10 Historic Green Homes


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Cliff Dwellings: Mesa Verde National Park, CO, USA
The cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado were some of the earliest green homes.
The cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado were some of the earliest green homes.
Stockbyte/Thinkstock

Few images of the American Southwest are as iconic or familiar as those of the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. During the period from roughly 600 to 1300 A.D., the Pueblo people lived in this city that was literally built beneath the arch of a large, overhanging cliff. Inhabitants of the city's 600 structures used a series of balconies and ladders to reach their homes, and they were protected from intruders by the natural fortress around them [source: National Park Service].

Mesa Verde is perhaps the most dramatic example of a design feature found in many of the historic green structures on the list. It follows a philosophy of working with the natural surroundings rather than against them. The Pueblo people used the materials at hand: rough-hewn stone from the arid desert. While this is a practice as ancient as the first human-constructed dwellings, it takes on a green meaning when one considers the transportation costs that go into moving and using modern construction materials.

The Pueblo people took advantage of a natural feature that would protect them from wind, rain and snow without major construction efforts. Modern green construction may lean heavily on technology such as active solar power, geothermal heat and high-efficiency appliances, but as the breathtaking structures at Mesa Verde show, green building can be as much about logic and practicality as the latest high technology.

To learn more about green building, check out the links below.

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Sources

  • Abercrombie, John R. "Material Culture of the Ancient Canaanites, Israelites and Related Peoples: An Information DataBase from Excavations: Iron Age (1200 - 550 B.C.E.)." University of Pennsylvania. (Feb. 1, 2011)http://www.bu.edu/anep/Ir.html
  • Daily Icon. "Philip Johnson Brick House, New Canaan, Connecticut." Jan. 27, 2009. (Feb. 3, 2011)http://www.dailyicon.net/2009/01/philip-johnson-brick-house-new-canaan-conneticut/
  • Earthship Biotecture. "Global Model Earthship." (Feb. 2, 2011) http://earthship.com/buildings/global
  • Freed, Eric Corey. "Earthships Home Construction." ecomii. (Feb. 1, 2011)http://www.ecomii.com/building/earthships
  • Gettleman, Jeffrey and Josh Kron. "Suspicion of Arson at Royal Tombs Fuels Deadly Clashes in Uganda." The New York Times. March 17, 2010. (Feb. 5, 2011)http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/18/world/africa/18uganda.html
  • The Glass House. "History." National Trust for Historic Preservation. 2011. (Feb. 2, 2011)http://philipjohnsonglasshouse.org/history/
  • GreenovationTV. "Kelly & Matt's Net Zero House." (Feb. 6, 2011)http://www.greenovationtv.com/missionzerohouse/Home.html
  • History San Jose. "Peralta Adobe - Fallon House Historic Site." (Feb. 1, 2011)http://www.historysanjose.org/visiting_hsj/peralta_fallon/
  • Kasubi Tombs. "About the Tombs." (Jan 30, 2011)http://www.kasubitombs.org/en/about/index.php
  • McGhee and Co. Roof Thatchers. "A Brief History Of Thatch." (Feb. 5, 2011)http://www.thatching.com/thatching.html
  • Monticello. "House & Gardens." (Feb. 3, 2011) http://www.monticello.org/site/house-and-gardens
  • National Park Service. "Mesa Verde National Park." Jan. 20, 2011. (Feb 6, 2011)http://www.nps.gov/meve
  • Outback Australia Travel Guide. "Coober Pedy Underground Homes." (Feb. 1, 2011)http://www.outback-australia-travel-secrets.com/coober-pedy-underground-homes.html
  • Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. "Canmore: Ardestie, Earth House." (Feb. 1, 2011) http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/34572/details/ardestie+earth+house/
  • Waymarking.com. "LAST - vestige of El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe - San Jose, CA." Aug. 21, 2009. (Feb. 1, 2011) http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM724N_LAST_vestige_of_El_Pueblo_de_San_Jose_de_Guadalupe_San_Jose_CA
  • Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. "Fallingwater: Explore." (Feb. 2, 2011)http://www.fallingwater.org/explore?to=0
  • Wilson, Quentin. "Abode as Mass." The Adobe Resource of Northern New Mexico. (Feb. 1, 2011)http://www.quentinwilson.com/adobe-as-mass/

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