Launch Slideshow

Green Building and Technology Tour

Five projects showcase sustainability.

Green Building and Technology Tour

Five projects showcase sustainability.

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    THE WOODS OF MONTICELLO
    The home, built with insulated concrete forms, was certified to the NGBS for about $1,100.

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    THE WOODS OF MONTICELLO
    The house features durable, low-maintenance CertainTeed fiber-cement siding and ultra-efficient SeriousWindows units with krypton gas.

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    THE WOODS OF MONTICELLO
    Glass patio doors help flood the open living space with light.

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    THE LITTLE HOUSE
    The Little House, built in 1920, is one of the region’s first LEED-Platinum renovations. It sits behind the 3,000-square-foot main house and is currently used as a short-term rental unit.

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    THE LITTLE HOUSE
    Built-ins such a breakfast nook (shown), a Murphy bed, shelves, and cabinets help ensure maximum use of the small floor plan.

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    THE LITTLE HOUSE
    The home’s 250-gallon “rain cubes” are made from discarded vegetable oil containers from snack manufacturer Frito-Lay. They hold roof runoff from downspouts, which is then used to irrigate the garden via soaker hoses.

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    THE LITTLE HOUSE
    Knotty pine cabinets are one of the reclaimed materials that grace the house, many from the local Habitat Home Store.

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    THE LITTLE HOUSE
    The side patio’s built-in benches allow for seated gardening for the owners, who grow some of their own food and raise chickens on the small property.

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    THE STRAW BALE HOUSE
    The home is the first in Tennessee to implement straw bale construction, which was used for the large addition.

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    THE STRAW BALE HOUSE
    The interior of the original home was gutted and turned into a large, open great room.

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    THE STRAW BALE HOUSE
    The galley kitchen features concrete countertops, Energy Star appliances, and a small child-accessible sink for hand washing.

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    THE STRAW BALE HOUSE
    The addition contains a master bedroom and a large, open children’s bedroom with modular, movable beds made by a local woodworker.

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    THE STRAW BALE HOUSE
    Rainwater is collected in a tank at the back of the house to be used for irrigation.

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    EDENBRIDGE
    The ultra-efficient home relies on ground source heating and cooling. Two 300-foot-long closed-loop geothermal lines run horizontally about 8 feet beneath the ground in the front yard.

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    EDENBRIDGE
    LED lighting and Energy Star appliances help keep energy use as low as possible in the kitchen.

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    THE VENUE AT COOL SPRINGS
    The apartment complex is the second multifamily project in the country to be designated an Audubon International Signature Sanctuary.

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    THE VENUE AT COOL SPRINGS
    The property includes three detention basins that collect and filter rainwater. Here, water from the lower basin is pumped to the upper area where it is filtered by native plants.

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.

EDENBRIDGE
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.