Sustainable Style: 12 Contemporary Green Home Designs


Living in a sustainable home doesn’t mean giving up your architectural design sensibilities. While some are content with simple earthen Hobbit houses, fans of modern architecture can find a balance between aesthetics and green living. From a stone home built to mimic a nearby stream to an incredible cantilevered wood home in the suburbs, these 12 contemporary green home designs are both sustainable and stylish.

Futuristic Solar-Powered Prefab Home


Portable prefab houses can definitely be well-designed and beautiful, but the zeroHouse takes it up a notch with sustainable features like a large solar panel array that also gathers rainwater and provides shade. It may be super-compact, but it packs a lot into that small footprint, including a bedroom/bathroom module, second level deck, kitchen/living module, an entry porch and storage space.

Simple, Modern Desert Dream House


Living comfortably in a desert environment without air conditioning may seem like an impossible dream, but architect Lloyd Russell managed to create a structure that is modern and eco-friendly with passive cooling thanks to a rusted metal canopy that covers the home. This canopy provides shade and air flow, and allows the home to blend in well with historical industrial and farm buildings in the area.

Wood, Glass & Stone Green Home


Building a green home partially into the earth provides year-round temperature control and a seamless transition with the surrounding landscape, but rarely are these homes gems of modern architecture. The Base Valley House is an exception. Subterranean bedrooms are kept cool year-round, surrounded by stone retaining walls encased in wire mesh which also blend beautifully with an adjacent stream. The glass roof allows natural lighting to penetrate deep into the home, and creates a breezeway with plenty of air circulation.

Modern Subterranean Home with Green Roof

Another home that uses the earth for natural temperature regulation without looking like a hippie abode is this glass-and-steel structure by KWK Promes. Covered with a lush, grassy green roof, this home blends effortlessly with the surrounding landscape and features floor-to-ceiling glass that provides a constant view of the natural world outside.

Luxurious Off-Grid Forest Home Design


This off-grid home designed for a tropical setting manages to find a balance between sustainability, luxury and style. The futuristic-looking Kokopo House juts out into the forest for the feel of living in a treehouse with all the modern amenities one could require. The unusual shape of this home allows for optimal rainwater collection, ventilation and solar power generation.

Blend of Modern & Rustic in Green Mountain Home


How do you build a contemporary home in a rural setting that doesn’t look entirely out of place? Architect firm Studio Granda solved that puzzle with a residence that’s modern, yet right at home in its mountain surroundings with an aged, rustic exterior made from concrete and cedar cladding. The staggered height of the building echoes the pattern of the mountains in the distance, and the green roof provides a visual tie-in to the grass that surrounds the home.

Strange Sustainable Apartment Tower


Dreaming up an affordable, attractive way to soften a harsh gray apartment building with some greenery was not too tough a challenge for architect Edouard Francois. His surprisingly simple solution for this attractive, yet somewhat strange sustainable apartment building was to build large planters right into each level of the building, providing shade, privacy and access to nature in the middle of a city.

Ultramodern Cantilevered Wood Green Home


This home looks fairly nondescript from the front, and only visitors – and neighbors with a view into the backyard – get to see the remarkable cantilevered design that makes it so special. Jackson-Clements-Burrows designed this Australia home so that the children’s bedrooms jut out over the backyard and also provide shade for the porch. A wall of glass in the living room provides a lovely view of the swimming pool located on one side of the home. But, the design of this incredible modern cantilevered home isn’t all about style – it also furnishes passive cooling, heating and natural ventilation.

Spinning Eco-Friendly Dome Home


A rotating dome home might sound like the hokey dream of a UFO enthusiast, but spinning on a central axis actually serves an important purpose. It allows this unusual home to adjust to balance interior light and heat levels. Everything inside the home is built around a central pivot point, and the home spins silently using very little energy.

(Re)Mixing New & Old in Modern Green Home


Environmentally low-impact, yet visually high-impact: that about sums up this contemporary green home by Berg Design. The design of the home was inspired by regional agricultural architecture, but translates it into a sleek, light-filled residence equipped with a host of sustainable features including radiant heat and geothermal cooling, passive solar, sustainable wood siding, energy star appliances and vintage furniture.

Camouflaged Glass Green House


From a distance, it looks like an old greenhouse being taken back over by its natural surroundings, with trees growing up out of the glass roof. But this incredibly creative structure is actually a modern green home with glass walls that blur the distinction between indoors and out. Warm honey-colored wood and flowing canvas shades brighten up the interior, giving it a cozy feel.

Futuristic $100M Green Home


With a price tag of $100 million, this luxury green home needs to impress with a long list of sustainable features and creature comforts. When it comes to energy, at least, this pricey home actually delivers, with renewable power production strategies that allow the home to produce more energy than it consumes.