written by:
April 3, 2015
From cutting-edge technology to the most basic energy-efficient installation, these homes inspire the best in intelligent design.
After walking through the front door visitors enter directly into the enormous kitchen and living space. The interior is minimal, using predominantly timber and concrete. It also provides some spectacular views of the river.

This minimalistic, energy-efficient home in Zurich, Switzerland uses geothermal energy to produce its hot water, and a pair of 300-foot-deep boreholes that transfer warmth through a heat pump provide the under-floor heating. With all of the technology keeping this family off the grid, this house is so efficient that the architect jokes that one light sculpture, made up of two rows of bulbs, which can be seen in the reflection from a window in the living room, uses as much energy as the rest of the house put together. 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Swiss Mix
1 / 6
UC Davis and Honda Smart Home Garage

Design teams at Honda and UC Davis built this 1,945-square-foot house 15 miles west of Sacramento that uses experimental and on-the-market technology to accomplish net-zero energy consumption. The Honda Smart Home features a 9.5kW solar array, which produces a current directly from the panels to the electric car charger without any conversion loss.

Originally appeared in A Modern, Energy-Efficient Smart Home
2 / 6
While the slate-clad northern facade has few windows and a steeply pitched roof, the southern facade is dominated by glass with the solar-panel-clad roof strategically angled to catch the sun.

A Danish family left behind their 1970s suburban home to live as test subjects in this green-home prototype, the world’s first Active House. Starting with the roof, designers added 540 square feet of solar cells to generate electricity for the lighting, household appliances, and the home’s automated control system, which controls interior and exterior sunscreens and opens windows to naturally ventilate the space. The system will feed excess energy back to the grid and leave the family with zero carbon debt. 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Test-Case Scenario
3 / 6
Auburn 7 developer and resident Michael Kyle hangs with his dog Moxy in the front yard of the unit owned by his codeveloper Todd Wexman; he is joined by residents Francisco, Camille, and young Sophia Apple Owens.

The seven townhomes that make up the Auburn 7 development in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silver Lake, each sized around 2,000 square feet, share more than just a walkway, garden, and parking units—they all contribute to a net-zero energy design. The couple that came up with this concept added radiant heating in the floors, tankless water heaters, low-flush toilets, Energy Star kitchen appliances, and high-efficiency HVAC, as well as solar-ready wiring and roof jacks for owners who chose solar energy—all but one of the new homeowners installed solar panels. One of the homes also has water-saving artificial grass on the patio.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Lucky 7
4 / 6

The resident of this 750-square-foot loft uses a efficiency-oriented Nest thermostat in place of her 1970s model, proving that a house doesn’t have to be new to implement smart design.

Originally appeared in Show Us How You Nest
5 / 6
renovated modern home in Austin interior kitchen

The midcentury Butterfly House in Austin, built by A.D. Stenger, received a number of 21st-century updates, including double-pane, insulating, 98-percent UV-blocking Marvin windows to reduce cooling costs.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Renovated Midcentury Gem in Austin
6 / 6
After walking through the front door visitors enter directly into the enormous kitchen and living space. The interior is minimal, using predominantly timber and concrete. It also provides some spectacular views of the river.

This minimalistic, energy-efficient home in Zurich, Switzerland uses geothermal energy to produce its hot water, and a pair of 300-foot-deep boreholes that transfer warmth through a heat pump provide the under-floor heating. With all of the technology keeping this family off the grid, this house is so efficient that the architect jokes that one light sculpture, made up of two rows of bulbs, which can be seen in the reflection from a window in the living room, uses as much energy as the rest of the house put together. 

Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016