Burh Becc at Beacon Springs

2017 Parade of Homes

June 23–25

Here’s another opportunity to see Burh Becc at Beacon Springs, hopefully inspiring those contemplating building or remodeling to incorporate green, sustainable, regenerative design in their projects. The architecture and design of the home are attractive enough – but it’s the bones and the systems that are worth a close look: The structure and operation of the home add to and enhance the ecology of the land on which it sits, from the very beginning of construction through the end of its life, decades, even centuries from now. Learn more here.


Our vision for the future

Beacon Springs offers hope for life springing from a sustainable dwelling, polyculture gardens amid oak savannah, and a lively gathering place. It is a beacon of hope for a happy, healthy and sustainable future for all.

Our house at Beacon Springs is named Burh Becc, meaning, in Old English, a dwelling by a creek. Burh Becc has been designed as a “living building” using the Living Building Challenge standards of the International Living Future Institute. It is also a registered LEED project, aiming for Platinum certification.


A letter from the owners ten years from project inception:

Sustainable dwelling

April 2017

Burh Becc is a regenerative building, operating as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature’s architecture. Energy and water use are net zero. Waste, both in construction and in everyday living is handled almost entirely on site, via recycling and re-use. Toxic chemicals in the construction materials have been studiously avoided.

Farm amid oak savannah

The farm at Beacon Springs produces food for the local community, particularly those with limited access to fresh produce, as well as for our own table. Following principles of permaculture, we’re building an ecosystem in which landform, plants, trees and animals work together for abundant and sustainable production of food.

Gathering place

The embrace of Beacon Springs – the living building, with its flourishing courtyard and barnyard animals, combined with the surrounding acres of permaculture gardens and oak savannah – is a balm to the lone poet and a catalyst for lively exchange in larger groups. It is a center of education for the community: architecture students learning about sustainable design; residential building craftspeople and trades professionals learning sustainable construction methods; children learning about barnyard animals and bee-keeping; and permaculture enthusiasts participating in onsite workshops. We regularly welcome family, friends, co-workers and others to our table for good food and dynamic exchange of life.

A special note for our team of designers, engineers, builders and growers, and the extended team members: We hope that each of you, in joining the community responsible for the creation of Beacon Springs, has also received an extra measure of life springing from your contribution to the project. You are always welcome to come for a visit, enjoying with us the fruits of your labors.

—Tom and Marti Burbeck, Ann Arbor, Michigan March 2023


The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is transforming the way we design, build, maintain and operate our buildings, homes and communities. Better buildings are our legacy. USGBC is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings, and works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities.
logo_colorA home is more than just shelter: homes are the most important buildings in our lives. We think that every building should be a green building – but especially homes. Why? LEED homes are built to be healthy, providing clean indoor air and incorporating safe building materials to ensure a comfortable home. Using less energy and water means lower utility bills each month. And in many markets, certified green homes are now selling quicker and for more money than comparable non-green homes. Some of the most important buildings in the world use LEED. Shouldn’t the most important building in everyone’s world use LEED, too?

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