Another hub for affordable green homes: Corning, Iowa

If cost is no object, you probably look to the coasts for the latest in green building design. But when affordability is figured into the equation, the Midwest seems to be leading the pack: from Greensburg, Kansas to Reynolds, Indiana, the region’s turning into a laboratory of green building experimentation designed for the rest of us.

You can now add Corning, Iowa to the list. The town of 1700, about 90 miles southwest of Des Moines, will be home to the new “Iowa House,” a design created by architecture students in Professor Nadia Anderson’s Bridge Studio course at Iowa State University. Working with residents, as well as contractors, government agencies, and community organizations, the students have designed a one-story, 1080 square-foot, two-bedroom home that combines energy efficiency with (relatively) low building costs. Some of the home’s features include:

  • Passive solar orientation and design features
  • Rain barrels, swales, and rain gardens for maximizing water efficiency
  • A tight, well-insulated envelope with a heat recovery ventilator to preserve indoor air quality
  • Energy efficient appliances

Students designed the house with the inspiration of vernacular building types, and also studied housing constructed before the widespread use of air conditioning. As the Omaha World-Herald noted, the idea was to create a prototype that could be built not just in Corning, but around the state, and perhaps beyond.

The Iowa House isn’t the Bridge Studios first project: they’ve also designed and built green low income housing in the Des Moines area. The video above provides an inside look inside one of those homes. You can also check out the students’ blog for more details on the Corning project.

Know of other housing experiments along these lines? Let us know about them…