Burh Becc at twilight; photo courtesy of Jim Haefner Photography

Two opportunities to see Burh Becc at Beacon Springs:

  • Visible Green Home Tour, April 22, 2018 (Earth Day): Grand Finale Celebration – The Realization of the Dream. Visit the finished home and celebrate with the homeowners and key members of the Burh Becc team, the fruition of a six-year journey to full certification as a Living Building Challenge® home. We’ll present the genesis, design, systems and features that make this the second fully certified Living Building Challenge® residence in the entire world. Learn more and sign up for a one-hour tour on Sunday, April 22.
  • BRAG Ann Arbor 2018 Parade of Homes, June 22–24. Watch for details.

It’s Official: Burh Becc at Beacon Springs is a certified Living Building

In December 2017, we received full Living certification for our house at Beacon Springs Farm. From the press release sent February 15 at 9 am:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. , /CSRwire/ – Tom and Marti Burbeck – in search of truly sustainable living – brought together an architect, builder, green building project consultant and multiple building science engineers to design and build Burh Becc at Beacon Springs. They have succeeded in creating a home that will still be standing 200 years from now and will still be regenerative to the surrounding ecosystem. In late 2017, their home at Beacon Springs Farm, in Ann Arbor, became the second house in the world to achieve a Living Certified ruling via the Living Building Challenge™ certification by the International Living Future Institute. The Burbecks hope their truly restorative farmhouse inspires others to reimagine common building techniques.

Our house is named Burh Becc, meaning, in Old English, a dwelling by a creek. Burh Becc is a certified “living building” using the Living Building Challenge standards of the International Living Future Institute. It has also achieved LEED Platinum certification.

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.


A letter from the owners ten years from project inception:

Sustainable dwelling

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

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