Green Living: Building an eco house from the ground up

While eco homes might not be readily available on the market yet, there are a slew of green architects who will soon set that right. Helping people make the transition to a new eco-friendly world, these architects are eschewing energy-guzzling carbon-spewing homes and offices for modern structures that run on very little energy, are made from natural materials, and are at the same time extremely stylish.

Traci Rose Rider is one of the founders of Emerging Green Builders, a coalition of professionals and students who promote green living, with members in 45 cities throughout the US.

Emerging Green Builders (EGB) Groups in the US

Rider designs spaces not just to be inhabited, but to positively influence the well-being of its users and the surrounding environment as well.

Kieran Timberlake is an American architectural firm dedicated to pushing the boundaries of sustainable design. Its innovative concepts go beyond having eco-friendly features added on – instead, these features are inseperable from the buildings themselves.

Loblolly House Taylors Island, Maryland by Kieran Timberlake

One example is Lablolly House on Chesapeake Bay in the US. Constructed off-site and assembled in less than six weeks, the 204-sq-m (2,200-sq-ft) pre-fab structure exists in harmony with the forest, to the point of having its foundations laid on timber piles.

Viewed from the east, its uneven rain screen siding acts as camouflage amid the loblolly pines. Natural daylight, ventilation and glazing also minimise its impact on the environment.

William McDonough of William McDonough & Partners, Architecture and Design, designs friendly offices, factories and corporate campuses for Nike, Gap and IBM. Currently, he is planning an ambitious series of green communities in China, the UK and the US. Catch William McDonough at the Inaugural Innovation Celebration 2013.

Architects Alex Michaelis and Tim Boyd create structures that can heat themselves – a particularly useful advantage in damp and chilly England, where they operate. They have produced some amazing stylish staircases which can be seen here.

Busy Badger @ Michaelis Boyd Studio

Down in warmer climes, Guz Wilkinson voted by Wallpaper magazine as one of the top 10 architects in the world, creates naturally cool homes in tropical Singapore. He accomplishes this with ‘open’ buildings that include breezy atriums and catilevered roofs which maximise air circulation and protect against tropical downpours. In addition, Green technology is also employed in the form of photovoltics, water-recycling systems and tools that minimise energy usage.

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