The Ellis Park house is a multi level home built by Altius Architecture in Toronto Canada. It is a contemporary style home that incorporates clean lines and boxy style with sustainable elements such as geothermal heating and cooling, passive solar design and daylighting strategy, recycled and reclaimed materials, passive thermo-siphon ventilation and a green roof. The design of the house includes open concept living spaces that take advantage of the large expanse of windows and the use of sustainable materials such as cork, reclaimed stone, birch and marine plywood, clay brick, copper and Douglas fir.

Description of the Ellis Park House by Altius Architecture
Located in Toronto’s Bloor West Village neighbourhood the Ellis Park House was conceived as an ecological urban home that places a bold emphasis on sustainability and contemporary living. The home was constructed on an overgrown infill site, just steps from Bloor Street, that was considered unbuildable because of its 45 slope and shallow depth. Where others saw obstacles the design team saw potential for an earth sheltered home, ideally sited in an urban context with good solar orientation and exceptional vistas over Toronto’s High Park.

The design and construction of the home provided the architectural team with the opportunity to experiment with various systems, materials and assemblies, providing real world experience and long term monitoring to verify theories and assumptions that could not be tested on private clients.
The enduring legacy of the Ellis Park House is that many of the design strategies that were novel at the time of its design have become standard in the firms current work. The house proved to the firm’s clients that reducing ones ecological foot print can be done with out compromising comfort, luxury or style and more importantly that sustainable practices really do pay for themselves.

Click the below link to read more.

Via Contemporist


I first discovered straw bale homes about 7 years ago when we were moving to Oregon and looked at a development in Ashland Oregon. The homes we saw were amazing with walls that were approximately 24 inches thick and covered with a earth/clay mixture. We ended up not living in Ashland but I do think back on those homes and wonder why this old-new way of building a home ended up having such a niche presence in the building industry.

Which leads me to this great straw bale home that Eco Friend has done a write up on. This home is in Taos, New Mexico and is completely off the grid, using solar power (battery storage with inverter) to power the home and rainwater roof catchment and many more green technologies.

Living in the wild desert, where temperatures vary between extremes is a challenging task, and to uniquely suit the circumstances, Edge Architects from Taos, New Mexico, has designed a high desert home that will make living in the desert not only more convenient, but also greener. This house supposedly runs off grid and is completely self sufficient.

The outer walls of the house, including the north, west and eastern walls; all are clocked in straw bales and have a thickness of 24 inches. This unusual thickness of the walls prevents them from heating quickly, thereby, keeping the inside temperatures at bay, while the outside temperatures keep fluctuating. For quickly exhausting the trapped hot air inside, the skylight at the top of the stairway can be opened when required. During winters, the suns heat is allowed to penetrate deep inside the house and is absorbed by the floor and interior walls that will retain it and keep the house warm during evenings.

Via Eco Friend


How about the first prefab that is zero-energy, zero-carbon and LEED Platinum level production home called the C6. The C6 was created by Living Homes in collaboration with Make It Right (founded by Brad Pitt) and each prefab is inspired by Joe Eichler and includes such features as cork flooring and iPhone-controlled lighting system.

Via Design Milk

If you have never looked visited Retro Renovation you need to take a moment to check out her blog. Filled with great tips and entertaining to read. When I was going through some of their old articles on cork I found a piece they did on a “Maribeth’s 21st Century Brady Brunch Ranch House”. What caught my attention was that the owners used cork tiles through out the entire home. They have completely embraced what most people consider out dated and as the norm and have decorated it with vintage furniture and lime green oven and matching fridge. Enjoy the below photos and click through to read the whole article.


Via Retro Renovation ~ Flickr Photos

Being a Eco Warrior with the mission to save the Earth does not require you to turn your life upside down.  Most people forget that there are little things you can do that make a huge difference. So unchain yourself from the tree in your backyard and read these 15 tips by Mille Jefferson at Weekend America to reduce our carbon footprint. Below is a quick list of each item but click through so you can read more about each one.

1. Buy organic and local.
2. Pay attention to packaging.
3. Ditch bottled water.
4. Energy-proof your home.
5. Go native.
6. Window shop.
7. Take a direct flight.
8. Switch water heaters to vacation mode.
9. Unplug it!
10. Keep your car.
11. Chuck your microwave.
12. Use cold water.
13. Have the family over.
14. Make time for errands.
15. The Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.


The Shift Home Project made a effort to find the best companies to help them with sourcing the best materials that fit with the vision of their project. The flooring store they chose was Braid Flooring and if you click on the above video you will here why Christian Braid chose cork for this home.

A critical mass of people with ideas and expertise is working to shift a segment of the market to something more innovative and sustainable. Olson, for example, is working with his friend Daren McLean and a group of innovators to design and build what they are calling the Shift Home.

An interesting thing about this project is its use of the Internet as a medium for collaboration. Design ideas are posted on a website ( and anybody can critique them, add their own ideas and watch how the design and planning process shifts.. Read More

Via Shift Home

The Shift home is a project was conceived by Daren McLean and Curtis Olson to develop a home that a person making $40,000 a year could afford. Sketches and design of the home were posted online and received 120,000 comments some positive and some negative. As Daren and Curtis say, “When you ask for feedback you better be ready to listen. Even if it isn’t what you want to hear” The Shift Project pulled together some great manufactures who helped them create a sustainable and affordable home.

The Shift Home is attempting to be both more sustainable and affordable. One important way to achieve affordability is to include a suite in the home. Revenue from the suite would make it possible for first time buyers to afford a new, modern and green home. As the new buyers gain equity, they could incorporate the suite in their house, or perhaps use it for a home business. Read More

Via The Shift Home  –  Photos Via Shift Home Flickr

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