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Have we passed a tipping point beyond which we can no longer reverse a course of action that was charted several decades ago? Sustainable argues that we can indeed detach our dwellings from a dependence on many external systems and resources and adopt other building practices. What is known as living off the grid is possible, and Sustainable presents forty-five houses that demonstrate how architects use sustainable design concepts around the world. Among the examples presented here are buildings that minimize their physical footprint through placement above ground; houses where earth constitutes the chief building material and houses incorporating walls with plant material in the building’s interior (also known as “living walls”); designs that increase natural light and avoid artificial means of illumination; dwellings that have been designed to let occupants grow their food (“indoor farming”); homes that allow their inhabitants to harvest and recycle water; and earth-sheltered homes. Together these projects illustrate what vernacular design principles can teach us and make Sustainable a unique and authoritative presentation of the ingenuity and variety of sustainable design.
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