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Category Archive: Small Energy Efficient Houses

An off-grid cob retreat on a private bluff

Stoltz Bluff Eco-Retreat sits on 40 acres of private forest land overlooking a river valley on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The residence was built from natural and recycled materials and is completely… Continue reading

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Casa Solare combines rustic design and energy self-sufficiency | Studio Albori

This very unusual small tower house sits at an elevation of 5,700 feet in the Italian Alps. Casa Solare was designed by Milan’s Studio Albori to look “undesigned”, as if no professional architect… Continue reading

Solar Decathlon 2013: InSite

A team from Vermont’s Middlebury College designed and built this small house for Solar Decathlon 2013. InSite, as it is called, is intended to meet the needs of young Vermont families. The team… Continue reading

An energy-efficient contemporary laneway house by Lanefab

Laneway housing continues to grow in popularity wherever it is allowed and Vancouver, Canada is no exception. Over 500 of the accessory dwellings have been built there since Vancouver first approved them in… Continue reading

Solar Decathlon 2013: Borealis, a small house for shared living

Team Alberta Solar Decathlon took a unique approach to the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition. Their entry, called Borealis, is designed to be shared by unrelated housemates. The small house features two separate bedroom… Continue reading

Solar Decathlon 2013: Start.Home

Start.Home is the Solar Decathlon 2013 entry by team Stanford Solar Decathlon. It is one of the larger entries, with up to two bedrooms in a 988 ft2 (91.8 m2) floor plan. For… Continue reading

Solar Decathlon 2013: Harvest Home

Harvest Home is the Solar Decathlon 2013 entry by Team Capitol DC, made up of three schools from the Washington, D.C. area – Catholic University, George Washington University and American University. The house… Continue reading

Solar Decathlon 2013: SHADE

Solar Decathlon 2013 wrapped up last week and we’ll be taking a look at a few of the entries. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Solar Decathlon is a biannual event… Continue reading

A loft-like laneway house by Lanefab

Lanefab Design/Build recently completed this laneway house in the backyard of their clients’ existing house in Vancouver, Canada. The owners are renting the laneway house out for now but plan to eventually move… Continue reading

The R.House by Rural Design Architects

With its rugged landscape and scenic natural beauty, Scotland’s Isle of Skye has become a popular holiday destination. But like many tourism hotspots, that popularity has led to rising land prices, to the… Continue reading

studio37, a modern backyard cottage by Small Modern Living

More and more cities are recognizing the advantages of allowing secondary units in the backyards of existing houses. Whether called accessory dwelling units, granny flats, garden cottages, or any one of a dozen… Continue reading

The Soleta zeroEnergy One, a small sustainable house

The Soleta zeroEnergy is a new family of modular eco-friendly houses by the Justin Capra Foundation for Inventions and Sustainable Technologies (FITS) in Romania. FITS set out to design flexible homes that would… Continue reading

A prefab desert retreat by nottoscale

The high desert of Nevada, just east of Death Valley, is a pretty barren and inhospitable place. But for the owners of this small vacation house, there is beauty in the parched landscape… Continue reading

The Diagon Alley passive house by WorkshopL

This small house in Steamboat Springs, Colorado combines modern design and a cutting-edge super-insulated building envelope with a traditional exterior appearance. As its name suggests, the Diagon Alley house sits just off the… Continue reading

A straw bale cabin by AATA Arquitectos

This small cabin in a rural area of central Chile uses little energy and has a low carbon footprint. AATA Arquitectos designed the cabin, opting for a two level floor plan to minimize… Continue reading

River Road House, a beautiful timber frame dwelling by Nir Pearlson

River Road house is a small timber frame dwelling in Oregon designed by Nir Pearlson, Architect Inc., a small firm with an interest in green design. They were asked to create a comfortable… Continue reading

The Edge modular home by Boutique Modern

This distinctive modern dwelling is a small modular home manufactured in Britain by Boutique Modern Ltd. They produce modular buildings that are designed with sustainability and energy-efficiency in mind. One design element that… Continue reading

The Low-Impact “Hen House” by Rural Design

This unique small house can be found on the western coast of Scotland’s Isle of Skye. It was designed by the architects from Rural Design Architects to fit in with the vernacular crofters’… Continue reading

The E.D.G.E., a small prefab house by Revelations Architects/Builders

Following the 2006 housing market crash in the United States, Revelations Architects/Builders set out to design a small house alternative to the bloated McMansion that had become so prevalent there. They aimed to… Continue reading

Fish Creek Guest House, a small modern home by Carney Logan Burke

Architect Jim Carney of Carney Logan Burke Architects designed this small modern house for his wife and himself. It is intended to become their guest house, but they are living in it for… Continue reading

Net-zero solar laneway house by Lanefab Design/Build

Lanefab Design/Build recently completed this energy-efficient laneway house with Mid-Century Modern styling. “Laneway house” is the term used in Vancouver, British Columbia for a second small house built in the backyard of an… Continue reading

Portland ADU by Studio Eccos Design

Homeowner Kol Peterson provided these photographs of his appealing shingled cottage. It is an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), a small house built in the back yard of an existing house. ADU’s go by… Continue reading

Small House On a Hillside by Vladimír Balda

This small shed-roofed house is at the edge of a suburban area in the Czech Republic. It sits on a steep slope facing to the north. Architect Vladimír Balda designed it with a… Continue reading

The Dune House by William Morgan

This small earth-sheltered house in Atlantic Beach, Florida is actually a duplex, two near-identical homes of 750 ft2 (69.7 m2) each. They were built in 1975 by architect William Morgan to use as… Continue reading