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Green Homes of Future Rethink Idea of 'Home'


Green homes of the future will certainly be energy efficient and possibly radically different from what we think of as home today.

The Wall Street Journal asked four architects to envision what green homes may look like based on what technology may make possible in the next several decades. Their concepts amount to a whole new way to think about home.

Homes may be more organic, growing gardens on the walls or changing color with the weather, for example.

Some architects envision ultra-thin solar panels that are integrated into the exterior materials or coatings of the home and self-cleaning, self-healing films that will last far longer than today's exterior coatings.

Others see rooflines changing to provide more shade and lower heat loads in summer that reduce air-conditioning needs, or roofs with integrated gardens that help cut the impact of urban "heat islands."

Residential HVAC systems may be ground-source heat pumps that utilize the relatively stable temperature of the earth to heat in winter and cool in summer, and that cost far less than today's systems.

Houses may even be "edible," with vertical gardens that grow food for sustenance and provide shade and cooling. Houses made completely of biodegradable materials and components are also possible. These would simply break down harmlessly at the end of their useful life, nourishing the earth as fallen trees do in the forest rather than clogging landfills. Read the complete article here.