All decisions we make in design and materials affect the health of ourselves,
our children, and the planet.
SIMPLE, NATURAL, SITE-SPECIFIC DESIGN
- COLLABORATION WITH THE SITE AND NATURAL SYSTEMS
- Imagine what the site would design for itself.
- Leave the surrounding area more natural than before construction.
- NATURAL STRUCTURES AND INTERIORS
- Respect sun, earth, plants, and water.
- Design for full advantage of the sun.
- Minimize electromagnetic radiation within buildings.
- Use more natural materials and fewer chemicals.
- APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY AND MATERIALS
- Take advantage of local resources and craftsmanship.
- Use energy-saving products.
- Find out how, where, and with what each product is made.
- Know how the product is installed, how long it lasts, and how it can be reused and recycled.
- Know how much energy it takes to transport, maintain, and use each product.
- Be aware of the effect each product will make on nearby living beings.
- PASSIVE SOLAR DESIGN
- Place spaces where the sun can warm them.
- Use house elements as thermal storage to balance heating.
- NATURAL, LOW-ENERGY LIGHTING
- Use natural light to decrease electricity and add dimension to all rooms.
- Light spaces with minimum wattage.
- Decrease energy usage with warm, natural-colored fluorescent lighting fixtures.
- Use task lighting in work areas.
- NATURAL HEATING AND COOLING
- Provide natural, even heat, and lower thermostat settings, with radiant hydronic slab heating.
- Construct for low heat loss.
- Use natural breezes to build thermal mass and passive cooling.
- Design outdoor rooms.
- Invest in high-quality windows and doors.
HEALTHY INTERIOR ENVIRONMENTS
- THE BREATHING HOUSE
- Construct houses that both insulate and breathe.
- Use heat recovery ventilation systems to save heat and moisture.
- NATURAL MATERIALS AND HEALTHY INTERIORS
- Make sure interior construction materials and finish systems are alive and breathing, instead of plastic and dead.
- Use wood, stone, earth, brick, grasses, cork, recycled tile and vegetable oils. Do not use plastic, chemicals, or toxins.
- Instead of wall-to-wall carpet and vinyl flooring, use natural flooring and area rugs.
- Use natural, non-toxic, and low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and sealers.
- Avoid non-renewable and environmentally damaging materials, like CFC foams and particle board.
- NATURAL INDOOR SETTINGS
- Use interior plants to remove toxins from the air and provide fresh oxygen.
- Add interior water environments, which provide relaxing sounds and essential moisture.
- ELECTRONIC MAGNETIC FIELDS
- Explore the effects of electrical layouts on personal health.
- Eliminate high electric loads in relaxing and sleeping areas.
- Control electric wiring by switching off sleeping areas at night.
- ENGINEERED WOOD
- Use structural elements manufactured with
a minimum amount of high-grade wood.
- SUSTAINABLE LUMBER
- Use certified sustainable lumber.
- Use fast-growing materials like
- RE-USED WOOD
- Use re-cut lumber from recently dismantled buildings.
- RECYCLED MANUFACTURED MATERIALS
- Use materials manufactured with a high recycled content.
- LONG-LIFE AND LOW-MAINTENANCE MATERIALS
- Use materials that last, with minimum or no maintenance costs.
- LOW-ENERGY MATERIALS
- Use materials that require minimal energy to manufacture, transport, and grow.
- RECYCLED AND ALTERNATIVE CONSTRUCTION SYSTEMS
- Straw-bale construction.
- Cob (straw and earth) construction.
- Recycled ICF wall construction.
- Pre-fabricated panel wall & roof systems.
- Post and beam construction.
- Construction methods that the owner can use to build the home themselves.