeling a home he and his wife purchased in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. [click to continue…]

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solar salesman secretsI 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 the home owner never gets to own…or really benefit from.

SunGevity works on “emotion all the way”… Emotion in what they say in board meetings, emotion in training the young “kids” who find interested parties to “go solar”, everything is “smoke and mirrors.” [click to continue…]

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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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3_Palms_2_South net zero home

Brian Cranston is more known as a high school chemistry teacher Walter White gone bad spending his days on the meth cookout in a remote desert but in reality, he’s truly “breaking good” big time. Brian and Robin have just finished an ambitious, net-zero residential home in Ventura, CA that is worthy of an Oscar [continue reading...]

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John and Nancy in progress

Imagine you’re a green-living Goldilocks, frolicking through the eco-home industry. You try out a McMansion, but it’s just too big. You try out a tiny house, but it’s just too small. Where can you find a home that meets all of your needs but is just the right size? John Gaddo and Nancy North figured [continue reading...]

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