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

Local Heart Walks Happening This Year

Local Heart Walks Happening This Year

Heart Walks fund the AHA’s research and awareness programs.
Unique Therapy Effects Transformation through Movement

Unique Therapy Effects Transformation through Movement

“Change the Dance of Life healing reshapes emotional patterns of life and relationships at the cellular and conscious levels by physically moving subtle energy.”
Local Wellness Coaches Building a ‘Gym for the Soul’

Local Wellness Coaches Building a ‘Gym for the Soul’

“The center will be a hub for heart-centered collaboration, personal evolution and business growth—a spiritual home for healers and those seeking healing, alike.”
World Tai Chi Qigong Day: One Breath, One World

World Tai Chi Qigong Day: One Breath, One World

On April 27, In Balance Tai Chi Studio, in Brewster, will invite the public to celebrate the 20th annual World Tai Chi and Qigong Day (WTCQD) with a presentation.
Qi Revolution Comes to Danbury

Qi Revolution Comes to Danbury

The three-day training will be available in Danbury, Connecticut, from April 13 to 15 at the Amber Room Colonnade.
A Quarter-Century in Green Lawn Care and Pest Control

A Quarter-Century in Green Lawn Care and Pest Control

“I do a lot of research and testing of my oils; I even make a pet line and a human line. It’s all safe and natural."
Bethany Arts Community Accepting Applications for Artist Residencies

Bethany Arts Community Accepting Applications for Artist Residencies

The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. EST on April 30
Awaken Wellness Fair Returns to Tarrytown

Awaken Wellness Fair Returns to Tarrytown

April 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel
Arts Therapist Offers Friday Workshops in Hastings-on-Hudson

Arts Therapist Offers Friday Workshops in Hastings-on-Hudson

The group is for adults wanting to explore and work through challenging issues in their lives, expand their creativity, overcome creative blocks and strengthen their inner resources.
Environmental Group Asks New Yorkers to Press for Climate Bill

Environmental Group Asks New Yorkers to Press for Climate Bill

“To save our future, we’re asking people to urge their state assembly member, state senator and Governor Cuomo to remove the loopholes and set stronger objectives in the CCPA and remove nuclear energy from New York’s future energy portfolio.”
CranialSacral Therapist to Lead Mount Kisco Workshop

CranialSacral Therapist to Lead Mount Kisco Workshop

2 to 4 p.m. on April 27
Balance Studio Launches 30-Day Custom Wellness Program

Balance Studio Launches 30-Day Custom Wellness Program

Those interested in learning about it is invited to register for the studio’s free information session on April 1, when they can meet the team behind the program.
Spa Week at Sarah’s House of Health

Spa Week at Sarah’s House of Health

April 1 through 6
New Armonk Shop Carries CBD Products

New Armonk Shop Carries CBD Products

“Our goal is to help educate our customers on its benefits while bringing the best-quality CBD products to our community.”
Great Saw Mill River Cleanup Set for April 13 and 14

Great Saw Mill River Cleanup Set for April 13 and 14

“Volunteering at this feel-good community event is great way to celebrate Earth Month.”
Solar For All Program Assists Low-Income New Yorkers

Solar For All Program Assists Low-Income New Yorkers

Eligibility for Solar for All, which is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $1 billion NY-Sun program, is based on a resident’s location, household income and annual electric usage.
The S P A C E Sanctuary Opens in Chappaqua

The S P A C E Sanctuary Opens in Chappaqua

“It was created as a place to gather, rest, breathe and heal.”
Bernadette Bloom Discusses Esoteric Healing on The Transformation Show

Bernadette Bloom Discusses Esoteric Healing on The Transformation Show

5 to 6 p.m. on March 7
Ward Off Spring Allergens with Nettle Leaf Tea

Ward Off Spring Allergens with Nettle Leaf Tea

Something as simple as drinking nettle leaf tea prior to and during early spring can be a helpful preventive practice.
Fresh Organic Becoming ‘Go-To’ Salon for Hair and Scalp Issues

Fresh Organic Becoming ‘Go-To’ Salon for Hair and Scalp Issues

Petition Demands Environmental Impact Study of Cricket Valley Project

Petition Demands Environmental Impact Study of Cricket Valley Project

Davenport is urging people to sign the petition asking New York leaders for an updated environmental impact study of the Cricket Valley Energy project.
Feeding the Future in Yonkers

Feeding the Future in Yonkers

Feed Your Future is part of a larger mission to empower communities to reclaim and revitalize environmentally and economically under-served neighborhoods.
Riverkeeper Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Riverkeeper Film Screening and Panel Discussion

5:30 to 9 p.m., March 5, at the Newburgh Brewing Company
NewLife Expo Returns to New York City in March

NewLife Expo Returns to New York City in March

March 22 through 24
Rhinebeck Pilates Plans April Conference at Jacob’s Pillow

Rhinebeck Pilates Plans April Conference at Jacob’s Pillow

April 26 to 28
Hilltop Hanover Farm Holds Maple Fest Weekends

Hilltop Hanover Farm Holds Maple Fest Weekends

March 23 to 24 and March 30 to 31
CBD Info Talks in Bedford Hills

CBD Info Talks in Bedford Hills

Free informational session on CBD products every Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m.
Juice Detoxes Work Better and Faster

Juice Detoxes Work Better and Faster

“The body doesn’t have to break down the solids, and the results are faster and better.”

Add your comment: