Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Are 100-Mile Houses the Next Green Building Trend?

Taking a page from the locavore food movement, an architectural competition in Vancouver asks entrants to design a home using materials made or recycled within 100 miles of the city, writes Mark Boyer.
February 27, 2012, 1pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

According to Boyer, "The idea of a 100-mile house shouldn't be shocking: Historically, most homes were made using local materials simply because it was more practical. But in an age when even middle-class homeowners can order marble countertops from Italy and bamboo floors from China, creating a home entirely from local materials challenges builders to carefully consider every piece of the structure, from the foundation to the eaves."

This is the ethos that has driven an international competition organized by the Architecture Foundation of British Columbia. Inspiration can be found in the foundation's own backyard at the 1,150-suqare-foot home built by naturalist and writer Briony Penn in British Columbia, just across the Strait of Georgia from Vancouver, with help from builder Michael Dragland.

Besides the expected environmental benefits of building from local sources, Penn found wider sociological and economic benefits. "'"The 100-mile house is just fun,' Penn says. 'It provides a fun way to define how you're going to build a house, because you go out and you talk to all your neighbors, and it builds community and puts money back in the hands of everybody in your community.'"

Full Story:
Published on Friday, February 24, 2012 in Good
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email