If you’re worried about dependence on fossil fuels, the RuralZed timber-frame kit house can make you self-sufficient. The house’s energy-conserving features include south-facing windowed walls, a solar-thermal water heating system, natural ventilation that exploits air pressure differentials, heat-absorbent cement or masonry walls and floors, and an airtight polymer membrane that seals seams and joints. Thanks to the resulting savings, the house’s energy requirements can be met by roof-mounted solar panels and specially designed wind turbines that rotate around a vertical axis.
Cost: About $240 per square foot for the basic house (erected), $280 per square foot with all the options (erected)
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