One of my ‘Guilty Pleasures’ is watching EXTREME HOMES. It airs Sunday, 8 p.m. on the Home Network. Every week they showcase 4-5 houses that are ‘extreme’ in some way. Some houses are built in trees, perched precariously on cliffs, have natural water falls cascading through them, and almost always, the houses are ‘green’.
Some of my favorite European houses feature grass roofs. From the back side you don’t see a house, you see a hill in the landscape. As you come around to the front, the structure and windows become visible. Apparently the grass keeps the house warm in winter, cool in summer, lessens the carbon footprint and is just pretty cool. It slips naturally into the landscape.
Now the Hotchkiss school in Connecticut, USA, by the architectural firm Centerbrook, has cut a six figure sum from its energy bill and has reduced its carbon footprint by 45%, by replacing its oil-burning boiler with a woodchip biomass burner, and covered it’s roof in grass. The electrostatic precipitator installed in the biomass burner removes 95% of particles from emissions before entering the atmosphere.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), verifies that a building is designed and built in a way that improves energy savings, water efficiency, interior environmental quality, and CO2 emissions reduction. LEED is deployed in over 30 countries around the world.
The Hotchkiss school uses water-saving faucets, local and recycled building materials, and energy efficient lighting and ventilation.