Natural Building Additions & Alterations on Conventional Homes



A Lou Levy Natural Building design

As with many things in our modern age, there is a popular sentiment that the more technical and complicated a home addition is, the better. However, this is not necessarily the case. The premise of “natural building” is going back to the basics, as well as using appropriate modern techniques and products.  

The principles of natural building are to create an environment and ecosystem within the home that is comfortable, healthy, energizing, inspiring and sustainable. There are many dysfunctional and unhealthy elements present in a large majority of houses. An addition, as well as interior alterations, can be added to any conventional house, which, by incorporating some of the following concepts, can remedy the problems and turn the house into a natural haven. 

  • An architectural basic is to design a functional layout and flow of space. In natural building, this also relates to the concept of feng shui, which incorporates many aspects of siting, balance and energy flow.
  • Light is brought into the home by having windows face toward southern and easterly exposures, which also provides passive solar heating, balanced by incorporating proper overhangs with a thermal mass, which will store and release the warmth over an extended period of time.
  • The placement of windows can allow the natural surroundings of the home into the interior, which is one of the more resounding aspects of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s work.
  • The ambient temperature of 50 degrees at 3 and a ½ feet below the exterior grade will help cool the home in the summer and maintain the heat in the winter, by partially berming an addition.
  • A vented envelope system on the exterior walls and roof of the house creates an air channel, which will minimize heat loss and heat gain within the house.
  • Open spaces throughout the house allow for circulation of the seasonal heating and cooling gains. This also complements cross ventilation, which can be accelerated with an active skylight, high transom or clerestory windows.
  • All-natural materials can be used for finishes throughout the house, which can eliminate harmful outgassing that occurs with synthetic materials.
  • Ventilation and air filtration can be achieved by using natural materials, which creates what is known as an exterior breathing wall.
  • A central exhaust system with a fresh air heat exchanger can be used to augment interior air quality. This, all combined with a proper drainage system at the foundation, will eliminate any moisture and mildew problems within the home.
  • Mitigation of harmful electromagnetic and geomagnetic radiation can be done through proper placement of the main living and sleeping zones and simple alternative wiring methods, as well as use of on-demand circuit breakers.
  • Sustainability can be achieved with a PV solar electrical system, which, along with current rebates, can have a 10-year payoff.
  • Solar hot water heating panels can be incorporated into a whole-house radiant heating system, with the use of the hot water heater as a backup. Water storage can be achieved by collecting water from a roof made of natural materials, as well as filtering and circulating a graywater system.

The cost of natural building is comparative to that of conventional building. This is achieved by an economical use of space and design. The cost differentials are outweighed by the natural beauty, comfort and well-being that is created in one’s day-to-day environment.

Lou Levy Construction is located in Carmel. For more info, call 914.804.2120 or visit LouLevyConstruction.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

News Briefs

Newly Published Heart Path Oracle Cards Now Available

Newly Published Heart Path Oracle Cards Now Available

Designed to resonate with the vibration of unconditional love.
Mantra Documentary Screenings Spread with Grassroots Support

Mantra Documentary Screenings Spread with Grassroots Support

The film shares the stories of people who find healing and a sense of inner peace by singing mantras together.
Amazonian Medicine Comes to Rubystar Healing Arts

Amazonian Medicine Comes to Rubystar Healing Arts

April 28, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Sustainable Building: Two Projects, Two Methods

Sustainable Building: Two Projects, Two Methods

The joy in our work comes from the creativity involved in the design, detail and craftsmanship of the final product, and from customer satisfaction.
Shamanic Reiki Focuses on Sacred Relationship with Nature

Shamanic Reiki Focuses on Sacred Relationship with Nature

“It is the mission of The Center for Health and Healing to help our community grow and heal, restoring a sacred relationship with nature through the ancient wisdom of our indigenous ancestors."
Stone Barns Summer Institute Teaches Sustainability to Teens

