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August 20, 2013
One of our perennial favorite departments at Dwell is Off the Grid, our monthly section devoted to sustainable architecture, materials and techniques. Off the Grid has been a part of Dwell since the very beginning, and after 13 years, we've amassed quite the archive. Here are a few favorites from issues past.
Solar energy house in Denver’s Highland neighborhood

The Bright Stuff 

The Damianos’ house, located in Denver’s Highland neighborhood, runs completely on solar energy. When the couple approached Mike Moore, general contractor and design principal of the Boulder-based firm Tres Birds Workshop, sustainability topped their list of requirements. “The premise was to build a house that would last 400 years,” says John.

Read the entire article: http://www.dwell.com/green/article/bright-stuff

Originally appeared in Denver's Energy Efficient Home
1 / 5
Instead of installing a typical cement slab driveway, Waechter and Crymes opted for concrete pavers mixed with patches of Corsican mint that let rainwater permeate into the ground.

Z For Two

From backyard chicken coops and homegrown rainwater harvesting to energy-efficient building codes and sod roofs sprouting wind turbines, Portland, Oregon, wears its sustainability street cred proudly. But as much as locals are happy to get innovatively earth-friendly, they’re often stuck in the architectural past, clinging tightly to Douglas fir roots and craftsman moldings. Portland-based architect Ben Waechter and his wife, Realtor Daria Crymes, set out to show that well-integrated modern design is as much a part of sustainable community building as are the latest, greatest green products. To prove it, they designed and built the Z-Haus.

Read the entire article: http://www.dwell.com/green/article/z-two

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Z for Two
2 / 5
Modern sod roof

Highly Sod After

It is Thursday evening, time to water the lawn. Jacek Perkowski slips on some flip-flops and walks through a glass door in his open-air living room. He grabs a hose and gets to work. But Perkowski isn’t watering the grass in his yard; he’s watering his roof. There, above the rafters of his three-bedroom house, a seven-inch-deep carpet of sod grows in green velvet chunks. “The idea of having parties on the roof, this kind of thing, was very important for me,” says Perkowski, a Polish rock musician and former member of T. Love. “It’s another way of enjoying and living in and around the house.”

Read the entire article: http://www.dwell.com/green/article/modernist-rural-getaway-poland

Originally appeared in Modernist Rural Getaway in Poland
3 / 5

Barely There

If not for the dawn appearance of the bear, which came loping toward Maem Slater-Enns and her then six-month-old daughter as they sat contemplating the water, the Enns family might still be residing in tents at their remote island summer home on Shoal Lake, which straddles the borders of Manitoba and Ontario. Instead, they are lightly sheltered by graceful pavilions hand-built by her husband, Herbert Enns, a professor of architecture at the University of Manitoba, where he also directs the experimental media program.

Read the entire article: http://www.dwell.com/green/article/barely-there

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Barely There
4 / 5
The house clearly displays its Sea Ranch–style touches.

Pise Does It

Between two of the most beautiful towns on the California coast, Carmel-by-the-Sea and Big Sur, there’s a hidden valley: 31 square miles shared by just 300 families, each of whom owns a small parcel and the right to build. The area, originally known as Rancho San Carlos, was one of the last intact Mexican land-grant ranchos in California. Now it’s the Santa Lucia Preserve, a private eco-park, off-limits and unknown even to area natives.

Read the entire article: http://www.dwell.com/green/article/pise-does-it

Originally appeared in PISE Does It
5 / 5
Solar energy house in Denver’s Highland neighborhood

The Bright Stuff 

The Damianos’ house, located in Denver’s Highland neighborhood, runs completely on solar energy. When the couple approached Mike Moore, general contractor and design principal of the Boulder-based firm Tres Birds Workshop, sustainability topped their list of requirements. “The premise was to build a house that would last 400 years,” says John.

Read the entire article: http://www.dwell.com/green/article/bright-stuff

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