Are you still stuck in the mindset that sustainability and environmental responsibility should be left behind us with the hippies of the seventies? Well you might be the only one! As fast as the ice caps are melting, architects are coming up with new ways to incorporate environmentally friendly materials into their modern designs. And now, with solar-powered technology becoming cheaper to make, and more efficient, it's not unusual to see them lining even the smallest roof.
But the ways in which architecture is turning more and more green is not only limited to solar panels. Environmentally friendly and locally sourced building materials are now the preferred choice, such as using wood only from sustainable plantations. Designers are choosing heat pumps, installing compost-able toilets, natural swimming pools and using double flow ventilation systems. Some are even recycling a whole home and transforming shipping containers into cool, modern houses.
We have seen so many incredible, eco-friendly homes, we decided to present the ten top ones today. These structures are either completely self-sufficient, carbon-neutral, or eco-friendly, many of which have won sustainability awards. Let's have a closer look at them.
Built by London based architects, ÜBERRAUM ARCHITECTS, the Cherry Blossom House close to Strasbourg is a low-carbon house, completely insulated with eco-friendly cellulose and finished with triple glazed windows. But it gets even more impressive—the integrated solar panels on the roof and an air source heat pump also make it (almost) completely energy self-sufficient.
Made to bear the harsh Californian sun, the Spring Ranch uses a combination of site-generated geothermal energy, solar energy and photovoltaic arrays. Constructed from sustainable materials and rammed earth, this beautiful family home is the ultimate design to complement the walnut farm it sits on.
This Minergie-P-House (also known as a Passive House) is just one of the many designs becoming commonplace in Switzerland. Because of it's 'envelope' design and efficient ventilation, a Passive House has a very low heat demand (around 80 percent lower than that of a conventional house). That means not only is it much cheaper to run, it's also relatively stress free—homeowners don't have to worry about energy shortages.
The mission for French architects ECO-A, was to create a duplex, and to make sure it is eco-friendly. So for this project, they constructed a wooden frame complete with cellulose wadding, installed solar thermal panels, a wood stove and created a vegetation area and garden on the roof. Now this is one stylish city apartment belonging to the future!
Voted The UK’s Top Eco Home in The Guardian online in 2014, is a contemporary, low-carbon home really does prove that architecture can look good while being energy efficient. Because it is built on an existing conservation area, the architecture team ensured minimal damage was done to the surroundings. Working in harmony with nature, the Pavilion Eco House Blackheath has an earth sheltered lower ground, a natural swimming pool, and an integrated solar design.
Despite it's futuristic sounding name, the DublDom 2.65 is set in the Russian Ecopark
Yasnopole. With one of the primary goals of this park to build new houses without disrupting the existing nature, this structure was prefabricated off site in less than a month and grounded on site in only seven days. Built from natural wood (larch), and decorated with black metal, it ties in effortlessly with the surrounding landscape.
Without both running water and electricity, this aluminium-clad cabin in the Netherlands is a dreamy getaway. Just like in simpler times, stacks of local firewood is used to power the kitchen and the fireplace. Placed in the middle of the cabin, the hearth can heat the whole home and keep it cozy during the quiet nights.
Strong believers that architecture should be integrated into the local surroundings, the architects at EISNER DESIGN have surrounded Whale Rock House with only indigenous trees and shrubs. The building itself is constructed primarily from stone and metal while all other materials were chosen for their recycled content.
Dubbed Nemo House, this shipping container residence can be an economic solution to many housing problems. Comprising of three different shipping containers, this arrangement is not only modern and striking, but also inexpensive, versatile and eco-friendly. It is in a nutshell: an extraordinary home sitting in the countryside of Korea, that would look just as amazing in the trendiest neighborhoods of London.
Imagined as a modern, eco-friendly version of a Kentish style barn, this unique design is low maintenance and visually captivating. It has two barn-like structures, connected by a central walkway, all to capture as much natural sunlight as possible. All materials used are high quality and locally sourced—the Douglas Fir flooring and black timbre cladding.