To reduce the size of this home near the Appalachian Trail, designers cut back on square footage at less important areas such as the entry hall and bathroom, saving it for the public living spaces.

Architect Jim Burton helped keep carbon emissions in check by hiring local tradespeople and subcontractors with only a short commute to the site. In addition, custom-made features such as all-wood kitchen cabinets and door pulls and handles were fabricated in a shop 10 miles from the site.

The Yoga Studio, which is used as a guest house, incorporates dozens of locally sourced materials including poplar flooring and paneling from a local lumberyard; aggregate, fly ash, and cement from local sources; fir doors and windows; and recycled corrugated metal siding.

In addition to a focus on resources and craftsmanship, the owners’ key ecological goals were met through maximized passive strategies, an extremely tight envelope, and energy efficient products. The siting of the studio reduced energy so much that the residents rarely operate the air conditioning even during the area’s hot, humid summers, according to Burton. Window louvers and tree foliage shade excess sun from entering the space, and a west-side deck takes advantage of cooling breezes.  Oriented so the long axis faces south, the sun helps to heat the main living space in the winter, reducing demand on the geothermal heating system.

Other green features include:
--SIPS panels for walls and roof
--OSB sheathing
--green roof system
--low-VOC sealers
--geoexchange heating and cooling and hot water system
--HRV system
--high efficiency all in one washer-dryer