Next Generation Home

So I recently read a comment written by one of our readers, Jason, he made an interesting point when he said (paraphrasing) at what point can we take a house and stop it from consuming, to producing.  This is a very interest notion, traditionally houses and their systems require resources to operate, to maintain, to use etc.  Now being a producer could mean the house itself produces, a system within the house, the person who lives in the house; how can we turn this negative into a positive?

So it left me wondering how could I have a house that doesn’t consume, but produces; while this might actually be impossible if you start looking at the laws of physics it might be a more accurate statement that a house that can offset the inputs with it’s outputs.  But is this even possible?

The average American home creates 4 tons of waste in just its construction, the average house produces almost 90,000 pounds of carbon emissions.  Now a Tiny House will drastically reduces the amount you have to offset, but it will still be a good bit.  Here are some ideas that could help us get closer to making our house a producer, not a consumer.

Reduce your usage right off the bat

First and foremost I would urge you to first reduce what you consume, being conscious of what you consume, if you have to purchase something, think about how you can extend the life of it or if you can use something that you have to preform the function.  Finally if you have to use something, recycle or up-cycle it.

Grow your home

How about instead of building a home, you grow one!  Here are two idea, the first is a real example that is being used already, the other is a concept that is grown from protein structures.

Green Roofs

Not only does the roof process CO2, but it can grow food and drastically reduce cooling and heating costs.  This isn’t a new concept but still an attractive concept.

Green Power

Now obviously it take energy and resources to produce solar panels, geo-thermal taps, and wind turbines, so you have to take into account how much you have to produce to just offset the production, but I would suspect you could make up the difference and then some over the lifetime of the products.

What other ideas could make your home a producer, not a consumer?

  1. I can’t believe that you put up the meat house… eww. Interesting, but … eww.

    One interesting idea I had about this is that the greenest house is that house which already exists. If at all possible, accept where you live now. Renovate with an eye twards reducing your needs, and only build if you must. There often isn’t any good reason why your existing home can’t be perfect as it is.

    Even renovate lightly. Insulation is worth it’s weight in gold, sealing your place is a process that can be done by even the most novice of do-it-yourselvers and can save a fortune. Finally, invest in some good thermal shades. Old blankets and some heavy duty curtain rods go a long, long way.

    Stop using a fireplace, and replace with a wood stove if you can, plug it up if you can’t.

    • Haha, I called it a protein house, it doesn’t sound that bad then 🙂

  2. Grant, that’s a good point about using what already exists. To expand on that you can use recycled materials if you really want to build. You’ll save money but have to spend more time looking for materials.

    • Very good points, using recycled or scavenge materials might even allow you to start off with a deficit in impact if it was destined for the dump.


  3. How do you make the house produce for you?

    Harvest the rainwater. The roof provides a concentrator to get that water to storage.

    Grow your own food. Even people with very little to no space can container plant or guerrilla garden. A yard is a consumer not a producer.

    Green power as you mentioned is a good way.

    Compost compost compost. A worm bin will take care of all of your vegetable waste and a lot of paper waste if you don’t recycle. It produces fertilizer and prevents consumption of landfill space.

    Just my thoughts.

    • I didn’t even think about the water harvesting!


      • Well I built a rain barrel but it leaked very badly so I made another one recently. Let’s hope it holds water! My July water bill was outrageous. I do like that the water company graphs your consumption though.


        • Sometime my county parks and rec give rain barrels for free or cheap.


  4. this is a great question,well worth a mastermind group conversation! my first thought was water catchment,green roof (live roof) composting toilet and turn your yard into a productive mini farm/garden.then a power system that produces surplus to sell ….

    • I like the yard into garden, you couldn’t be more right, grass yards are a huge waste of resources


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