Sustainable building, like most things that are friendly to the environment, tends to be pretty expensive. In order to save on electric bills down the line, you have to fork out quite a bit of money now. Anderson Anderson Architecture and Nishiyama Architects engaged their collective brains to develop a house that is not only eco-friendly, but built on a budget.

B House in Shimasaki, Japan was commissioned by two teachers. In order to get the energy credentials they wanted on a modest budget, the architects decided to use a timber-frame structure fabricated off-site. The building was designed to allow green gizmos to be added later down the line as finances allow, so that it will eventually be energy self-sufficient. A deep veranda on the south façade looks down the hill onto the orange groves and Kumamoto Castle, protecting the house from the worst of the summer sun. The windows on this side not only let in the views, but also sunlight that charges the thick concrete slab that acts as thermal ballast. Much of this façade can be opened up to allow summer breezes to cool the house. On the northern façade, clerestory windows allows day light into the kitchen, bath and bedrooms; and create a chimney-effect that pulls cool air through the house. The house is prepped to get solar panels and a green roof in the future to make it even more environmentally friendly.

B House is constructed of non-toxic and sustainable materials, and in such a way that doesn’t need much maintenance or energy to keep it comfortable. The concrete floors and wooden finishes may be modest but are beautiful in how well they fulfill their functions.