Green Home Building and Sustainable Architecture

Sustainable architecture is an exciting and important field, with many people reviving traditional methods of building and others creating innovations to established practices. Kelly Hart, webmaster of the popular website www.greenhomebuilding.com, posts text and photos featuring what he discovers from around the world.

My Photo
Name:
Location: Crestone, Colorado, United States

Kelly Hart has been involved with green building concepts for much of his life. He has also worked in various fields of communication media, including still photography, cinematography, animation, video production and now website development. Kelly has lived in an earthbag/papercrete home that he built and consults about sustainable building design.

May 30, 2012

Architect Angus Macdonald Now at Dream Green Homes

 I am pleased to announce that Angus W. Macdonald has joined our team of architects and designers who are represented at www.dreamgreenhomes.com. Angus received his Masters degree from the Yale School of Architecture along with the AIA medal for Excellence in the Study of Architecture in 1967. He wrote a construction manual for owner-builders on earth tempered housing, about how to site, design, finance, and build energy independent passive solar earth berm dwellings. The book was published by the Mother Earth News in 1982. His residential design received NAHB awards for best of show in Fredericksburg, VA, in the under $150,000 and under $250,000 categories in 1990.

In 1996, he filed a patent on the am-corâ„¢ unified steel and cement constructional system composed of light gauge galvanized steel frame panels coated on site with a continuous ferrocement skin. Macdonald's practice is now in Warrenton, Virginia. He holds licenses in: VA, PA, VT, TX, MI, and Washington, DC. He practices general architecture, with emphasis on residential design.

You can see one of his featured plans, Solareon Court, on the website and it is pictured above. The Solareon Court plan features a greenhouse type courtyard with a clerestory facing south. It can be built into a hillside, or superinsulated on flat land. The structure features a post & beam solar greenhouse room with a glass block fountain. Interior plan is open and simple, suitable for Ikea style wardrobes and storage units. This house is truly affordable; an owner builder could build such a plan for under $100,000. Houses that have been built like this need no fossil fuel to maintain comfortable interior year-round.

May 03, 2012

Adobe Windmills

I have recently been in correspondence with an Iranian researcher, Mostafa Aref haghi, who has chronicled a tradition in Iran of building adobe windmills. At first I thought that it was virtually impossible to build a windmill using adobe. But then as I studied the material that he sent I came to realize that yes, indeed, it is possible to build a windmill using adobe!


Basically the adobe structure provides support for a vertical wood-bladed mill that can be used to grind grain or put to other use. In some cases the adobe structure can also provide a channel for directing the wind toward the mill. I have posted a PDF file with many pictures and some description of these old structures that can be seen at http://greenhomebuilding.com/pdf/adobewindmills.pdf