Enric Luiz-Geli's Villa Bio project in Llers, Spain is not only environmentally friendly but of the environment. "We're interested in the performative dimension of nature—how it grows, lives, and transforms," notes the architect. "We strive to cultivate this organic dimension." From its hydroponic rooftop garden to its unfurling interior, the structure echoes the sloping hillside forest that sits just beyond the property line. The garden is also one of the home's primary sustainable features, soaking up excess runoff and providing protection from dangerous winds.
French designer Philippe Starch's prefab P.A.T.H. homes, the first of which was constructed in Montfort l’Amaury near Paris, are an achievement in eco-engineering, producing 50 percent more energy than they consume.
Architect Paul Archer loaded this Bristol, England home—designed for his parents—with so many eco-friendly features that it actually gives back more energy than it uses. The windows are made of thermally efficient glass, the stove runs exclusively on wood and electricity, and the house is warmed exclusively by a heat-recovery ventilation system.
When architects Milena Karanesheva and Mischa Witzmann left Paris in search of more space, they wanted, as Karanesheva puts it, "to use the opportunity to experiment." The result was this 1,733-square-foot bamboo-clad structure in the small town Bessancourt; it was one of the first homes in France to meet German Passive House standards. Mostly thanks to a roof covered with 27 Systaïc solar panels, the house uses only 4,200 kilowatt-hours per year—about a tenth of what a conventionally constructed house in France might use.
This zero-energy prefab in Stuttgart, Germany brings a rush of modernity to a town known for its medieval castle. Despite strict planning regulations, the locally based firm that spearheaded the project was able to incorporate a geothermal heat exchanger and triple-glazed windows.