How to Build an Ecohome
What goes into making a home that conserves energy, water, and wood? Here are some of the components used in Berea's ecovillage—and you can install them in your own house
1 Geothermal Heat Pump
A ground source heat pump uses the constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool the apartments. Heat pumps use 30 to 60 percent less energy than conventional equipment.
2 Sustainably Harvested Lumber
Lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council was used for interior framing lumber and for trellises. Deciduous vines and plants covering the trellises provide shading in the summer months and reduce cooling loads.
3 Fiber Cement & Brick Siding
Berea Ecovillage used fiber cement board in combination with brick siding. More durable than wood or vinyl, fiber cement will not crack, rot, or delaminate over its 50-year lifespan.
4 Low-e Glazed Windows
Low-e glazed windows have special coatings that reduce heat transfer through the glass.Overhangs above all the windows allow the low-angle winter sun in and keep summer sun out.
5 Solar Light Tubes
Solar “light tubes” provide light from the sun to interior spaces. Simple to install and cost effective, the light tubes are real energy savers and will be especially helpful in delivering daylight to middle units of housing. Drawing of Berea Ecovillage © Van der Ryn Architects.