Although Texas is a red state and Republicans aren't always known for their love of renewable energy, the striking UR22 home by Vincent Snyder Architects completely flips this stereotype on its head. A combination of passive design techniques, the clever use of materials, and solar and geothermal energy harvesting ensures that the 4,000 square-foot single family residence eats up half as much energy per square foot as a conventional home does. The home is LEED Gold certified, and it also harvests all of its own rainwater, which is channeled into a collection tank for later reuse. It's big, like everything else in Texas, but it's also smart - read on for a look inside!
A durable envelope clad in Vermont Slate keeps heat gain to an absolute minimum, while the wall and roof surfaces are also naturally ventilated to keep the breeze flowing. The home is also flooded with a generous amount of natural lighting thanks to its clever orientation. Structural support is provided by sustainably harvested southern pine, and the roof’s plunging line enables easy rainwater harvesting. Finally, both solar and geothermal energy provide what little electricity the home does use, which gives us hope that sustainable building is finally crossing party lines.