Green Home of the year Awards

Environmental Impact Award

The Dream Home: Evolution in Design and Technology

About this home
We have taken our responsibility as industry professionals and citizens to a level far beyond where others have. We took a proactive approach, designing The Dream Home to be a “green-building” educational platform to inspire others to make a difference on their impact on the environment and in their own lives and to become excited enough to spread the knowledge.

The home is a luxury-level showcase of stunning simplicity, which incorporates contemporary products (some of them not seen before), intuitive design, and traditional finishes into an undeniably artistic form. We set a principal of energy efficiency with a goal of including active green elements and tracked the effects and performance to result in a real example instead of theoretical models. We plan to determine the best investments for returns realized and share this knowledge with others too.

Through several special events, the home has hosted more than 4,000 visitors, many of whom have thanked us for shedding light on what it truly means to not just build green but be green. We have traveled the country to speak about and share The Dream Home systems and products with others and will continue to participate in the edification of the public regarding green building during this exciting time of change in the way people are choosing to live.

Lot Design, Preparation, Development, and Environmental Responsibility
Careful attention was paid so this home would have ideal siting. We studied the orientation for a full year determining volume of solar gain; prevailing winds and drainage; and maximizing our opportunities in passive heating, cooling, ventilation, and water harvest. We used existing roads/trails as the driveway, transplanted indigenous flora, and preserved 90 percent of existing live trees. The home involved minimal excavation—no dirt was added or removed.

Use of Materials and Resource Efficiency
The home used “Smart Frame” techniques, Green Guard–certified products, recycled content, and renewable resource products including agrifiber core doors and finish plywood, ceilings, floors, and garage door. We used on-site recycling/use of lumber cuts and other materials.

Energy Efficiency
Following the Build Green New Mexico credo, this home was correctly sited and well-insulated with an airtight building envelope with controlled airflow and high-efficiency mechanicals. The home achieved the Build Green New Mexico Gold certification and HERS 57 rating without active solar, HVAC, or geothermal, instead using an ICF foundation and walls, double pocket roof, Lutron light/power management with energy-saving features, and numerous advanced energy-saving items.

Water Efficiency
Implemented “Plan B”—Santa Fe retrofit water conservation program water catchment with a weather-sensing irrigation system, low-flow fixtures, dual-flush toilets, automatic faucets, a water-efficient laundry system, recirculating domestic hot water, and clay finish walls with 60 percent less water than traditional plaster installation. The home has a simulated grass product at outdoor living areas that requires no water or chemicals. French drains and existing topography guide canale runoff to preserved and transplanted flora.

Indoor Environmental Quality
Elevated indoor living and air quality were primary considerations. In this home, people notice the difference, and those with allergies experience relief. The house uses nontoxic adhesives, caulks, sealers, paints, wall finishes, wood products/finishes, and cleaning products. The home has a continuous flow, filtered air, motion-sensing exhaust at entries, a complete “daylighting” design, clay plaster, unsealed low EMF wiring, organic/natural bedding, rugs, and other Green Guard furnishings. The overall design is relaxing and functional.

Operation, Maintenance, and Homeowner Education
We designed/built this home and are its residents. We have compiled a preliminary manual of devices, control systems, and appliance operations and are continuously testing and adjusting to determine the healthiest and most energy-efficient settings. We plan to document several seasons in the home and then revise the manual according to our ascertains.

Environmental Impact
This home is a green educational platform for more than 4,000 visitors (so far). The designers/builders continue to share findings of the home’s energy-efficient systems and products and conduct national and local speaking engagements featuring systems in the home. This home has low- or no-VOC paint, sealers, caulks, adhesives, and insulations. It uses locally available and manufactured materials and products for low embodied energy because reduced energy consumption equal reduced emissions. Locally purchased products help sustain local businesses and the community.