Green Ideas
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Inspiring Eco-Friendly Design Ideas for Your Cabin

Architects share the practical, effective ways these designs keep energy and environmental costs low
Published: May 13, 2014
Whether you have an heirloom cabin built long before the word “green” was synonymous with the environmental movement, or you’re planning to build a getaway from scratch, these two homes offer inspiration for doable ways you can incorporate beautiful design into your retreat while reducing your energy bill. Scroll through each retreat's gallery to learn more.
Contemporary design: Smart layout and materials
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Photo © Asa Gilmore, Ruckus Visual Arts
To maximize natural daylight and keep energy costs low in this 2,000-square-foot California home, the architect used passive solar design: The U-shaped floor plan is oriented so the legs of the U point south. On the east leg, windows and glass doors in the great room open up to the inside of the U to capture southwestern light and views. At the tip of the west leg, windows and glass doors in the master suite let in morning sun from the southeast and minimize heat gain in late afternoon. Plus, the entire home features larger-than-average overhangs that keep sunshine out in the summer but let it in for passive solar heat in winter. Smart use of materials also adds to the sustainability of this home design. Stucco, corrugated Cor-Ten steel, and stone are low-maintenance finishes on the exterior.

Design: Ted Brobst, Architect, Ward-Young Architecture & Planning,
Craftsman-style design: High-tech meets reclaimed
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Photo courtesy Eric Rorer Photography
Combining technology and smart building materials, this new 2,800-square-foot home in California uses about 50% of the energy of the single-story, 1,400-square-foot house that once stood in its place. Photovoltaic panels on the roof generate electricity – sometimes even enough to sell some back to the utility company.

Design: Timothy Ward, Architect, AIA, Ward-Young Architecture & Planning,
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