A house that restores the world around it

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 13:21

Usually environmentally concerned homeowners need to go to great lengths to convert their houses into structures that have little impact on their surroundings. This can especially be difficult if the house is takes up a large portion of land due to all the costs associated with heating, powering and supplying it with water. However, a couple in Portola Valley, California, has managed to make its 5,600-square-foot house a benefit to the ecosystem around it, reported Jetson Green.
The "Mountain Lion" houseLinda Yates and Paul Holland have christened their new home, Tah.Mah.Lah., or mountain lion in Native American Ohlone​. with all of the eco-friendly aspects of it, as well as its grandeur, it's not hard to see why. Even with its massive size, the house positively impacts the property on which it sits thanks to the couple's attempt to make the structure as green as possible. The whole process placed environmental awareness at the forefront during construction, as it was made of only recycled materials, as well as no paints or fossil fuels, according to Inhabitat.
Everything from the steel roof to the limestone fireplaces was salvaged from a granary located close by that was over a century old. The pieces the couple wasn't able to scrounge up, such as the wooden floors, were recycled from old barns in the area.
Keeping the lion goingThe real eco-friendly technologies come into play during everyday life in the house. Though the building is connected to the city's water supply, all of the wastewater generated from the showers and toilets is treated in a septic tank before being fed into an underground irrigation system that treats the yard. A 50,000 gallon cistern lies underneath the house as well, collecting rainwater to further augment the lawn with all its water needs.
To warm the house, a system similar to radiant heating is used, but with this installation,  except the water is fed to a subterranean geothermal system. The thermal energy warms the water and then pumps it back up to the house to produce floor heat. This aids the goal the couple wanted for the house: generating more power than it needs. A 120-panel solar power array adorns to the roof, ensuring there's plenty of energy to spare.
To guarantee the house doesn't use more energy than necessary, the homeowners installed a monitoring system that's in charge of the lighting inside as well as the mechanical shades and heat recovery ventilators. Some of the power-saving functions don't even require anyone to operate them such as the sensors set up in all the rooms that detect if anyone is in the room. If no one walks in within 10 minutes, the lights in the area automatically switch off to conserve even more energy, reported Jetson Green.
With these technological innovations incorporated throughout the house's design, the couple has ensured its new abode will be a benefit to occupants and visitors alike as well as the ecosystem around it.