Today I watched an episode of Wired Science on PBS.  They were talking about this super-green house that was made by a company called Livinghomes.  It was kind of an old episode so the company’s been in business for quite some time now.  It was particularly interesting to me because they incorporated a lot of my ideas into the homes that they build so I must be on the right track. Steve Glenn is the owner and he has put everything green, renewable, and sustainable that you could think of into the houses that he builds. 

He starts out with a modular constructed home that is prefabricated in a factory to reduce onsite construction costs and pollution caused by trucks.  And on the inside of the house they make sure to use nontoxic building materials, substances, paints, coatings and furniture so the house doesn’t have all the poisonous fumes and toxic molds that many of the new tight houses have associated with them.  Hopefully all houses that are built above ground will be built like this soon.

Here is a partial summary of Steve’s house from the show:

The living homes demonstration house is 2480 square foot in size.  It is 80% more efficient than a conventional structure of similar size.

It costs $390 per square foot to build, some 25% less than typical high and construction in the neighborhood (in California).  This is the first home to receive the platinum LEED standard set by the nonprofit United States Green Building Council.

Solar panels on the roof provide 80 to 85% of the energy needed for the house.  A Solar hot water heating system is also mounted on the roof.  This provides all the hot water necessary for the house including items such as the shower and washing machine.  In addition, this system also provides all the energy needed for the radiant heating system embedded in the floor of each room.

A water recycling system and a rainwater collection system provides irrigation water to a rooftop garden.




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2 Responses to “Livinghomes”

  1. petervmoor Says:

    This link is broken:

    I’m trying to convince my female house-mate that we are losing a lot of heat through a large square-footage of windows in relation to the size of our small apartment, and need all the info I can get. Not that I have much chance, for she is blithely unaware of the scientific principle *g*.

    But how can she argue with a simple math calculation? (She can, and she will, but I must give it a try.) All I need to do is get the windows sqft., and determine in $$ how much more we’re paying for gas heating to keep a reasonable temp inside for a given temp outside without any barrier at all, and how much we’d save if we covered the windows with brown paper bags. (Or beaver pelts — or ANYTHING AT ALL) *G*.

    • johnceberhardt Says:

      Hi Peter,

      I’m sorry but I haven’t been on here in a bit (as you can see).

      Where did I stick that broken link? I don’t see it in this post….

      Well it looks like I may have even written that article. Anything you can do to stop the heat loss at night is best (anything is the key word here, little is better than nothing).

      North facing windows are a total loss and need to be covered during the winter months (other months they may provide some nice natural lighting without the heat). East and West facing windows give morning and evening relief but would need thermal shutters on timers or light senors for best results. Configured properly, South facing windows will yield solar heat gain during daylight hours on sunny days. A black mass behind them with thermal shutter connected to a light sensor would be a nice solution.

      And, yes, I think beaver pelts would work nicely but alas i fear PETA may burn your apartment- a temporary source of energy anyway.

      Best regards,


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