We exist in relationship to life in its many forms though many relationships are unseen. With care and intention we can attempt to design for a regenerative impact.

Deep Green Home Design

Deep green design emphasizes locally sourced, non-toxic, place appropriate, and passive technologies that work with natural forces instead of against them. They support healthy manufacturing and construction jobs and health and well being for households and communities.

Eco Healthy Homes

The ecological demonstration home design is the result of hundreds of hours from dozens of volunteers and consultants, including expert technical advisors from North America and Europe.

Though the combination of criteria is unprecedented, we are relying on proven building envelope science principles to ensure a seismically sound, healthy, self-drying envelope, and a resilient, durable design that is energy and water efficient.

Technical criteria for the 800 sf wood frame home is guided by the principles of natural building, and the Passive House and Living Building Challenge standards with attention to the impact of its components through their full lifecycle. At a minimum it aims to meet Net Zero Water (100% rainwater) and Net Zero Energy Ready, (Step Code 5).

The most preferred among the choices suitable for the above goals are:

  • replicable by any builder
  • regional (or that could be made regionally)
  • small to medium size producers
  • supportive of household resilience (food/water/energy security)
  • durable (fire, pest, rot, service life) and affordable over the long term
  • compatible with permitting, insurance, financing and warrantee requirements

Protecting our environment and our climate while creating healthier jobs that are closer to home supports the happiness and well being of our communities.

General Design Priorities

The following list is a brief summary of the overall design priorities:

  • Lifecycle health and environmental impacts
  • Up front cost
  • Long term affordability
  • Resilient design (especially food/water/energy security)
  • Durability (fire, pest, rot, service life)
  • Seismic resistance
  • Replicability and local production opportunities
  • Regulatory, insurance and warrantee considerations

Detailed design priorities

The following detailed specifications have guided the goals for the demonstration home and hillside site.

Energy and water efficiency:
  • Integrated systems design for maximum energy and water efficiency
  • Emphasis on passive heating, lighting and ventilation
  • Long East West axis for maximum south exposure
  • Window glass maximized on south side and minimized on West and North
  • Net Zero Water (rainwater only, metal roof, waterless toilet, grey water reuse, low water appliances and fixtures)
Building envelope:
  • Self drying, moisture tolerant envelope
  • Passive indoor temperature and humidity regulation
  • Resistance to mold, fire, insects and rodents
  • Seismic design sufficient for post earthquake occupancy
  • Ample roof overhangs for building envelope protection
  • Compatibility with use of back up power and or total power interruptions
  • Minimal lifecycle environmental and humanitarian impacts
  • Proven performance and company reputation
  • Quality of warrantee protection and reliability of supplier
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Cost and availability of replacement parts/repair options
  • Upfront and long term affordability for households
  • Service life and repair expenses
  • Passive light and heat
  • Successional options such as future home expansion
  • Site and home design and wiring for renewable energy add ons
  • Small square footage to lower the cost of building products and technologies.
  • Salvage product options (for products that are widely available)
  • Intelligent dimensional design to minimize waste
  • Operations, maintenance and repair costs
  • Exploration of opportunities for local, cooperative production of components
Change Catalyst:
  • Achievable and relatable methods – without extensive training
  • Products that are available within participating communities
  • Economic opportunities for local community
  • Local production opportunities for more affordable Eco Healthy Homes
Minimization of:
  • Site damage and permanent impacts
  • Toxicity
  • Concrete
  • Foam
  • Engineered wood products
  • Drywall or gypsum
  • PVC
  • Petroleum products
  • Red list items etc (see standards on website)
Human Health:
  • Healthy air quality and easy to clean home
  • Cold storage and food preparation prioritized
  • Non-toxic maintenance
  • Healthy jobs for factory and construction workers
  • Community impacts from product manufacturing, construction and landfill
Resilience and durability:
  • Strong, resilient design with resistance to fire, earthquakes, and wind
  • Simple, passive and manual technology
  • Back up systems for electrical independence
  • Easy to maintain and easy to repair home
  • Resistance to mold, pests, moisture and weathering
  • Design and technologies for convenient energy/water conservation
  • Single level, wheelchair accessible (and adaptable for wheelchair living)
  • Easy care design for a longer lasting house
  • Spacious but compact design
  • Separate sound/visual zones to support flexible use and harmony for multiple occupants

Site design

  • Beauty and a low maintenance, edible landscaping (food forest)
  • Max utilization of hill through terraced levels
  • Maximum potential for rainwater harvesting and solar exposure
  • Renewable energy upgrade options
  • 100% rainwater with waterless toilet and greywater reuse
  • Emphasize outdoor living and on site food production
  • Potential for future home expansion/successional planning
  • A site for the planned Harmony Habitat office