The bedroom walls are made of glass, offering views of the ocean and an outdoor patio with a hot tub and loungers.

Ask an Expert: How Can I Make My Home More Energy-Independent?

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This home design by Studio Schicketanz includes a heated outdoor soaking tub with an unbeatable view. "By using propane to power all the high-consumption appliances in the home—such as water heaters, cooktops, and spas—you allow the electrical supply to power the things it does best: lighting, ventilation fans, and water well pumps," says Cordill.