You may remember that last year we were inspired by Bake for a Change to dabble in "green" gingerbread construction. As 2008 draws to a close, the challenge has been issued once again to make a house both good enough to eat and eco-friendly enough to heat (or cool, etc.).
The rules are the same as they were last year:
1) Everything must be edible.
2) However half-baked (har har), there must be at least FOUR identifiable sustainable building design elements.
3) Your design must include a minimum of a floor, a door, four walls, a roof, and two windows.
This year our effort resulted in a dwelling more shanty than McMansion.
Indeed, we dodged the gingerbread-related energy inputs (what with the mixing and baking) by turning to reclaimed graham crackers as our primary building material. We stuck it together with royal icing.
As last year, we also made use of recycled candy (from a kindergarten graduation 4.5 years ago). This year, that candy provided a snug door (to minimize the escape of warm air), thick windows, a stepping stone path, and a rain barrel.
An orange peel rain gutter carries water to the rain barrel.
You'll also notice that the house has a living roof (we used colored coconut to make the grass), and there are some mature trees (ancient lollipops + royal icing + colored coconut) near the house. It's a low-tech approach to climate control, but when budgets are tight, sometimes that's the way to do eco-friendly.
I suspect that contest entries this year will probably be a bit more elaborate than our effort. (The contest has a Flikr group that will be worth watching.) The winner of last year's contest (which you can check out here) was frighteningly elaborate. Still, there are plenty of natural building strategies that still haven't been implemented in the sphere of edible construction. Maybe you will be the one to implement them.
The contest runs until 12 midnight PST, December 31, 2008.