Energy efficient, green-certified homes are becoming more mainstream with designs ranging from cutting edge to traditional. Four certified homes—an ultra-modern LEED Silver certified home in Utah, a certified Passive contemporary cottage in Maine, a NAHB Green Bronze certified gambrel-roofed home in North Carolina, and an energy miser rambler in Minnesota—show how climate and style influence green building solutions. The home in the desert of Utah has an exterior made of rusted recycled corten steel shingles that protect the home from fires. Skylights provide natural light, eliminating the need for artificial light during the day, while curtains and roof overhangs limit sun exposure. The home also features a water catchment system, drought tolerant landscaping, R-35 rated walls, radiant heating in the floors, and windows positioned to provide natural ventilation. The zero-energy home in coastal Maine had to contend with freezing temperatures. Triple-glazed, south-facing windows capitalize on abundant sunshine to warm the house’s open interior. The exterior is so tight that it reduces the home’s space-heating needs by nearly 90 percent, with a solar array providing power for the other 10 percent. Architect David Kenoyer designed the home in North Carolina with the character and appeal of older homes in the neighborhood so that it would endure. He employs green building practices, such as using plywood, high-density insulation, efficient HVAC, sealing crawls spaces, and standard-sized products. Taking inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie homes, the modern rambler in Minnesota is fortified with rigid insulation over wall framing and roof trusses, spray foam insulation between the studs, and triple-paned windows. South-facing windows draw light and warmth into the home during the day, and the geothermal heat pump warms the home at night. Five rain gardens and native shrubs create an environmentally friendly alternative to a lawn. | Read More