People build "natural", sustainable homes for a variety of reasons. Some are motivated by the desire to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, some to reduce ongoing heating, cooling and maintenance expenses, some to feel healthier in their home, some because their dream property is off the utilities grid or does not have available ground or piped water, and others because they care deeply about the future of our environment.

Sustainable home designs and technologies have evolved significantly over the last 20-30 years. Extensive progress has been made since the early experiments with solar glazing, rammed earth tires, straw bale construction and electricity generated through photovoltaic cells and wind generators.

There are many products and design techniques available today to construct homes that are earth-friendly, aesthetic in design and cost competitive.

Sustainable Design Features

Passive solar principles to heat a building in the winter (reduced heating costs)

Natural day light for lighting during the day (reduced energy costs)

Passive solar principles and ventilation to cool a building in the summer (reduced cooling costs and sun glare)

Solar Electric system to augment or replace electricity from the grid (reduced energy costs and interruptions from power outages)

Solar Thermal system to heat water for a home's space heating, domestic hot water and/or pool (reduced heating costs)

Gray water system to irrigate gardens (reduced water costs, recycle precious water)

Rainwater catchment to provide water for irrigation and drinking (reduced water costs)

Alternative building materials such as straw bale, rammed earth, Rastra Block, E-Crete, etc (reduced energy costs and more stable interior temperatures)

Compost toilets or alternative septic systems (reduced water use and septic costs)

Hypo-allergenic materials and finishes (reduced allergic reactions and increased health)

Combine features and products for a quiet, relaxing, healthy home (reduced health problems, more enjoyable home)

Regardless of the motivation to build one, sustainable homes are more "independent", earth-friendly, more comfortable to live in and less expensive to operate and maintain than traditionally designed and constructed homes. They can be progressive or traditional in appearance, and often incorporate traditional as well as more sustainable materials and systems. SolarTerra Design LLC can design, support the construction of and maintain your future sustainable home.

Whether you're just beginning your research, are planning to build a "natural" home, or are in the process of building one, please check out our services and resources, and contact us if we can be of any assistance.

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