Not everybody is quite ready to admit their own duty of care to the planet that we call our home. There are still people out there who don’t recycle, who waste food and insist on driving cars that are far bigger than they ever ought to be.
There are some people out there who don’t even believe that global warming is a real concept. Despite increasingly extreme weather, they still reckon that climate change is an invention of shady politicians and shadowy organizations.
Fortunately for the rest of us, there are other human beings out there who go above and beyond their own duty of care. These people shape their whole lives around the health of the planet and they let it transform their homes too. Here are 10 of the world’s most inspiring eco-friendly buildings.
Howe Dell Primary School, Hatfield
Howe Dell in Hertfordshire is Britain’s most eco-friendly school. Its toilets flush using rainwater, its desks are made from recycled drainpipes, and it gets its winter heat from sunshine trapped and stored during the summer months. That’s right, Howe Dell is a school in the UK that uses a state of the art IHT system installed beneath its playground.
The Active House, Lystrup
This house in Denmark is the result of attempts to design and build a zero carbon home that is still comfortable, useful and sustainable. It uses solar generated electricity, solar heating and has an advanced computer system that controls its interior climate. This computer system can open and close windows according to the current interior and exterior temperatures.
Flow House, New Orleans
The highly sustainable Flow House was designed to be an alternative domicile for those made homeless by Hurricane Katrina. According to expert John Wolfendale, it has photovoltaic roof panels, a rainwater harvesting system, natural ventilation and specially designed ‘rain gardens.’ The very best thing about the Flow House, however, is that it can be broken down and entirely recycled.
The Dome House, Japan
Whilst these dome houses might not be the prettiest of things, they are incredibly useful. They’re sold as ‘kit houses’ that consumers can construct themselves and they’re made entirely of Styrofoam. This makes the Dome House not only 100% eco-friendly, but also much more resilient when it comes to earthquakes, hurricanes and typhoons.
995 Longbow Place, Colorado
995 Longbow Place is officially the world’s most expensive eco-house. As you’d expect, it’s also the most luxurious. It’s constructed entirely out of organic or recycled materials (this even includes the paint) and it has wraparound wall insulation that provides eco-friendly heat during the autumn and winter months.
Brooks Avenue House, Venice Beach
This luxurious house extension in the USA has taken the notion of green living rather literally. One section of the property is entirely covered by a ‘living’ wall – an organic, active system that takes in captured rainwater and recycles it for domestic use. It also has its own vegetable garden, low flush toilets and solar panels.
Amongst Trees, Sydney
This inspiring, eco-friendly build in Australia has a 30ft eucalyptus tree growing through its middle. It was built never to disrupt or displace the environment in which it sits, so its creators have simply incorporated architecture and nature. It sits on steel pillars, high up in a forest of protected trees. It is, quite literally, a tree house for grown ups.
Hof Country Residence, Skakafjordur
This rather beautiful house in Iceland was very obviously built with the environment in mind. All of the earth displaced during the construction of this property was gently re-homed and Green Roofing Technology used to create magical rooftop gardens.
The Woodman’s Cottage, Sussex
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Woodman’s Cottage made waves a few years ago when it appeared on the British version of Grand Designs. Its wooden frame is filled with recycled newspaper and straw bale insulation, which is then coated in completely organic natural plaster made out of clay and lime. No trees were completely felled, or are ever felled because of this property – the owners will only ever coppice trees to encourage rapid re-growth.
Shelter House, Yport
Yport, in France, is home to the charmingly named Shelter House – a property that operates independently of the national grid. That means that it harvests its own electricity, heat and water via various processes like geothermal energy, rainwater harvesting and solar panel usage.