Stone Barns Summer Institute Teaches Sustainability to Teens

Changing the way America farms and eats by promoting sustainable agriculture and food choices.
Forum Explores Link Between the Mental Body and the Gut

Forum Explores Link Between the Mental Body and the Gut

May 6 at the Westport Inn
Awaken Wellness Fair Comes to Tarrytown April 22

Awaken Wellness Fair Comes to Tarrytown April 22

“Westchester's best-loved body-mind-spirit-green expo.”
Bethel Springvale Inn Hosts Wellness Fair

Bethel Springvale Inn Hosts Wellness Fair

April 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m
Clean Home Fabrics Before Allergy Season Peaks

Clean Home Fabrics Before Allergy Season Peaks

Eco-friendly fabric cleaning services.
Beacon of Light Wellness Center Now Open

Beacon of Light Wellness Center Now Open

Offers yoga classes, therapeutic services, workshops and live musical performances.
Weiss Institute is now Quit with Quinn

Weiss Institute is now Quit with Quinn

Treatments for overcoming addictions ranging from alcohol, smoking and quitting sugar, to overeating and other behavioral addictions.
Social and Brunch to Benefit Animal Rescue

Social and Brunch to Benefit Animal Rescue

April 22, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
RevCon Healthy Living Expo Comes to Albany in May

RevCon Healthy Living Expo Comes to Albany in May

May 6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Katonah Pharmacy Now Carrying Ayurvedic Supplements

Katonah Pharmacy Now Carrying Ayurvedic Supplements

Ayurveda defines health as a balance of body, mind and spirit.
Nonprofit Food Truck Fights Hunger in Westchester

Nonprofit Food Truck Fights Hunger in Westchester

Offering free, freshly prepared meals to low-income, food-insecure families.
Acupuncture and Naturopathic Medicine for Allergy Relief

Acupuncture and Naturopathic Medicine for Allergy Relief

Several studies have shown that using alternative choices such as acupuncture and naturopathic medicine for allergy relief could help your body heal itself without side effects.
Westchester Network Offers Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy

Westchester Network Offers Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy

Designed to improve circulation and immune function
Energy Healing Workshops Set for April and May in Lagrangeville

Energy Healing Workshops Set for April and May in Lagrangeville

Students will learn the energy healing techniques of scanning, radiant and color healing and the six sacred self-healing practices to clear blockages and release stress.
Organic Salon Now Open in Mahopac Falls

Organic Salon Now Open in Mahopac Falls

"We believe in using nontoxic ingredients with the best, greenest products available without compromising quality and beauty, and, most importantly, at affordable pricing."
PULSE Mindfulness Manifestation Empowerment Workshop

PULSE Mindfulness Manifestation Empowerment Workshop

May 5, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fishkill Nonprofit Helps End Waste and Feed the Hungry

Fishkill Nonprofit Helps End Waste and Feed the Hungry

Seeking volunteers and monetary donations to support its mission to end food waste and feed the hungry.
Elevate Yoga Expands Innovative Hot Flow Classes

Elevate Yoga Expands Innovative Hot Flow Classes

Practicing yoga in a warm environment encourages the muscles to become more elastic.
Productivity Coach Shares Free Online Webinar

Productivity Coach Shares Free Online Webinar

It can be viewed for free online until July 4.
Pain Specialist Featured in PBS Documentary

Pain Specialist Featured in PBS Documentary

“I want people to know there is a gentle and safe alternative to help the body heal.”
Harvest Moon Farm Expands Its CSA

Harvest Moon Farm Expands Its CSA

Accepting applications for the upcoming growing season through May or until maximum membership is reached.
Rainbow Body Wellness Collective Celebrates Opening

Rainbow Body Wellness Collective Celebrates Opening

A group of women wellness practitioners offering a wide variety of healing and beauty services.
Katonah Business Delivers to Local Pet Owners

Katonah Business Delivers to Local Pet Owners

“We deliver to the homes or workplaces of our customers."

Add your comment: