THE STRAW BALE HOUSE
This unconventional remodeling project put a modern spin on the 100-year-old construction technique of building with straw bales.
To make room for their growing family of four, the owners decided to gut their three-bedroom, 1,200-square-foot home, turning the entire first floor into a roomy living space and kitchen. They worked with an architect to design the open and airy straw bale addition, which contains the master bedroom and a large children's room. The project, which also included finishing the attic, more than doubled the original home’s size.
Similar to an old-fashioned barn raising, a labor force of family and friends helped builder Green Home to stack the bales and cover their exterior with clay and lime plaster for an R-value of 30. Other sustainable features of the home include spray foam insulation, low-flow fixtures, a Rinnai tankless water heater, and low-E windows.
Applying advanced energy-efficient products and technologies was a priority for the owners of this NGBS-Gold custom home who were committed to reducing their utility bills.
To keep energy use low, the builder, A Better House, came up with an integrated approach that included a geothermal heating and cooling system, Cree LED recessed lighting, and wireless light switches by Verve Living Systems. Last year, the 5,500-square-foot home averaged $183 in monthly electric utility costs.
The house also features Fox Blocks ICF exterior walls and spray foam insulation in the attic for an effective R-54 rating.
THE VENUE AT COOL SPRINGS
This 428-unit multifamily community’s extensive natural resource management plan addresses wildlife conservation, habitat enhancement, water quality monitoring, integrated pest management, water conservation, energy efficiency, and waste management.
For its commitment to natural resources management, the Venue at Cool Springs in Franklin, Tenn., was recently named an Audubon International Signature Sanctuary, the second multifamily project in the United States to receive this designation. It also adheres to the standards of the NAHB’s Green Certified Site Design and Development.
Some of the sustainable landscaping measures at the Venue include rainwater collection basins, 7.6 acres of tree preservation areas, and a 60-foot buffer between the apartment buildings and a nearby creek. Developed by Crescent Resources and owned by MAA, the luxury community includes a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom floor plans in a series of three-story Craftsman-style buildings.
Jennifer Goodman is Senior Editor for EcoHome.