Baby boomers looking to retire in a very “green” way often end up being frustrated. The main reason is that most active adult communities are anything but environmentally friendly – they are located far from community centers so they require lots of driving, they don’t always use the most energy-efficient materials and systems, and they usually ignore alternative energy sources and low carbon footprints. The alternative for those truly dedicated to the movement is to strike out on their own, which though might be fun, can also be expensive and prone to trial and error.
The Wall Street Journal published an eye-opening article earlier this year on the “Green House of the Future“. The Journal asked 4 leading architects to come up with a home design that was environmentally friendly – and possible. The results were amazing:
– A house like a tree. The “bark” of the building contained photosynthetic layer that captures sunlight. The home had a lot of other cool features as well.
– So why not a house like a lizard. Cook + Fox came up with a home that turns “dark in the bright sun to insulate the house”, and clearer on dark days to help warm the house.
– The Incredible Edible House. The concept from Rios Clementi Hale Studios featured a home with edible crops like chickpeas on the outside. The food being grown not only helps feed the occupants, it provides insulation. Windmills and water capture are other features of the home.
– A “breeze chimney“. The home from Mouzon Design has many typical energy generating features such as solar panels, but it also has an old architectural tool, the breeze chimney to help heat and cool the home.
Recycled Green Homes in Phoenix
Green Street Development in Phoenix is winning kudos for their LEEDS certified remodelings in downtown Phoenix. The concept is sound, why not turn former tract homes either in town or near public transportation lines into zero energy consuming homes. While the firm is pitching the project towards young urban professionals, in our opinion they are missing half of the boat – retiring baby boomers who not only want to downsize but be near the urban action too. Listen in to the PBS podcast, it’s most interesting.