KAWEAH COTTAGE GREEN FEATURES: Visit us at www.KaweahCottage.com

Please feel free to copy this list and use it for yourself. Share it with your partners,

designers, architects and builders.

• Siting (in a Rural Location)

Select appropriate location: no floodplains, wetlands, excessive slopes, ridgelines, wildlife corridors

Consider sunlight exposures over the course of the day and the Seasons

Avoid unnecessary destructive practices to soils (erosion), trees, rocks, natural features

Prioritize high density cluster development

Optimize proximity to existing infrastructure: road, power, water, garden

Consider water sources, storage, pumping and gravity flow

Consider on-site waste water and septic disposal, gray water reuse, composting

Consider soils, vegetation, shade, existing trees and rocks

         Study location for rainwater runoff, capture and landscaping

Optimize use of down canyon breezes for natural cooling

Consider views from the house AND views OF the house

• Orientation

Optimize design and orientation of roof and windows for both passive solar, solar water heating

              and photovoltaic energy generation (east-west roof line)

Consider air flow patterns over the course of the day and the Seasons

• Scale (Small is Good)

         Minimize the demand on the resources and materials required to create a shelter

         Helps to contain costs of construction and maintenance

Less area to heat / less area to cool: minimizes energy demands

Less space for acquisition and hoarding of material things that are non-essential for quality living

Consider single story versus two story: depends on site, terrain and lifestyle

• Design (form follows function)

Window layout for optimal passive solar heating, use of day lighting, and air current cooling

Four foot overhang eaves: shade in summer and warming in winter

Twelve foot overhang over deck on west side

Design roof pitch and materials for energy systems upgrades

Plan for efficient roof and attic air flows

Highly efficient floor plan: no wasted space

Bedrooms for sleep, not work. Use black out window coverings

Design and plan for future energy interface with vehicles

         Design for the range of changing needs over the course of a lifetime

• Materials: (consider energy efficiency, durability, health/toxicity)

Masonry (CMU Blocks with rebar and concrete) structure built all the way into the bedrock:     

              thermal barrier, pest free, fireproof, quiet, durable, and long-lasting

Corrugated galvanized metal roof: with added insulation and heat transfer barriers

              (in ceiling too!) for good air flow and also fireproof in high risk region

Windows: dual pane, low-E, double hung, FSC pine (not fir), aluminum clad: Sierra Pacific

Low flow plumbing fixtures, dual flush toilet

Tankless propane water heating: Rinai

Maximum insulation on water pipes

Extra insulation layer between concrete walls and exterior stucco finish

Plaster interior walls: American Clay

Utilize FSC woods or non-endangered and local woods: durable: Earthsource Lumber

              (FSC machiche deck; 4” oak flooring, pine ceiling, alder cabinetry)

All plywoods: formaldehyde free: Columbia Pure Bond

NO unnecessary moldings, trim work or coverings (eaves)

     (used bullnose finish around windows and doors)

Interior wall studs 24” on center instead of 16”

Reused woods used for foundation and concrete forms

Plan and purchase wood sizes to minimize waste in cutting

All wood tailings recycled: wood stove, outdoor campfire

No interior paints or stains on ANY thing. Just natural pigments: AFM Safecoat

Used plant based “no or low VOC oils” for floors, windows, cabinets, doors, decking

Recycled cotton insulation in attic and floor: R-38: Ultra Touch Bonded Logic, formaldehyde free

Welded stainless steel deck railing for low maintenance and durability

Use durable and energy efficient window coverings: Hunter Douglas Applause

• Energy Sources

Sunlight (passive solar)



Designed for future solar water heating system

Designed for future photovoltaic system (off grid)

         Designed for future all electric vehicle charging

• Appliances and Accessories

Convection propane oven

Front load clothes washer: high efficiency water use

Energy Star electric dryer 110 VAC,

Energy Star refrigerator

Clothes line for drying

Ceiling fans


Low volt tungsten lighting on dimmers

         Propane wall heater

• Green Living

On site organic garden and edible landscaping

Water conservation and capture systems

Food and beverage choices: organic, local, free trade, seasonal


Permaculture Landscaping: water use, shade and habitat enhancements

Waste reduction, repurposing and responsible disposal

Non-toxic and biodegradable cleansers and products

Use area rugs not carpets

No outdoor shoes indoors

No microwave

No garbage disposal

No dishwasher

No electronics in bedrooms

No unnecessary junk

Decorate with original artworks and crafts

Minimize exterior light pollution in the nighttime

Minimize and optimize trips to town

         Minimize EMF generation and exposure

         Minimize use of air conditioning

         Maintain and repair possessions: from clothes to cars, from tools to toys

• Values and Decision Making Considerations

Necessity, Utility and Functionality

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability (carbon footprint)

Maintenance Needs and Durability

Cost (materials, transportation to site, construction labor, lifespan)

Health: from source to fabrication to installation, functional lifespan and disposal

         Ethics and Justice


Beauty and Aesthetics

• Green Challenges

Caulking around the windows: options anyone?

Roof trusses: options?

Exterior wood supports for decking are treated and painted: options?

10,000 gallon PVC septic tank: Fralo: options? (site constraints and county permit issues)

Granite countertops: aesthetics won out for us

         Need for transporting custom materials from distant cities

• Whenever possible, work with local builders, local craftsman, local suppliers