This 4-bedroom, country Craftsman house plan (#153-1781) is a modest home that could house a large family comfortably. The best green highlight is that it uses the 2470 sq. feet wisely. Four bedrooms could house up to eight people, a very large family by today’s standards, while giving each enough room to feel comfortable. The open living spaces and multi-level design give place for various activities to happen simultaneously. This keeps the materials used down, and leaves more open landscape to Mother Nature.
This is another conventional house plan, like most, that doesn’t take passive solar power into consideration. Thats okay here. You could easily put additional windows on the rear side for southern exposure and solar gain, especially in that two story great room. If your lot doesn’t allow southern exposure, sun tubes are a great idea particularly in the bedrooms and around the balcony. Natural light here would greatly reduce the need for electricity. This is a simple and extremely cost effective way to save on utilities and use the regenerative power of the sun.
As you can see by the photos of this home (NDG-844), great style often means a lot of natural resources like wood and stone. Choose locally harvested stone products and look for FSC certified woods. Low and no VOC stains and varnishes will preserve air quality and reduce carcinogens in the home. The same holds true for paints. This is where you spend more money for your green. However, who can put value on healthy air and personal satisfaction?
Have a big yard? Whoever built this plan does. Landscaping is important. Try more plants and less grass. Put rain gutters around the entire roof and catch all the water coming off of it. Rain barrels can look attractive if you get them from the right place. If you want to invest in a large cistern, even better. Look into a grey water system for your indoor plumbing fixtures and appliances.
The key to this house is natural light, and lots of it, local stones and woods, low and no VOC products (insulation, paints, varnishes, adhesives, etc), and water catchments. A big roof sees lots of water. As always, insulate well and seal gaps. Greening your home creates a healthier indoor and outdoor environment, and brings deep satisfaction.