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Architect designs stunning, low-impact home that brings new meaning to minimalism: 'Nothing is redundant or excessive'

This home is so energy-efficient that it sells energy back to the grid, saving homeowners serious cash in the long run.

This home is so energy efficient that it sells energy back to the grid, saving homeowners serious cash in the long run.

Photo Credit: Renée del Gaudio Architecture

A Colorado-based architect designed a low-impact home for her dad that is so efficient it sends energy back to the grid.

Renée del Gaudio was tasked with designing a minimalistic house for her father on some wooded land in Boulder. 

"He lives very simply and with minimal possessions," she told 5280. "It's how he has always been. So I knew we'd design a house where nothing is redundant or excessive." 

This philosophy became a starting point for the design of this environmentally friendly home, according to the publication.

Del Gaudio used a number of low-impact design strategies. For one, she monopolized airflow to help efficiently heat and cool the place. This was achieved by installing floor-to-ceiling casement windows, which let early-morning and evening breezes circulate through the house (aided by what they call the "Big A** Fan" in the living room).

The home is warmed with a high-efficiency wood-burning stove and radiant slabs under the flooring. Del Gaudio also used recycled cellulose and closed-cell foam insulation to keep warm air in.

Meanwhile, rooftop solar panels generate enough energy to power the house and send excess energy back to the grid.

Plus, the house is elevated to allow for the forest's natural flow — wildlife can roam freely below, and water can continue to move in its natural path. 

This type of sustainable home design is gaining traction and could save homeowners serious cash in the long run.  

For instance, Vali Homes is an Arizona company that develops green houses. These houses utilize passive principles like natural sunlight and shading while also taking cues from the natural environment to build more sustainably for the state's unique climate. According to the company, their homes can save people up to $800 a month on utilities.

Not in the market for a new home? There are still a number of ways you can green up your living space and save money in the process. 

Unplugging "vampire" appliances could save you $1,650 over a decade while reducing your pollution by 8,000 pounds. Weatherizing your home can save you $1,100 over that time frame while cutting your pollution by 16,500 pounds. And installing solar panels could save you up to $1,500 a year and reduce your pollution by 85,000 pounds over 10 years.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

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