Energy Efficient Homes

Southwestern Idaho homeowners face rising energy and water costs. Green building technologies minimize the impact and help keep home ownership affordable. 


Building green can reduce what you spend on heating and cooling.

A small investment now will continue to reduce those costs for the life of the home.

EarthCraft works within the full spectrum of green building, following LEED and Energy Star specifications, while meeting the needs and vision of the home owner. Our method begins by working with the abundant gift of solar energy that Nature provides 210 sunny days on average each year in the Boise valley and surrounding areas. Well placed solar panels and solar water heaters will make use of diffused sunlight even on cloudy days.


EarthCraft Construction has led in building high performance green homes in Boise, Idaho for more than 10 years.

Awarded LEED Gold Certification in 2008.

Passive Solar Design

EarthCraft Construction works to incorporate passive solar design for all types of building styles. Even a traditional house can incorporate passive elements that make it more energy efficient, clean and green.

In passive solar building design, windows, walls, and floors are made to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer. This is called passive solar design because, unlike active solar heating systems, it does not involve the use of mechanical and electrical devices.

The key to design a passive solar building is to best take advantage of the local climate performing an accurate site analysis. Elements to be considered include window placement and size, and glazing type, thermal insulation, thermal mass, and shading/overhangs.

Passive solar design techniques can be applied most easily to new buildings, but existing buildings can be adapted or ‘retrofitted’.
— Wikipedia

Tax Incentives Help to Absorb the Cost of Building Green

Consult with your tax accountant about the financial incentives available to you for energy efficient residential building.

Financial incentives and financing programs can help with the cost of making energy efficient home improvements and installing renewable energy systems.


Straw Bale Construction

EarthCraft Construction has built three straw bale homes in the Boise area. Straw bale construction is proven to be energy efficient and ideal for this high-desert region.


LEED Certified

In December 2007, EarthCraft (formerly Mark L. Hixson, Design-Build) completed a custom high-performance green-built home in the Boise foothills that earned a GOLD LEED rating.


Clean Building

EarthCraft Construction collaborated with the Healthy House Institute to build their headquarters in Boise, ID, based on clean building principles.


There is a Spectrum to Green Building


Use as many natural and reclaimed materials as possible, such as straw bale.

Imagine the difference between organic foods and processed foods.
— Mark

Or utilize new technology in building, such as advanced framing and high-performing insulation.

This would be more like a fine steak dinner vs a quick burger from a drive-through.
— Green Building Enthusiast

Straw Bale Homes


Build your home with this time-tested, renewable resource. EarthCraft Construction has built three straw bale homes in Boise, ID and the surrounding area.

Straw bale construction is proven to be energy efficient and ideal for this high-desert region. Build your custom straw bale home with locally sourced bales, passive solar design, earth based plasters, and other energy saving elements such as: on demand hot water heaters, ductless mini split heating, radiant floors, energy efficient windows, solar panels, and more.


Boise's First Passive Solar Straw Bale Home

Winner of the City of Boise's 2010 Building Excellence Award, Green Building Category

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  • Built with 240 bales of straw harvested from Meridian, ID

  • Walls 18-23" thick

  • Annual energy cost for this home: $500.00

  • Outside temperatures 54 - 95 degrees, inside it was a comfortable 69 - 74 degrees, requiring no AC unit.

  • Stucco made of dirt, sand and pigment


Custom Infill Straw Bale Project


Good insulation is the key to energy savings in new home construction. According to Energy Star “Insulation level are specified by R-Value. R-Value is a measure of insulation's ability to resist heat traveling through it. The higher the R-Value the better the thermal performance of the insulation.”

Energy Star recommends a high R-Value for new homes built in this region.

  • 80% Passive solar

  • R32 Straw bale curtain walls

  • R52 Roof insulation

  • Radiant Heat in Poured Concrete Flooring


Passive Solar Straw Bale with Loft

  • 80% Passive solar

  • R32 Straw bale curtain walls

  • R52 Roof insulation

  • Radiant Heat in Poured Concrete Flooring


Passive Solar Video Idaho home builder is using low cost techniques to save his clients thousands of dollars on their home utility expenses. Mark "Ron" Hixson with Earthcraft Construction discusses using passive solar to heat the home.

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Host a Straw Bale Building Workshop

Cut costs in your new home project


Sharing know-how, success stories and cultivating community engagement opportunities around straw bale homes.
Be part of the conversation on Boise Straw Bale!

 LEED Certified

LEED stands for leadership in energy and environmental design. LEED certification provides third-party assurance to home buyers that their home complies with rigorous technical requirements for energy and water efficiency, indoor air quality, non-toxic materials, and environmental performance.  Homes that are certified through LEED complete a verification process that includes home energy ratings and onsite inspections.  Lower insurance rates, advantageous financing, and government incentives may be available for LEED certified homes.


