Green Homes

One Sky home exterior lede
Apr 27,2013 | Climate Zone 4, San Jose, California

This energy-efficient house in San Jose, California, not only produces enough solar electricity to meet its annual energy needs, it also complies with the stringent PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. standard.

The design-buildCompany that handles house design and construction. Since both services are provided by the same firm, integrated design can often be more easily achieved. team of Allen Gilliland and Bronwyn Barry of One Sky Homes were behind the spec home and succeeded in meeting the Passivhaus standard and the performance requirements of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home program.

Stott 4.jpg
Dec 09,2014 | Climate Zone 4, Sagaponack, New York

By Richard Stott

The Hamptons are flush with poorly built, energy hog spec homes on an acre or two. Many of these homes have huge lawns, pools, tennis courts, and koi ponds. Most are thankfully hidden by tall privet hedges. Of course, the Hamptons are also known for some of the most extravagant and well-built residences in the world. All of these estates, well-built or not, require an army of maintenance workers to keep them tidy and presentable.

Opaluch - south exterior
Feb 25,2014 | Boulder, Colorado

Back in the early 1980s, I built a 1,480-square-foot passive solar home in Boulder, Colorado. There have been substantial improvements in active solar equipment since then. But today’s passive solar design principles are quite similar to the principles preached in the early 1980s. Solar energy provides almost all the winter heating and hot water for this home. The cost savings I achieved by eliminating a central heating system were invested in thermal massHeavy, high-heat-capacity material that can absorb and store a significant amount of heat; used in passive solar heating to keep the house warm at night. , additional insulation, and better glazingWhen referring to windows or doors, the transparent or translucent layer that transmits light. High-performance glazing may include multiple layers of glass or plastic, low-e coatings, and low-conductivity gas fill., so no additional construction costs were incurred compared to conventional construction.

Bado - South elevation - cropped.jpg
Dec 17,2013 | Shelburne, Massachusetts

Before we met, my clients had spent considerable time researching how to build a net-zero home. They read product literature, studied the economics, understood the benefits, and had a pretty intelligent understanding of construction methods and materials. This body of knowledge became the starting point for our discussions and direction.

Dan Ernst - Thaxton house - exterior south elevation
Feb 08,2013 | Climate Zone 4A — Thaxton, Virginia

When the time came for Jason and Stephanie Specht to find a builder, they started out with high ideals. They wanted a builder who wouldn’t skimp on the quality of construction and who wouldn't charge an exorbitant fee.

Since this was their first time building, there were a lot of unknowns and a lot of questions: As clients, would they be able to customize plans? Select materials and finishes? Could they realize their budgetary goals? Did the builder have a good reputation? Would the house be energy efficient?

Most of all, they were looking for a builder they could trust.

Eric Thomas house south elevation
Jan 07,2013 | Seattle, Washington

By Eric Thomas
We were attracted to an empty south-facing lot, one of the last undeveloped parcels in our neighborhood. Were we naïve to think we could make our dream of an affordable green home a reality?

“Mom and Dad must have paid for that one,” one of our elderly neighbors told me when I met him for the first time.

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