Claudia Schneider's weekend home sits on an 180-foot cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, 90 minutes from Santiago and many miles from the electrical grid. But a variety of sustainable strategies make the home's remoteness a non-issue.
Dubbed the "Casa Cuatro," the house was designed by Foster Bernal Architects, who fitted it with solar panels, a wind turbine, and a gravity-powered water well. Passive heating and cooling strategies are made possible by a thermal-mass wall that absorbs heat during the day and releases it through the evening.
Keeping things simple is the best way to design sustainably, says Casa Cuatro architect Nick Foster. "You can go a long way to make a house sustainable in the early parts of the design process instead of throwing a lot of expensive technology at it later."