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The SOL Austin House in Texas

This is SOL Austin, a development in which Ms. Chapa lives. She is a 75-year-old great-grandmother who owns a beautiful three bedroom home here. She loves her minimalist home and doesn’t mind when people call it a matchbox house.SOL Austin is a 5 and a half acre development composed of several houses. The houses are small by American standards and they rage from 1,030 to 1,816 square feet. Still, they are very cozy and beautiful. SOL is an acronym for Solutions Oriented Living, an ambitious attempt to upend the conventions of the American subdivision. Ms’s Chapa home features a minimalist interior with a beautiful living room and polished concrete floors.

The SOL Austin development was the result of a partnership between Chris Krager, a 43-year-old architect who heads a firm called KRDB, and Russell M. Becker, 47, a civil engineer and general manager and owner of Beck-Reit & Sons Ltd., a construction company. The community is intended to be both sustainable but also “net zero”, meaning that it would produce all the energy it consumed, with super-efficient homes outfitted with solar panels and geothermal wells.

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The first lots were bough for $15,000. Now they are $150,000. Every house in the community achieves the same high level of energy conservation. They were all designed to meet the federal Department of Energy’s guidelines for net-zero capable construction. This means they use 55% less energy than a typical house. Also, they have all been built from sustainable materials and low-V.O.C. paints that don’t contribute to air pollution. Overall, this was an inspired project that had success over the years. It’s still a great investment. Even though the houses are small, they are environmentally-friendly and very inviting.{found on nytimes}.