Green Home of the year Awards
Lot Design, Preparation, Development, and Environmental Responsibility Award
Verde Design Group
For more info about this home see "High-style hideaway"
About this home
This home expresses local vernacular in contemporary terms using the newest generation of sustainable products for our environment. In current
interpretation of green building, this residence emerges as a modestly elegant and contemporary milestone. With a heavy emphasis on energy
efficiency, site orientation, and resource conservation, the creation of the house kept construction waste to a negligible amount. Central to the design intent is the “kit-of-parts” theory, ensuring that all the major assemblies in the house were of a predesigned size and dimension so that little or no cutting of materials was necessary on the work site, almost eliminating construction waste. In this way the design adapts to sustainable off-the-shelf materials readily available locally rather than requiring the materials to conform to design. Since this house borders fire-prone forests, fire-resistant materials were chosen for the building envelope including four-hour walls and a metal roof.
The space-saving features of the design allow for easily maintained
centralized utilities and keeps the footprint of the house to a minimum.
Radiant heat, ICF walls, Energy Star appliances, and passive solar alignment
all contribute to energy efficiency, reducing the expenditure of fossil fuels.
The land itself was taken into careful consideration before any construction began, employing a site-specific approach. Rather than cut and clear the
earth to change the natural lay of the land to suit the needs of the structure, the footprint was sited between existing arroyos, which provide natural
drainage. The surrounding xeriscape is complemented by the design of the ”butterfly roof,” which allows for centralized water collection points and a system of xeriscaped terraces to control erosion.
The Forest Studio is a fine example of how sustainable building can
combine a variety of green features with a contemporary aesthetic to
produce a functional, lasting, and inspiring home.
Lot Design, Preparation, Development, and Environmental Responsibility
Siting the house for passive solar alignment allows heat gain in the winter and shade in the summer. Minimum impact to the natural landscape was
accomplished utilizing the existing arroyos for drainage, and installing a septic tank without the need for an intrusive leech field.
Use of Materials and Resource Efficiency
Modular design of the chosen building materials reduced construction waste, increased energy efficiency, and reduced impact on the environment. Nudura ICF walls and the steel roof beams are sustainable materials that do not “off-gas” and are recyclable. The deck is made with Pucte wood, certified for sustainable harvest.
Energy efficiency begins with a tight building envelope with low-E glazing. The combination heating/hot water system was sized appropriately for
radiant heating and domestic use. All appliances have Energy Star ratings. Natural primary interior lighting is complemented with low-voltage circulation and task lighting.
Water conservation features include well sharing, a 10-gallon combo washer/dryer, a dual-flush toilet, low-flow shower head, and a gray water system to recycle as much water as possible. The design of the roof allows strategic water catchment to provide ample irrigation for the indigenous and xeriscaped planting.
Indoor Environmental Quality
The cross-ventilated air inside is kept pure by using low-VOC paint and natural plaster on the 52 STC-rated ICF walls, which promote no mold growth and emit no VOCs or CFCs. The exclusion of a central HVAC system eliminates the need for an air filtration system.
Operation, Maintenance, and Homeowner Education
This house was built by and for the designer. All of the operating systems were chosen for their efficiency, durability, and low maintenance requirements.
The environmental impact of the Forest Studio site has been minimized through the integration of low-impact building systems, water- and energy-efficient appliances, and a combination mechanical system. Natural precipitation and gray water is redistributed onto the site to enhance erosion-controlling terraced xeriscaping.