GUEST POST: Cynthia Booth writes for the architecture career opportunities blog. It’s a nonprofit internet site dedicated to offer help for young architects who need resources for their careers. With this she would like to raise the consideration on eco-friendly home design and change the general public conception of energy efficiency.

Do you know 2 New york city based designers designed and built a fully eco-friendly asymmetrical 1,600 ft2 home with fixed budget of $250,000?

Designers and Jersey City residents Richard Garber (assistant professor at NJ Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture and Design in Newark) and Nicole Robertson of GRO Architects in NY rose to the challenge of constructing and managing the construction of a single-family house that’s an authentic proof of both innovative design and eco-friendly technologies.

Denis Carpenter recently invested in a small vacant lot and, to accomplish his interest for the environment, wished a house that was efficient and easy to maintain.

What’s so special about this home?

– In the home, on the ground level, radiant heating under the exposed concrete floor gets warm the full bathroom and two bed rooms.

– In the attic-like 2nd level, sleek aluminum and stainless steel railings accent the bamboo stairway to the mezzanine, living room and an artfully designed kitchen made with restored kitchen appliances and cabinetry.

– Passive a / c strategies like fans and clerestory windows permit residents to remain cool during summer and warm during winter.

– The roof contains 260 sq . ft . of solar panels that produce approximately 2,000 kilowatts of energy per year to a battery stored in the basement.

– The roof has a 2-foot-square area planted with drought-resist to harvest rain .

This single family 1,600-square-foot home was built in six months and won a 2009 American Institute of Architects merit award and the 2010 Green Building of the Year Award from the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency.

Ok now what? How could you convert your home into an environmentally-friendly home without investing too much funds?

If you’re renovating a home, perform an energy audit first to help you figure out what energy efficiency developments should and can be made to your home. In this way you’ll calculate how much energy your home consumes.

My personal favorite eco-friendly method is the passive solar cooling/heating design.

Passive solar indicates that your home’s windows, walls, and floors can be developed to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the wintertime and reject solar heat in the summer season.

Existing structures can be adapted or “retrofitted” to passively collect and store solar heat too.

The following five elements constitute a complete passive solar home design:

The Collector – The area through which sunlight enters the building (usually windows).

The Absorber – The hard, darkened surface of the storage element. Sunlight hits the surface and is absorbed as heat.

The Thermal Mass – The components that retain or store the heat generated by sunlight below or behind the absorber surface.

The Distributor – The system by which solar heat circulates from the collection and storage points to different areas of the house.

The Controller – Roof overhangs can be used to shade the aperture area during summer months or Thermostats that signal a fan to turn on.