When Brett Salter and his wife decided to retire in Asheville, N.C., they hired an architect, purchased land, and decided that Brett would build the house himself. First, though, he had to enroll in a school to learn how. With a pro builder on board as a consultant, Brett succeeded in building a Craftsman-style house that blends in to the mountainside landscape and is energy efficient to boot. How does heating and cooling a house for $500 a year sound? The solution begins with effective insulation and rain-screen walls, and includes an antistratification system that returns hot air from the top floor back to the lowest level of the house.
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