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A durable building provides a long period of time to amortize the environmental costs that were incurred in building it. If you double the life of a building, you halve the environmental impacts of its creation. But a durable building is only as good as its parts. Using long-lifespan products and materials means they will not need to be replaced or repaired as frequently, so the raw materials, energy, and environmental impacts invested in them can be spread out over more time. An additional durability issue at Mariposa Meadows is the ability to test products and building systems at high altitude to see how they endure. 

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Siding Options

In general, most of the major siding types—including fiber cement, brick, stucco and wood—are long lasting, although durability does depend on proper installation and maintenance, as well as original quality.


Size Up Your Structural Options

Wood framing, concrete blocks and SIPs each have pros and cons. Make sure you understand your options before you start building.



Window manufacturers are not only creating more durable and energy-efficient products, they’re tailoring glazing options for specific climates.

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The 11 Tenets

Here are the eco-landmarks we navigate by as we create this sustainable enclave.

 Energy EfficiencyEnergy Efficiency Off-the-grid living demands the ultimate in energy-efficient products. Here’s what we picked.
 RenewablesRenewables Dependence on petroleum is dead; instead, we use these easy-on-the-environment technologies.
Water and Resource Conservation Water and Resource Conservation Natural resources are finite. Here are the techniques and products we use to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
 Indoor Air QualityIndoor Air Quality Healthy buildings mean healthy people. We spec’d products that make the indoors as fresh as the meadow air surrounding us.
 Smart TechnologySmart Technology We harness smart tech that will make life simpler and help us be more sustainable.
 DurabilityDurability See which building science practices and green products hold up to the harsh realities of high-altitude living.
 Resilient Housing Disaster can strike anywhere. Techniques and products can help buffer buildings from these assaults.
 Multifunctional Living SpacesMultifunctional Living Spaces We designed spaces that morph and accommodate more than one function.
 Onsite Food Production Fresh food grown on site is the healthiest and most green way to go (not to mention tastiest!) Here are some notes from the high-altitude larder.
 Indoor/Outdoor LivingIndoor/Outdoor Living New products and design conceits blur the lines between shelter and the soul-healing outdoors.
 Wildlife ProtectionWildlife Protection Wildlife conservation means protecting all plant and animal species and their habitats so nature will be around for future generations to enjoy. Here’s how we address this important concept.