Farmhouse Addition Meets Passive House Standards

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Feb 5, 2016 11:02:21 AM

This home, built onto an old farmhouse, meets the rigorous standards of Germany’s Passivhaus program.

LOCATED 30 MILES north of Prague, Czech Republic, this project is an energy-efficient 1,200-square-foot residence. The client requested a place to retreat: a private yet open space, full of light. The house was to be strikingly modern yet contextual. Built upon an abandoned single-story structure for housing pigs and chickens, it is an extension of an 18th-century farmhouse. In a dense rural context, the home re-interprets the traditional stone and timber house and translates it into modern form. Local artisans contracted to build the timber construction employed traditional techniques.

PROJECT STATS

NAME: House for a Writer in Bohemia, 30 miles north of Prague, Czech Republic DEVELOPER: Channa Newman
BUILDER: Karel Zikmund, Zikmund Hriste
ARCHITECT/DESIGNER: Elan Neuman Fessler, Emergenative Architecture
INTERIOR DESIGNER: Elan Neuman Fessler, Emergenative Architecture
PHOTOS: Emergenative Architecture

The house has an airtight envelope with low heat loss (less than .15W/m2K), electrical on-demand hot water and triple glazing. The new construction achieves the challenging performance requirements of a German passive house, and it exceeds LEED Platinum standards. The existing sandstone and brick masonry was mostly preserved or reused. New materials were selected for their low carbon footprints and longevity; these include locally harvested timber, bamboo flooring and white aluminum roofing. High-efficiency building systems recycle and retain heat energy.

The House is oriented south and west for natural daylighting and cross-ventilation. In winter, solar energy warms the northern wall, which acts as a passive thermal mass. Radiant heating transfers heat passively to the other masonry walls, and the thermal equilibrium between floors is maintained with an HRV unit. New wall assemblies are “open” to both sides, have low permeability, are without thermal bridges and are insulated with hydrophobic insulation. Natural and forced air circulation on both sides prevent the settling of moisture within the assembly. This thoroughly modern home features efficient appliances from Bosch, Siemens and Miele, plumbing fixtures from Franke and Kludi and LED lighting from Philips.

Combining the old and the new was a cost-effective strategy for creating a cozy, healthy home. At $115 per square foot, it attains high standards at a low cost.

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Sustainable Strategies Abound in this Case Study House

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Feb 3, 2016 5:32:39 PM

A house in Bellingham, Washington, demonstrates innovative water and energy systems that meet the standards of the Living Building Challenge.

THE BIRCH CASE STUDY HOUSE was developed using the Living Building Challenge as a guide. The primary goal of this project was to implement numerous sustainable strategies, highlighting the successes and failures when designing, permitting and constructing Living Buildings.

To help realize the project, [bundle] design studio partnered with non-profits and building product manufacturers. Throughout construction, [bundle] hosted a workshop series with Sustainable Connections to present green materials and strategies to the local building community. [bundle] also partnered with Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) for the NextStep Homes program and with WSU to field test a CO2 heat pump that is used for domestic hot water and radiant floor heating.

PROJECT STATS

NAME: Birch Case Study House, Bellingham, WA
BUILDER: Chris Tretwold, Tretwold Construction, LLC
ARCHITECT/DESIGNER: Dan Welch, [bundle] design studio
PHOTOS: [bundle] design studio

The Birch Case Study house has proved successful at demonstrating a number of pathways towards Living Buildings. Among the highlights, it is the first within the Bellingham city limits to choose not to hook up city water and sewer. Instead, the project achieves net-zero water usage through the use of onsite rainwater catchment, composting toilets and graywater reuse.

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Resilient Ranch

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Feb 1, 2016 12:03:00 PM

Water, food security and land stewardship are just as important as energy independence for this Texas ranch house.

FAMILY AND COMMUNITY are the focus of this ranch, creating a space where the homeowners could age in place surrounded by family, food and the Texas countryside. Nestled on 100 acres in Texas Hill Country, this artist’s compound is a colorful gem of self-sufficient living and connection with nature.

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Beauty and the Beach

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Jan 29, 2016 3:19:37 PM

An 83-year-old beach house gets a deep energy retrofit, but retains the grace and beauty of the original home.

THIS 1932 HOME overlooks Truesdale Lake in Westchester County, NY. Once a popular gathering place, the structure had fallen into disrepair. Incorporating new and reclaimed materials, architect and builder Sylvain Côté has fully restored The Beach House for maximum comfort with a minimal carbon footprint. Completed in 2014, The Beach House is Energy Star Certified, with a HERS rating of 30 and LEED Platinum Certification of 90.

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Free E-book Download: Christopher Alexander's Classic "A Pattern Language"

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Jan 22, 2016 10:32:09 AM

Now out of print, here's a rare opportunity to own your own searchable, unabridged version of the classic book on home and community design.

A FEW YEARS AGO, I was lucky enough to interview architect Chris Alexander, and of course, discuss the timeless impact of his book "A Pattern Language." If you havent' read it, it's hard to synopsize briefly. The book is so wide-ranging in its topic matter (how should cities and social groups be organized for happiness?), yet so precision oriented in its details (why do mullioned windows serve the human eye better than wide expanses of glass?) that you really simply have to read it to understand why it stands apart.

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