Editors' Choice: Southern Comfort

This small, comfortable home features passive solar design, photovoltaic panels and no nonrenewable energy.

| May/June 2009

Still cutting edge today, architect Giles Blunden’s 800-square-foot solar home won our Natural Home of the Year award back in 2000, and its forward-thinking design kept it around to become one of our Homes of the Decade. Basing their grassroots housing plan on affordability, diversity, sustainability and community, Giles and three cofounders created Arcadia, a cohousing community in Carrboro, North Carolina, where small, comfortable homes employ traditional wisdom and modern technology to be light on the land.

“Many of these features are just common sense things that people have forgotten.” —homeowner and architect Giles Blunden

Three things we love about this house:
1. With communal spaces such as guest bedrooms, a library, laundry facilities and a recreation room, plus clever space-saving devices, Arcadia homes live much larger than their small footprints.
2. Using cross-ventilation, passive solar design, a wood-burning stove and photovoltaic panels for hot water and electricity, the Giles home requires no nonrenewable energy and no air conditioning in humid North Carolina.
3. Arcadia includes many well-integrated outdoor spaces in its home designs, as well as 11½ acres of uninhabited forest.

Read the original Southern Comfort article.

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