written by:
July 19, 2012

If going green at home was so simple, everyone would do it right? And though it makes sense in theory, actually bringing a sustainable plan to life is often easier said than done. Over the past few years, however, Dwell has charted the incredible progress of eco-friendly design and the people taking what are often drastic steps to improve their homes and lifestyle for a green future. With that in mind, let's take a look back at our recent past in preparation for the future.  

LEED Platinum certification modern home renovation
With the help of Carver + Schickentanz Architects, Jason and Melissa Burnett were able to push their Carmel, California home's renovation from LEED Silver status to LEED Platinum-certified. With eco-friendly innovations like a retractable skylight for natural ventilation, double-pane windows to keep in air and heat, and sustainable landscaping with native vegetation, it's no wonder this mid-century-modern redesign is one of our green favorites. Click here to see the home's interior.
Photo by 
Originally appeared in Green Is in the Details
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Live-Work Home, Syracuse, New York
When he became the dean of Syracuse University's School of Architecture in 2004, Mark Robbins made a plan to help the city and, potentially, the entire country. “I wanted to see if we could build houses that simultaneously made propositions about sustainability and about the possibility of constructing houses in a city like Syracuse,” Robbins said. The result was three green homes for $200,000 each and the promise of more to come. Read more about the central New York project here.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
© Richard Barnes
Originally appeared in Near Westside Story
2 / 10
Starting at $179,000, the C6 is a three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,232-square-foot home outfitted with comfort and sustainability in mind. According to Glenn, hitting that magic number was the biggest challenge of designing this home, but, “a combination of sma
Located in the Southern Californian desert, this cost-effective prefab home is known as the C6. Somewhat surprisingly, the C6 starts well under $200,000 while maintaining LEED Platinum standards. According to Steve Glenn, CEO of developer LivingHomes, hitting that number was the biggest challenge of designing this home, but, “a combination of smart, selective design and really careful material design” helped make his longtime dream of a sustainable, cost-conscious home a reality. See more of this unique Palm Springs green home here.
Photo by 
Originally appeared in Green & Affordable Prefab Home Debuts in Palm Springs
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residential urban wooden box harpoon house
A basic box that’s as tall as it is wide (28 feet) and 16 feet long, this Portland, Oregon house consists of rooms stacked verti­cally: an unfinished basement on the bottom, a kitchen-living area and a bathroom in the middle, and a bedroom on top, with the stairwell hinged onto the front of the home. The only interior doors are those to the bathroom, basement, and root cellar, leaving the rest of the space open and unfettered. At just 704 square feet, Katherine Bovee and Matt Kirkpatrick's home is a great lesson in making the most out of every inch. Click here to see the interior.
Photo by 
Originally appeared in It's Hip to Be Square
4 / 10
Most of the homes in the area are single-story bungalows built in the 1920s and 1930s. The MacLeods' 1,100-square-foot home was originally built in 1927. Though it had its charms, it didn't meet the family's needs spatially or from a resource standpoint.
Through the Greenpoint system, Build it Green awards points for energy efficiency, resource conservation, indoor air quality, water conservation and community consideration in new projects as well as renovations. This Albany, California home scored 231 out of a possible 300 points as every aspect of the design was aimed at keeping it green. See the rest of architect and homeowner Ian MacLeod's sustainability project here.
Originally appeared in Building Green in Albany
5 / 10
A highlight of last year's Solar Decathalon, the CHIP house was designed, built, and transported to Washington DC by a team of over 100 SCI-Arc and Caltech students. The unusual home is an effort to "address the contemporary issues or sustainability, energy efficiency, and affordable housing through a built work. To see what CHIP stands for and a lot more, click here.
Originally appeared in Mr. CHIP Goes to Washington
6 / 10
The living room of the Suttles and Shah residence which includes a narrow screened door allowing for a southeast breeze.
Above all, Anne Suttles and Sam Shah's home in Austin, Texas is different because it was built to last a lifetime. With solar and rainwater collection setups, cross ventilation for cooling, and some recycled objects for decoration, this house is definitely green. However, the most sustainable aspect of this project was not created by Alterstudio Architects; it is the couple's lifestyle and the way in which it is applied to their special home. Click here to see what keeps Austin weird…and green.
Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Green Home to Last a Lifetime in Austin
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Backyard of 2 Bar House in Menlo Park
Rian and Melissa Jorgensen's 2 Bar House in Menlo Park boasts all the usual green design suspects: energy-efficient lighting, good insulation, renewable material finishes, radiant heat, and the roof is pre-wired for future PV panels. Executed by Feldman Architecture, the house requires only natural lighting during the day which keeps energy costs way down. Still, the most stunning aspect of the green design is the living roof planted with succulents, aloe, viviums, and ice plants. "I'm absolutely glad that we did it," says Melissa. "It turned out so well and I really enjoy sitting up there and taking advantage of it as much as I can. It's very peaceful." Read more about this total remodel here.
Originally appeared in Bar Method
8 / 10
Charred wood facade of a modern house in The Netherlands
Architect Pieter Weijnen's House 2.0 in IJburg, Amsterdam speaks for itself to an extent. Even so, Weijnen speaks for it quite admirably. “It’s a passive house. We’ve got the biggest triple-glazed window in the Netherlands and a geothermal heating ex­change system. There is a wood-burning stove; a rainwater tank; and—a bit unusual for the city—a wind turbine on the roof.” Humbly, Weijnen left out the whole tree used instead of a girder, adobe walls instead of plaster, and a charred-wood facade that make this anything but an ordinary eco-house. Click here to see how this Dutch jewel came to fruition.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
I See For You © Föllmi Photography
Originally appeared in Second to None
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The kitchen cupboards were crafted from recycled wooden wine boxes, and the countertop is untreated wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) from Ikea. The green-and-white tiles are from a local company, TAU Cerámica.
This 625-square-foot Barcelona apartment is as green as it gets. There are cabinets made from wooden wine boxes, cork floors installed without glue, PVC-free pipes, secondhand furniture and even a worm-composting enterprise on one of the tiny balconies. “When done right, designing sustainably is not more expensive or uglier,” eco-designer and owner Petz Scholtus says. “You just have to be that extra bit more creative.” See the rest of the highly-efficient home here.
Originally appeared in Green Living in Barcelona
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LEED Platinum certification modern home renovation
With the help of Carver + Schickentanz Architects, Jason and Melissa Burnett were able to push their Carmel, California home's renovation from LEED Silver status to LEED Platinum-certified. With eco-friendly innovations like a retractable skylight for natural ventilation, double-pane windows to keep in air and heat, and sustainable landscaping with native vegetation, it's no wonder this mid-century-modern redesign is one of our green favorites. Click here to see the home's interior. Photo by Mathew Scott.

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