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Yianna Bouyioukou September 18, 2010
Shingle House
by Yianna Bouyioukou

When my partner and I came across this small competition Greensburg GreenTown, about a month ago, their idea to incorporate sustainable principles into their rebuilding process and serve as an educational resource for the community was extremely appealing to us.

Greensburg is a small community in Kansas wiped out by a hurricane that needs to rebuild itself. The twist is that it’s aiming to do so with a new, almost futuristic concept. Earlier this year, a contest was launched to find the best design for a small home to help repopulate the local housing stock.

Another element we found stimulating was the budget. The home is to be small and its budget is tight: $150,000 for a single-family home. Lastly, the possibility for the winner to actually have their house built is irresistible. So, why not?


We found the local, rural architecture highly inspiring. The traditional rectangular layout and porch, crossbred with 21st century “green” elements, was our starting point. We searched for simple and cheap materials, something to use with new charm.

Traditional, traditional, traditional brought shingles into the game, too, as a typically American material. This time, however, there was a “green” twist: these are hurricane-resistant Eco-shake shingles made of recyclable material. That combined with solar shingles on the roof made to blend in with our main material made for a very eco-friendly choice. A bit of garden on the roof and a steel canopy with a terrace as one element formed our house. Simple as that; stay on budget!

Elements: sustainable landscape, green roof, solar shingles, recyclable facade, AMVIC wall system (concrete ready-made system), compact fluorescent lights, reclaimed wood, low-flow bathroom and kitchen fixtures, Energy Star appliances and low VOC paints make this house sustainable and environmentally conscious. So much so that, as designed and budgeted, it satisfies the requirements for a Silver LEED certificate.

The house is only 1,400 square feet and is built to grow. It is possible to add a second floor under the roof, for total additional floor space up to 300 sq. ft. This small floor can function as an office, media room, or a bedroom. The living room has a high ceiling and is fully open to the yard, creating a large space encompassing the porch and the outside.

Would you like to see it built? Do you like it? If yes, please vote for us:

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