The collection of green homes is growing each year. Despite the current slump in the U.S. housing market, the green building industry continues to grow by an annual 30 percent. Here are 5 eco houses that are setting the bar for innovative design with a small carbon footprint.

Pasadena_EcoHouse.jpg

Pasadena EcoHouse
Designed by StudioRMA, this EcoHouse, (above), located in Pasadena, California is built primarily of green Structural Concrete Insulated Panels (SCIPS) made of 60 percent recycled material.  Construction is still in progress, but is slated for LEED Platinum certification.  The house will feature a grid-tied solar electric system, a solar heating system, recycled glass countertops, a graywater collection system, as well as other green building attributes.  At 1,975 square feet, the 3-bedroom home will stand on a hillside in the San Rafael Hills and offer a view of the San Gabriel Mountains and Old Pasadena.  More information can be found at thepasadenaecohouse.com.

Portland_house_1.jpgPortland_house_2.jpg

Portland House
This new home (above) in Northeast Portland, Oregon is the first in its city to receive a platinum LEED rating for sustainability.  Designed by Zac Blodget, a structural engineer for Nishkian Dean, and constructed by Root Design Build, this house is 40 percent more efficient than the current energy code and 25 percent more efficient than base Energy Star certification.  Features include low-emissivity insulated glass windows, zero-VOC paint, a rain barrel water-collection system, and drought-tolerant and permeable landscaping.  Measuring 1,680 square feet with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and a 1-car garage, the home is currently on the market for $340,000.  Considering typical custom homes sell for $1 million-plus, this home comes at a bargain.  More details can be found at Design/Vert.

LV_series.jpg

LV Homes
These modern kit homes, (above), designed by Rocio Romero, embrace principles of simplicity, quality, environment, and space.  By creating deeper wall and roof cavities, and using rigid and tapered insulation, higher energy efficiency is achieved.  The roofs have double the thermal resistance of conventional homes.  And flexible window configurations maximize natural lighting and ventilation.  Each LV series model is highly customizable; many past models feature solar electric systems, radiant heating, and swamp coolers.  There are 6 available models, with base prices ranging from $20,570 to $46,050.  For more information and model floor plans, visit rocioromero.com.

Glidehouse.jpg

Glidehouse
The Glidehouse, (pictured above) designed by Michelle Kaufmann, is a prefabricated home guaranteed to achieve a gold or platinum LEED rating, depending on owner preferences for finishes, building systems, and site design. Each house meets Energy Star standards for energy efficiency, as well as performance standards of the Health House program part of the American Lung Association. Green building products are featured throughout each home, including dual-pane glass windows, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, tankless water heaters, and a mechanical ventilation system that is 30 percent more efficient than conventional systems. Each home can also be easily customized with renewable energy systems. A photovoltaic system can be installed upon delivery, as well as geothermal, wind generator or hybrid systems. For more information and photos, visit mkd-arc.com.

playa_1.jpgplaya_solar.jpg

Playa
This green home (above) is still a work in progress with completion estimated for early 2009, but is expected to achieve LEED platinum certification.  Go Green Construction has taken on this project as a green home case study, situating Playa in a McMansion neighborhood located in Westchester, California.  Unlike its ungreen neighbors, the Playa will feature an array of green building systems and products, including an electric car recharging station, a solar panel system, graywater recycling system, living walls, smart home automation to save energy, and much more.  Also, 95 percent of the previous structure’s materials were either reused or recycled, minimizing waste.  The house measures a large 4,300 square feet, but is proving that even large homes can be sustainable.  For regular updates on the project’s progress, visit Go Green Construction’s blog at gogreencalifornia.blogspot.com.