Kyla and don bennett’s objective was to build a
house that would be as energy efficient and environmentally sustainable as possible.
That meant outfitting the home with a roof
made of recycled tires and installing 24 solar panels to generate electricity. It also meant cladding the
house with low-maintenance fiber-cement planking instead of traditional clapboard or shingle siding. And it meant designing it in a
simple rectangular shape that would help keep building costs down
and make it easier and less expensive to heat.
The result is a contemporary minimalist house that stands apart
from the more conventional architecture in the Bennetts’ Easton,
Massachusetts, neighborhood. “Our house was pretty in-your-face,”
Kyla Bennett says, “but we wanted to show people how to do it.” For
the Bennetts, their 3,400-square-foot house is the embodiment of an
ideal — a way to demonstrate how to incorporate green principles
into everyday life — and they are happy it has attracted attention.
“Every decision was about getting the house to work,” says
Maryann Thompson, the Cambridge, Massachusetts, architect who
designed the Bennetts’ home. Kyla, an environmental lawyer, notes
the home was sited so that warm sunlight passing through the sliding
glass doors is absorbed into the poured concrete floors, which act as a
passive solar heating element in winter. The home’s roof shingles may
look like slate (facing page), but they are actually made from recycled