13th Annual Green Home of the Year Awards

Despite the carnage of 2020, the best in the business did not abandon their vision and craft.

The ongoing pandemic, horrific as it has been, has largely spared the U.S. building industry. For that, we should be grateful but never cocky.

Spending more time than ever at home, it turns out, brings out the nesting instinct in people. Money that might previously have been spent on travel, tourism, or dining out has, for the fortunate, been redirected toward kitchen renovations, deck upgrades, and accessory dwelling units.

13th Annual Green Home of the YearThis year, as we prepared for our annual Green Home of the Year Awards, we weren’t sure what to expect. Would builders and architects briefly pause their labors to put their best work forward, or would the sheer momentum of demand keep them focused on the small picture, the utilitarian demands of scheduling, material deliveries and subcontractors?

We needn’t have worried. Our mailbox soon filled up with entries from the United States and beyond—high-impact projects that show an attention to design and building science. For all who entered, I want to say thank you, whether you made the final cut or not. No effort is wasted. We want you on our radar, so we can come to you when we’re looking for a specific type of project or detail. You’ve become part of our permanent library.

From a strikingly modern net-zero custom home in New Jersey, to a super solar courtyard community in Washington state, to eye-popping, ultra-energy efficient dwellings in New Zealand, these projects raised the bar of sheer possibility to new heights.

But this issue isn’t really about sticks and bricks and ICFs and SIPs. It’s about the people behind the projects, and the forces at work in their communities, “pushing the envelope” toward better performance. That’s why we’ll also honor the cities taking the lead on climate change, and individuals like builder Gene Myers, who give us a hero to look up to.

So take a break from your labors, make a fresh cup of coffee, and leaf through this compendium of the best of the best. It’s been a long pandemic. You deserve some kudos and some optimism.