Again, unlike most architects, Michael recognized early in his career that quality architecture – one designed to meet both a specified budget and high sustainable building standards -- is only as good as one's knowledge of sustainable construction. Michael, therefore, worked in the construction field for two years before opening his own architectural practice.
In 1976, Michael began Living Systems, an architectural practice dedicated to designing energy efficient, high mass, passive solar homes. Focusing first on adobe and rammed earth as his main wall building materials, Michael knew that there had to be a better method for "pouring" earth that would reduce both time and labor and thus make earthen homes less expensive to build. By 1994, Michael had designed a mix that could do just that! (See Poured Earth page)
Since that time, Michael has become well regarded, nationally and internationally, as one of the leading architects in the field of high mass, earthen design and construction. Acting today as both architect and builder, Michael provides quality, creative architectural services that promise to meet the client's budget and aesthetic desires.
Mike followed an exciting path before arriving at Living Systems. For 20 years, he ran 911 calls and delivered advanced emergency care in every possible environment from the ditch to the ER to the hyperbaric chamber, in helicopters and fire apparatus. In 2001, he was recruited as a firefighter/paramedic at Mountain View Fire Rescue, in Longmont, Colorado, where he enjoyed a career many dream of following.
"Green building" and living a more sustainable life, however, were always important to Mike during those 20 years. As a result, he made it a priority to learn all he could about sustainable building practices. He acquired Building Performance Institute certifications and began working part time improving home efficiency. He also made major renovations to his own home.
In 2010, Mike began to consider the unthinkable: leaving the fire service. Considering quality of life to be a matter more important to him than annual income, Mike slowly developed a plan to depart a long, well established career in favor of what he viewed as his "life's work" in ecological design & building.
In October of 2013, he finally made his "leap of faith" and moved to Prescott, AZ, where he studied at Ecosa Institute for Regenerative Ecological Design. Upon receiving his Certificate from Ecosa, Mike knew it was imperative that he now be able to work with someone who was actually putting "regenerative design" into practice.
Fortuitously, a friend mentioned Michael Frerking. Mike contacted Michael of Living Systems in the summer of 2014 and looked no farther than Prescott, Arizona! Here was someone who, like himself, was not satisfied with Energy Star or LEED standards but who had accomplished the design and build of a "Net-Plus" home and whose life's work was about the sustainability of our built environment. Most importantly for Mike, however, was the fact that LSSA also believed in making sustainable building affordable.
Mike loves to learn and brings to Living Systems a variety of skills and abilities. But, most importantly, Mike Gray brings to Living Systems a passion for what he is doing and an incredibly positive outlook.