Best environment-friendly house ever... maybe
August 27, 2010 2:25 PM   Subscribe

Someone had a very well-planned, environment-friendly house - built 30 or 40 years ago. Where's the video?

Some time ago, I found a video where a man gave a tour of his house. It was a pretty nifty tour, since his house has several distinctive features:

- The house is built on a hill, with the north side mostly buried in the ground to maintain constant temperatures within, and the south side has floor-to-ceiling windows to let in sunlight and warmth during the winter.
- Curtains for said windows are on the outside to block out heat should there be any from sunlight during hotter days.
- Stone floors in the living room soak up heat during the day when sunlight hits them. At night, the floors release their absorbed heat, so the living room stays at a constant temperature, 24/7.
- A lot of trees planted on the south side to control the amount of sunlight
- Ceiling fans to circulate the air if needed
- The house has no heater, no air conditioning, and was built 30 or 40 years ago before the current trend of environment-friendly housing
- The owner built the house himself. He's in his 50s or 60s, if I remember correctly.
- He was able to keep his utilities really low, I think almost zero, but I could be wrong.
- The house is located in either North or South Carolina

There were other features too, but I remember the above most of all. Anyone know what I'm talking about? A YouTube search yielded nothing.
posted by curagea to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Mother Earth News magazine and its sister magazines in the 1970s had each monthly issue filled with houses like this. There were ones built of tires, and just about all sorts of recycled materials.
posted by JJ86 at 2:29 PM on August 27, 2010

This sort of sounds like the "Earthship" houses - though I think they originated in New Mexico.
posted by gyusan at 2:35 PM on August 27, 2010

Forty years ago is only 1970, which is not exactly prehistoric when considering the environmental movement. By the mid-70's, many people were building green (a phrase which here means "using pretty much all of the techniques you describe above.")

So I suspect that there are thousands of such houses out there built during your target period; I know of one within 5 miles of where I stand (which is not in the Carolinas). Your problem will be finding the specific one you have in mind with only these details.

Here are some suggestions for refining your search:
  • specific construction materials or techniques
  • using the search options "sort by upload date" feature to filter out all of the bandwagon-jumping realtors co-opting your search terms in the last year or so
Good luck!
posted by richyoung at 3:02 PM on August 27, 2010

Couldn't find the exact house but found a good page that may interest you.
posted by white_devil at 3:12 PM on August 27, 2010

Best answer: Holy shit, not only do I know what house you are talking about - these people literally live down the street from me! Meet Cliff Butler. He built his home in the 1970's. I walk past his home every day in the park. Let me know what additional information you might need. Cliff is a great guy, and would let you in if you wanted to tour his home!
posted by msali at 10:13 PM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Sorry, in my haste to post, I forgot to mention this is on Cedar Fork Trail, in Chapel Hill, NC.
posted by msali at 10:15 PM on August 27, 2010

Response by poster: Huzzah! msali is the winner! Thanks!

(I doubt I'll visit NC anytime soon, but if I do... :)
posted by curagea at 4:02 PM on September 10, 2010

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