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The Green Urban Gingerbread House: Part 3 – The Open House Celebration

December 30, 2010

The gingerbread walls are up, green roofs and wall planted, chicken coop constructed, photovoltaic panels installed, and finishing touches 95% complete. Ginger and Captain Allspice invite you to the open house tour and celebration (serving organic, locally-grown appetizers on reusable plates, of course).





We begin in the front yard, where you can observe raised garden beds (for truly locally-grown produce) and green roofs over the porches. The porch to the right also continues back to cover the electric car charging station. Of course, the Allspices usually use mass transit, but occasionally they take the electric car out for errands that are hard to get to via bus or light rail.

Ginger waves from the roof deck patio as you walk up the permeable pavement walkway to the front door. She invites you to walk around to the south side of the house, where there is a group gathered on the patio, including their daughters Cardamom and Nutmeg who are home for the holidays. Notice the large windows for passive solar heating of the house, as well as the photovoltaic panels over the dining room.  The Allspices are able to provide 75% of their home energy use from the PV panels due to the energy efficient building and appliances. (Note that the larger window should have some additional shading elements across it, but they got …ahem… eaten by accident. The gingerbread really is tasty.)

You hear a clucking from the back yard, and wander back to the west side of the home, where the chickens are munching contentedly on some food scraps from the party preparations. The garden looks good, probably the result of composted chicken droppings and other organic gardening methods that the Captain uses.

The green wall is a great addition to the west side of the home, providing shade and insulation as well as a beautiful green canvas. The rain barrels on this side of the house provide water for the extensive gardens and landscaping. Having made it this far, you decide to continue up the permeable pavement driveway.

Here on the north side of the house, you see the Allspice’s new electric Cooper Mini. Fun, quiet, and clean to drive! And handy that it can be charged at home overnight. Maybe you can go out for a test drive later.

You slip upstairs to the roof deck to sip a cocktail (ginger ale and spiced rum, of course) and nibble tasty home-grown kale chips. Ginger tells you about the beautiful green roofs – it turns out that they are great for insulation, acoustic buffering, stormwater management, bird habitat, and reducing the urban heat island effect.

After an enjoyable evening of food, friends, and fun, it is time to go. As you look back, the windows glow warmly as the music and laughter drifts out behind you. Living a more sustainable lifestyle seems pretty inviting as you head towards bed with ideas for greening your own home.

Here is the “site plan” for the Green Urban Gingerbread House. You can read a bit more about the solar panels and passive solar windows in earlier posts. Thanks to friends and family for the great ideas – I’m already planning for next year’s Green Urban Gingerbread House 2.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Keri DeTore permalink
    December 30, 2010 3:24 pm

    I’ll take two!


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