2013 Special Recognition Award:  Cragsmoor Association Tiny House Competition, Cragsmoor NY. The Aerie House team was composed of SBA Certified graduates led by EcoArchitecture DesignWorks , architectural designer. The challenge was to design a Net Zero energy and water, Renewable energy house that respected Living Building Challenge imperatives and served as a Prototype for the Northeast.

Aerie House for the Living Building Challenge is its own ecosystem, collecting and processing energy and water while optimizing local natural resources. The design and materials echo the Northeast Catskill Mountains.


  • Minimal site disturbance from self -contained structure and infrastructure
  • Foundation of steel helipiles minimize site disturbance and the need for concrete
  • Drought-resistant native plants enhance the site

Water + Waste

  • 100% on- site water self sufficiency
  • Roof rainwater collection system supplies all water needs, storing and filtering it, eliminating the need for a well
  • Greywater is collected and filtered through greenhouse and green roof plantings
  • Excess greywater diverted into overflow drain, feeding a rain garden and mulched swale
  • Composting toilet eliminates black water, sludge, and the need for a septic system
  • Compost used on site for planting non-food plants


  • 100% on -site energy self-sufficiency
  • Superinsulated building envelope
  • Two-story tower is a passive solar chimney requiring no mechanical parts
  • Passive solar greenhouse
  • Solar photovoltaic electric system with battery backup storage
  • Solar thermal collection system for hot water
  • Unique solar water- heating system operates without electricity, pumps and moving parts.
  • Minimal mechanicals- Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) and Mini-split heat pump

Materials + Health

  • Recycled steel shipping containers provide modularity, structural integrity and low cost.
  • Nontoxic natural finish materials enhance air quality and modulate indoor humidity: Hempcrete, MGO board and lime plaster.
  • No combustion occurs within to compromise air quality
  • Living green walls and roof provide shade, filter greywater and clean the air
  • Greenhouse for freshly harvested veggies and herbs

Beauty and Equity

  • Biophilic greenhouse bridges the two wings, enhancing visual and functional space
  • Porches, decks and gardens enhance and expand conditioned space
  • LED step lights trace the porch perimeters and interior pathways, enlarging the interior space, for a mere 25 watts.
  • LED accent lighting of the tower the vertical stair tower illuminates handrails and treads with a soft, visible column of light, at a mere 7 watts.
  • Demonstrates the stringent Living Building Challenge standards (LBC) in a livable, beautiful, cost effective home