Off-the-Grid Homes that Resist Hazards and Protect Wildlife
Climate change is a growing issue, with the real estate industry attempting solutions to slow the impact. One such solution is VISION House at Mariposa Meadows, a demonstration project featuring an enclave of off-the-grid, carbon-neutral homes. Situated on 123 acres near Telluride, CO, VISION House is in place to demonstrate that it is possible to design and build homes that conserve water and resources, promote positive indoor air quality, protect wildlife and are even resilient to the more dire effects of climate change.
The project is the brainchild of Green Builder Media, a company that builds and displays demonstration homes nationwide with a focus on sustainable designs and building techniques. Ron Jones and Sara Gutterman, president and CEO/Co-Founder, respectively, of Green Builder Media, acquired the Colorado land in 2013. Homes in the development include a two-story loft, studio space with a heated garage, and two apartments connected by an open atrium.
Homes come complete with structural insulated panels (SIPs) that are high on the scale of energy efficiency, while combination boilers heat water both for floor-based radiant heating systems and hot-water usage in sinks and showers. They’re powered by ground-mounted solar panels versus roof-mounted ones. Gutterman told the Washington Post that the bifacial panels collect the sun on both sides.
According to the Green Builder Media website, the enclaves rests on 11 tenets that include energy efficiency, renewables, conservation, smart technology, durability, multifunctional living spaces, indoor/outdoor living and wildlife protection. Benefits also include resiliency housing (with a focus on durable housing that can stand up to climate change hazards, such as wildfires and fierce storms), and onsite food production. The latter provides a focus on self-sufficiency, a test on “how to fill a larder with nutritious foods that grow well in a harsh climate,” the website indicated.
Jones told the Washington Post that another important facet of VISION House is to show how the real estate and construction industries can better protect trees when it comes to building materials and efforts. This, in turn, would help protect wildlife habitats.
“I don’t think the natural world and the built environment need to be in conflict,” he said.
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