This idyllic 15-acre farmhouse is the worlds second Living Building residence

February 21, 2018 by  
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A picturesque 15-acre farmhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan was just officially crowned the world’s second “Living Building” residence by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). The owners of Burh Becc at Beacon Springs , Tom and Marti Burbeck, spent five years working with a team of 20 designers, engineers, architects and sustainability experts to transform their 2,200 square foot home into an icon of truly sustainable living that gives more than it takes. The beautiful farmhouse, whose design was inspired by traditional Tuscan farmhouses, has a large living space of 2,200 square feet. Additionally, the property has a 2,400 square foot barn and workshop. The farmland had been previously depleted due to years of commodity farming. Following the Living Building criteria, the land was carefully revamped with permaculture farming methods using an integrated system of agriculture, horticulture and ecology, creating a system that will be regenerative for centuries to come. The Burbeck’s not only use these farming methods to grow their own food, but they also provide healthy food for the local community – and for those with limited access to fresh produce. Related: 9 of the most impressive Living Building Challenge certified projects To create a net-zero energy design , the home is equipped with clean energy generation through a 16.9-kilowatt solar array, which provides electricity to the home and back into the grid. Additionally, a passive solar system works with a very tight thermal envelope and a tall cooling tower to minimize heating and cooling needs. A closed-loop geothermal system provides radiant floor heating during the cold Michigan winters. For water conservation, the home uses a rainwater and snow harvesting system to be water net-positive . A rainwater collection system reroutes to supply 7,500 gallons of in-ground cisterns, used for non-potable water. An on-site well provides potable water at the moment to comply with local building codes, but the home is installed with a future-ready potable rainwater filtration system. After more than three and a half years designing the reformation, 18 months in construction and a year of performance auditing, Burh Becc at Beacon Springs Farm was awarded the Living Building Challenge certification in December 2017. Additionally, the home has been awarded a Platinum LEED Certification. When the Burbecks were asked why they took on such an ambitious project, they explained that it just made sense to their lifestyle. According to Marti Burbeck, “As we looked at the criteria for LBC certification we thought, why not go for it. If our goals include helping to change peoples’ relationship with the environment and to change building philosophies, we should start with our own project, and then become advocates.” Now that they’ve achieved their dream of converting Burh Becc into an icon of sustainability, they’re on their way to becoming advocates. The couple plan to host educational workshops and house tours to educate the community, the building industry, government officials, and anyone who will listen about the benefits of truly sustainable living. + Burh Becc at Beacon Springs + Architectural Resource Via CSR Wire Images via Burh Becc at Beacon Springs

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This idyllic 15-acre farmhouse is the worlds second Living Building residence

Desert Rain House in Oregon is one of the greenest homes in the world

February 10, 2017 by  
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There’s a new contender for the world’s greenest home: Desert Rain House in Bend, Oregon . Designed by Tozer Design , the LEED Platinum home recycles all its water, produces more power than it can use, and it is the first residential compound to be certified by the Living Building Challenge . Solar panels and a rainwater collection cistern help this super green home pioneer a new paradigm for sustainable family living. The five-building Desert Rain House boasts seriously environmentally friendly features. Human waste is composted thanks to a central composting system, and greywater is reused for irrigation via a constructed wetland. Natural and local materials comprise the elegant dwellings; reclaimed lumber and plaster made with local clay, sand, and straw are among the sustainable building materials utilized. Related: Kansas University students build net-zero home with LEED Platinum and Passive House certification Materials from old buildings that once occupied the site were repurposed for Desert Rain House, such as old stone salvaged from old foundations and used in concrete for patios. The team that built the home looked for ways to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible. For example, instead of having a manufacturer ship them roofing panels, the team assembled roofing onsite from a large roll of steel. Red List-compliant sealants and finishes also make for a non-toxic environment. Indoors the air is clear: not only can the owners open large windows for air circulation, but a waste heat-capturing energy recovery ventilator also means fresh air continually wafts through the main residence. Three homes and two out-buildings add up to 4,810 square feet situated on 0.7 acres. Elliott Scott, who owns the home with his wife Barbara, said in a statement, “We can’t continue thinking we are building a better world by making a ‘less bad’ version of the world we have created. The Living Building Challenge forces us to think in terms of a new paradigm.” + Tozer Design + Desert Rain House Via International Living Future Institute and Curbed Images via Desert Rain House Facebook and Desert Rain House

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Desert Rain House in Oregon is one of the greenest homes in the world

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