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Today’s green building piece is from Becky Striepe, a green blogger with a love for elegant, eco-friendly design.   Becky talks here about three eco-friendly homes that have impressed her.  Take a look.

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Whether you’re talking about homes made from natural building materials or ones that focus on efficiency and alternative energy, eco-friendly homes save on money and resources. Eco friendly houses aren’t just better for the environment – they can be gorgeous examples of unique design.

Here are three examples of beautifully designed homes that are healthy for the planet and the folks that live inside of them.

1. The Beccles Eco House

Paul Lucas of the UK architecture firm Lucas Hickman Smith designed a modern, eco friendly home for a site in Beccles Suffolk. According to their website:

This new home, in an environmentally sensitive location, has been raised on piles so that it floats above the site. Harnessing a degree of passive solar heating, a series of interconnected spaces creates a light airy volume and helps in the distribution of heat. [read more from Lucas Hickman-Smith’s sustainable housing site]

The firm has an extensive environmental policy that includes initiatives like minimizing waste during the building process through conservation and recycling. They avoid materials that “pollute or are the product of polluting processes” and strive to design well insulated, energy efficient homes using local materials wherever possible.

2. Cob Cottage

The Oregon-based Cob Cottage Company constructed this beautiful house. Cob is a sustainable building material made from Earth mixed with sand and straw. Because cob is molded by hand, you’ll find that cob homes have rounded corners and organic shapes rather than the straight lines and exact corners you’d find with lumber-constructed homes.

Ianto Evans and Linda Smiley formed the Cob Cottage Company after their quest for green building materials led them to build a cob house for themselves. After four years in their cob home, which included two particularly harsh winters, they were ready to spread the word about cob. Not only is it eco-friendly to create, cob is excellent at holding energy. It’s not a great insulator on its own, but once heated to a desired temperature, it takes relatively little energy to maintain that temperature. Folks who want to learn a bit more about cob construction might look into a cob building workshop in their area.

3. The Durham Eco House

This 2000 square foot home in Duluth, Minnesota was built in 2007 by Women in Construction, a company dedicated to giving women hands on construction job training. It was originally built as a demonstration home showing how to construct a healthy, low-energy, high-performance space. Aptly named, the Eco House features a solar PV array and uses a “hybrid” solar system for heating the home and its hot water.

The hybrid system uses an on-demand water heater and a solar domestic hot water system designed to work together for maximum efficiency. Instead of toxic conventional insulators, this eco friendly house uses cellulose insulation with R-values for walls, roof, and the under slab insulation that are nearly twice what code requires. Combine that with site plans designed to use passive solar power, and you’ve got a house that uses far less energy to heat and cool than a conventional home without giving up a bit of comfort!

Image Credits: Beccles Eco House. Creative Commons photo by paulmcalenan Cob House. Creative Commons photo by smallape Durham Eco House. Creative Commons photo by cursedthing

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Thanks, Becky!  And thanks to Jeff at Sustainablog for the introduction to Becky’s work.

Becky Striepe is a green blogger and independent crafter with a passion for vintage fabrics. She runs a crafty business, Glue and Glitter, where her mission is to use existing materials in products that help folks reduce their impact without sacrificing style! She specializes in aprons and handmade, personalized tote bags.

You can find other posts of Becky’s at Eat Drink Better, Care2, Green Upgrader, and Crafting a Green World.

You can follow Becky on Twitter or find Becky on Facebook


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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.