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The house makes good work of reclaimed materials and renewable energy, using solar panels and hydroelectric power for fuel. Items such as wood from a former garage were incorporated into the design, too. It is set into a hill so that the ground floor on the north side is effectively underground, conserving energy. South-facing windows let in light and allow the sun to warm the house in the winter. The ground floor is heated mainly with a slow-combustion fireplace; wood doors from a garage were turned into a fence to separate it from the upstairs living area and prevent too much heat from escaping. Concrete floors aid in heat retention. Solar cells store energy in the summer months, giving the home a net energy consumption of zero over the course of the year. A greenhouse is attached to the house, enabling the family to grow food year-round, making the home even more self-sufficient.
But the architect’s favorite feature, he says, is the windowless backside. “I just like the way the light at the end of the day plays with the volumes,” says Carle. “I always end up liking the less expressive facades, the ones that stay at their purest state.”