Custom LEED “Gold” Home 2008

Primary features of this home include:

  • High Efficiency (95%) Furnace w/MERV 16 Filter 15-SEER Air Conditioner

  • Energy Star® Approved Appliance and Lighting Package

  • Low VOC Finishes, Green-Label PLUS Carpet & FSC-Certified or Locally Harvested Lumber

  • Rainwater Harvesting Supplies Irrigation Needs

  • Drought-Tolerant & Indigenous Landscaping


Used concrete that was bound for the landfill was repurposed as masonry veneer. It was applied to the chimney & retaining walls.


For more information on building a green home, we welcome your call. Be sure to visit the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Green Home Guide.

Single family

The quality you want, the savings you deserve.
Higher quality: Green homes are built better. They are healthier, more comfortable and require less maintenance.
Savings: Using less energy and water means lower monthly bills.
Value: Boost your home value.
Trusted: Quality you can trust.


Meet market demands with a LEED-certified property.
Value: Faster lease-up rates and higher premiums
Consumer appeal: Growing market demand for LEED properties

*Used as a case study in the Guide To Green Building Rating Systems by architect Linda Reeder (John Wiley & Sons, 2010)

*Used as a case study in the Guide To Green Building Rating Systems by architect Linda Reeder (John Wiley & Sons, 2010)


Clean Building

Building Clean requires design and building decisions that minimize pollution which negatively effect the indoor health of your home environment.
By removing aspects of the home that off-gas and/or collect dust and allergens, a healthier interior environment can be achieved.

EarthCraft Construction partnered with The Healthy House Institute (HHI) in 2014 to build the educational organization’s home headquarters in Boise, Idaho.

Healthy House Institute,  GB&D Magazine

Healthy House Institute, GB&D Magazine

Healthy House Institute Headquarters

  • Certified by Energy Star and the EPA’s Indoor airPLUS

  • Energy Star® Approved Appliance and Lighting Package

  • Ductless, mini-split heat pumps — healthier and more efficient

  • Solar hot-water system, and a backup tankless water-heating unit that regulates incoming water

  • Advanced framing that provides more insulation per inch

  • Heat recovery ventilator balances saving energy through an aluminum-core transfer process while providing fresh air

  • Soy-based foam insulation, which seals potential leak points and provides a direct thermal barrier while greatly reducing VOCs compared to conventional spray-foam insulation

You can have it all... and you don’t have to spend a fortune. If the homeowners and team are willing to be disciplined and rigorous and adopt a design-build paradigm to control costs and address the vital issues of health and sustainability, it’s amazing what can be done.
— Clean Homeowner
...the key to making green homes accessible to all budgets is partnering with a design-build firm that is aware of sustainable practices but is also willing to work with clients on limited budgets.

 About Us

In addition to designing your home, Ron, Jon and the EarthCraft staff will oversee the costing of your project, ensuring the construction team is well oriented to the plans and details and that prices are in alignment with the original budget. You can always trust that from first sketch to final walk-through, serving our clients is our highest priority.

Every EarthCraft client receives a Specification Manual for their project before any building commences. This manual documents all the building materials, products and workmanship that are included in the plans and budget. You will know exactly what materials have been used in your home, in writing, as well as manufacturer's warranties and specifications. This, in addition to EarthCraft's one year warranty, give the added assurance you deserve when embarking on the building process.

My husband and I relocated to Boise from Park City, Utah. We wanted to find a unique home that had a personality of its own. We found it in Eagle, Idaho. The home we purchased, after looking throughout Boise and Eagle, was a Ron Hixson original design. It is an amazing work of art. There are numerous artful touches throughout the home: Extensive tile work that are Ron’s designs, twig ceilings and accessories that he carefully selected from the area’s native surroundings. Our friends are in awe of the attention to detail and the many artful accents throughout the home. Our home is not just a home, it is our sanctuary.
— Ted & Lisa Simmons

Mark L. (Ron) Hixson has been a member of the NAHB for 40 years, one of the longest standing members in the Boise Valley.


President, EarthCraft Construction Inc

After serving in the Marine Corps, Jon Clark began a career in building with the goal to learn as much as he could, as efficiently as possible. He started out as a managing partner with a commercial painting company. Within two years the business tripled in size. Projects included the 135ft tall Smoothie King Arena, in New Orleans.

From there he mentored with a second generation master carpenter, developing a deep appreciation for a lifetime’s experience in the trades. Following his interest in green building he contacted Mark at EarthCraft Construction to learn more. In 2018 he relocated from Louisiana to Boise, Idaho to begin working with and learning from Mark directly.

I think having a mentor is absolutely essential in life, for trades and skills, if you want to progress at a rapid rate.
— Jon
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founder, EarthCraft Construction Inc

Mark L. (Ron) Hixson has been building custom homes in the Boise Valley for 40 years and truly believes that green building is more than just a trend. Honoring the tradition of custom home builders and master craftsman, he designs and builds truly unique homes from start to finish.

Over the course of his career he forged good relationships with the city and code enforcement, helping to develop local green building efforts in Boise, Idaho. He has become a strong advocate for straw bale construction.

I decided to get into green building as a personal commitment to my grand daughter, telling her to ‘Leave camp better than you found it’
— Ron