Genius First Light Blog

Eco-friendly homes from around the world

Posted by Jeremy Richards on Aug 16, 2018 9:25:14 AM

The cost of a house can be counted in dollars, but the construction and day to day running of a house can take a toll on the environment and is a lot harder to measure. As time is evolving we are becoming more and more cautious when it comes to the green foot-print that we are leaving behind. Re-usable bags, environmentally friendly chemicals as well as prefab homes are just a few products that are growing at a rapid rate in the hope to help conserve the natural aspects of the environment.

As the demand for new housing grows year on year an increasing number of people are looking to minimise their environmental impact. This is happening through sustainable new home technology as well as leading architectural designs for new home builds.

As new innovation and technology is emerging we have picked our top sustainable and eco-friendly homes from around the world. We hope you find them just as inspiring as we do. 


Seattle, USA

Method Homes is known for their sustainable prefab concepts. Prefab construction allows for drastic reduction in material waste. Method works with design partners who share their values, which means designing and constructing homes and commercial structures that are using innovative and responsible practices. Achieving their goals through focusing on a tight building envelope, integrating energy-efficient systems and products whenever possible, and reducing waste through building in a centralised factory location where materials can be reused and recycled. Learn more about their values here.



San Fransisco, USA

San Fran's Fougeron Architecture recently designed and built a beautiful luxury house that is guaranteed to make the neighbours see green. This unique and exquisite home is located in California and sports a copper facade that will weather and patina over time as it comes into contact with the sea air. The copper is also designed to offer a degree of fire-protection which is a huge asset due to the states high fire risk.

In addition to its unique looks and views, the two-story home features energy-efficient windows and its open design naturally encourages stack ventilation, automatically opening windows help reduce the need for air-conditioning. A graywater recycling system is also installed for the ultimate in sustainable living.



New Orleans 
Devastated by hurricane Katrina, this design is brimming with sustainable design features.  Photovoltaic roof panels, rainwater harvesting and ‘rain gardens’ including passive design features that allow natural ventilation and plenty of daylight.  What makes this project stand out is the ‘cradle to cradle’ design philosophy applied by architects William McDonough + Partners.  This means that, once the building is no longer in use, all the materials used can either be recycled or returned to nature.  Similarly admirable is the amount of attention the architects paid to ‘community design workshops’ to ensure the houses were really tailored to the local people.  Learn more about this home by clicking here.




Designed by Franklin Azzi Architecture with sustainability and the environment firmly in mind, the house exists independently of the national grid, generating it’s own electricity, heat and water using solar panels, geothermal energy and rainwater harvesting. All materials are sourced from within 100km of the site, and all are recyclable. The design is quite beautiful and considered too, with two ‘wings’ protruding from either side of a more traditional-looking central structure.  At present these wings provide shade and shelter on the lower level and terraces with incredible views on the upper level.  However, they also give the opportunity for expansion should the owners require more interior space.  One of my favourite aspects of this building is the subtlety of transition between interior and exterior – you can really imaging life spilling out onto the decks and terraces! More information here 


Nederland, Colorado

This is a solar-powered shipping container house in Nederland, Colorado.  It was designed by 
Studio H:T and completed in 2010 with two shipping containers that straddle a social and open central area with the kitchen, living room, and a loft, according to ArchDaily.  Studio H:T designed to award-winning home to be off-grid with a combination of solar orientation, passive cooling, a green roof, pellet-stove heating, and solar PV. 



When you stand at the edge of a Nature House (Naturhus, in Swedish), it’s not always clear whether you’re inside or out. These majestic glass-walled homes have existed in Sweden since 1976, when Swedish architect Bengt Warne debuted his first building in Stockholm. His idea: architecture that promotes and integrates with the environment while shielding people and plants from the harsh Scandinavian winter.

Nowadays, Fredrik Olsson of sustainable architecture firm Tailor Made Arkitekter collaborates with Greenhouse Living, a technology consultancy group, to make these striking structures. Each has a small, insulated core—the main living space—enclosed by glass, which protects the house from the elements, reduces ultraviolet radiation, minimizes outdoor maintenance, and provides a spectacular view.


In the sheltered indoor-outdoor greenhouses, Mediterranean crops—figs, peaches, grapes, kiwi, and roses—grow even when snow falls outside. Closed-loop sewage systems and solar panels further the relationship between nature and design. “My vision is to create self-sustainable housing that produces food instead of waste,” says Olsson.


New Zealand

In 2017 Genius Homes and First Light Studio joined forces to build a clever,
flexible-use prefab home that connected people to each other and the environment. The Flex-90 is an environmentally conscious design with thermally broken windows keep in the heat and prevent condensation, while recycled wool insulation provides natural home heating in summer and cooling in winter.

To learn more about this unique new home you can download the brochure by clicking on the image below.


downlaod our genius first light prefab home brochure


Topics: eco friendly homes, sustainable living

Designer Prefab Homes

Your hub for the latest news

Our blog is dedicated to shining light on the world of designer, eco-friendly prefabricated homes here in New Zealand.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts