As fossil fuel usage becomes a greater concern, many residents of rural areas are building sustainable homes that make greater use of renewable energy sources, with some even building hobbit hole-like dwellings evocative of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved furry-footed creatures. Rather than reside below ground, architects Nicolas Dorval-Bory and Emilio Marin have constructed the aptly named Snow House, a sustainable home designed for mountain living.

Green Diary has taken notice of Snow House, explaining that the house, which was featured in an architectural competition for Xella Cellular Concrete Blocks, offers a bevy of sustainable home heating solutions for greater energy efficiency. All Xella blocks, each of which measures 10 to 15 cm in thickness, are lined with a vapor barrier and black waterproof roughcast coating, which exploits solar energy while simultaneously keeps the rough free of snow. Geothermal pumps send fresh air into the trombe wall, which then heats the air while storing it between layers to avoid heat loss. After dark, the trapped heat is released throughout the house via motorized valves, ensuring a warm and comfortable night.

snow house
Image via Nicolas Dorval-Bory

Dorval-Bory’s website offers detailed schematics of the Snow House, which is located on steep mountain terrain. Dorval-Bory explains that the goal in designing Snow House was to address his concern that “the concept of sustainability is increasingly becoming a major issue in architectural design, in a context of global warming but also exponential energy exploitation.”

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