Sprawling surburban lawns consume 60% of our domestic water use. Multiply this by 79 million detached single-family homes in the U.S. consuming an average of 107,000 gallons of water per year and we have a serious issue: not only in the amount of fresh water being expended (and it is not as renewable as one might think), but also in terms of the energy and resources required to deliver and then treat the byproducts of this consumption.
We are proposing a prototypical alternative: Simply build a small, brave, efficient house but build the suburban ‘fence’ out to its legal setback limit. What this does is give you more sense of house (and less water and resource use) by expanding the perceived interior space to the limits of the fence. It also allows the neighbors to think you have a beautiful green lawn just like theirs (which is most likely a non-local species) while allowing you to have a no-water xeriscape that is as strange as you always wanted it to be within the confines of your ‘fence.’
There are other mimimum footprint measures we have taken as well which we will post soon on our works page: some of these include a solar hot-water radiant heating system coupled with a 100% passive cooling system based on a centralized stack within the house.