Sustainable Design


Sustainable Design creates human environments that promote better health, efficiency, comfort and convenience while preserving our natural resources for future generations by maximizing the use of renewable resources and minimizing consumption of non-renewable resources.

Using today's technology , our priorities must include

  • Developing and using non-polluting and renewable sources of energy — sun, wind
  • Using long-lasting or remanufactured building materials — metals, concrete, recycled materials
  • Innovative adaptations of ancient building techniques — stone, adobe or rammed earth, and other locally obtained materials
  • Quickly renewable resources where appropriate — straw bale, soft woods and bamboo

All of these products and techniques are available to today’s homeowner. Many simple and affordable techniques and materials exist that can boost the energy efficiency of your home, reduce maintenance, and provide greater strength and beauty while helping to conserve natural resources. And they are applicable whether your project is large or small, whether you are building a new home, remodeling an older home or making interior design changes.

Long-lasting Low Maintenance Materials

  • Engineered wood-product or metal framing systems
  • Masonry materials
  • Stained concrete floors, countertops, or other surfaces
  • Factory finished metal roofing and siding systems
  • Factory-finished metal clad wood, or fiber-reinforced resin, window and exterior door frames to reduce maintenance and painting in uncontrolled environment

Energy Efficiency

  • High quality windows and exterior doors
  • Efficient and “Smart” temperature control systems such as ground source heat pump, radiant heating, and energy efficient appliances
  • High efficiency wood burning stoves and enclosed fireplaces with ducted and dampered supply air intakes from outside to reduce waste of heated air
  • Heat-exchange ventilation systems for fresh air and indoor air quality
  • Air-lock entry areas to reduce uncontrolled air exchange with outdoor during extreme weather
  • Low-E surfaces and inert gas filling with multi-layered glazing on windows to control heat exchange between the interior and exterior of the building
  • Maximize insulation in all exterior surfaces, including basement
  • Site orientation and building design to take advantage of passive solar gain
  • Incorporate high thermal mass materials within the building to store heat and stabilize interior temperatures

Renewable Materials

  • Small-dimension lumber or engineered lumber products and other wood framing materials from rapidly growing and sustainably-managed sources
  • Straw bales and straw boards or similar products to take advantage of local “waste” materials
  • Bamboo products

Recycled Materials

  • Flooring, countertop and wall surface materials such as tile from recycled glass and carpet from recycled plastic drinking containers
  • Reclaimed masonry, wood, lumber, timbers, doors, other elements from existing buildings
  • Cellulose insulation from recycled newspapers
  • Roofing or flooring materials from tires and other reclaimed rubber products
  • Decking from wood-fiber waste and recycled plastics

Alternative Energy Sources

  • Passive solar design - working with the natural environment to maximize heat gain in winter, minimize heat gain in summer and provide natural ventilation
  • Active solar for water and space heating
  • Solar or wind power to generate electricity