Amazon.com Widgets
Green Builder Media Logo

facebook twitter youtube linkedin pinterest google

Helios NW Eco: A Net Zero Vacation Home

Posted by Suchi Rudra

Sep 12, 2014 6:16:00 PM

WHEN SARAH AND HER HUSBAND (surnames withheld) purchased what is now the Helios Eco-House in Bend, Oregon, the primary goal was to achieve LEED standards. But after doing much research, the biotech and engineer couple discovered that “if you’re willing to go a little further, it’s really painless to go net zero.”

When the couple purchased the 2,145-square-foot house in 2010, construction hadn’t been completed due to the drop in the housing market in 2006. Sarah considered this a unique opportunity.
“It’s one thing to read about green building, and another to immerse yourself in it,” she says. By March 2011, the couple completed construction on the three-bedroom, three-bath house to achieve LEED Gold for Homes (the first in Oregon), and the property began to operate as a short-term vacation rental. The rental income was immediately reinvested into the house, including the installation of the PV array, and by June 2011, Helios Eco-House had achieved net-zero energy.

“It’s the only net-zero property in the area that I know of,” Sarah says.

Powering the home is a 2.59-kW grid-tied photovoltaic solar panel array on the roof. Each solar panel has its own microinverter, which leaves the whole array unaffected if one panel breaks down. “Little decisions like that helped maximize what we’re doing,” Sarah adds.

Typically, the house is able to send back excess energy into the grid on a monthly basis, except for a small dip in January and February, depending on the snowload. But Bend is located in what’s known as a “high desert” climate and enjoys a prime solar environment, with over 300 days of sun a year. A display in the garage and online allows visitors to monitor the performance level of the PV array.
Guests can leave a minimal carbon footprint by walking to local restaurants, cafés and markets and cycling or taking a shuttle bus to nearby attractions. The house also maintains a “mid-century modern” aesthetic, complete with vintage furniture, which allows guests to try out an eco-friendly lifestyle without sacrificing ease or comfort.

“People can stay very comfortably and not have a lot of waste as a result of their stay,” says Sarah. “And other guests come because they are specifically interested in the concept of this house.”

Read More

Topics: net-zero energy, 1600 to 2500 square feet, Green Landscaping, LEED, solar, standing seam metal roof, water conservation, zero-VOC, radiant heating systems, Low-E Window glazing

Conscious Compound

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Aug 8, 2014 6:38:57 PM

HERE'S SOMETHING you don’t see every day: an “aging in place” multiple unit housing project with sustainability front and center.

This urban project in downtown Santa Barbara, CA, takes to heart architect Ed Mazria’s 2030 Challenge goal of carbon neutrality. Built in two phases, and certified LEED-H Platinum, it began with the teardown of an 1887 Victorian house, and its replacement with a state-of-the-art 2,520-sq. ft. home. The new structure captures some of the essence of the original home, but is extremely airtight and well built. The combination of spray foam and external Tyvek ThermaWrap reduces air infiltration (ACH 50) to .96 (better than the most stringent LEED standards).

The second phase called for construction of a 5,100-sq. ft. three-unit condominium, designed in a Spanish style. This condo was built using the same framing and insulation materials as the single-family home, and it also achieves super energy efficiency. The team had intended to build both structures with SIPs, but seismic concerns resulted in a change to 2”x6” framing with spray foam and thermal wrap.

The addition of parking lifts not only allowed for more vehicles—it conserved valuable square footage for living, so that the architect was able to squeeze an additional living unit out of the plan. Less driveway also made possible communal gardens in between the buildings.
Read More

Topics: Green Landscaping, LEED, housewrap, spray foam insulation, edible gardens

New Florida

Posted by Matt Power

Apr 15, 2014 4:57:00 PM

Florida, one of the fastest growing states, is not known for its green housing. But this LEED Gold home in Winter Park, not far from Orlando, breaks that pattern. Its contemporary design contains many elements familiar in what you might call the “snowbird vernacular” of modern Florida architecture: large expanses of glass, an open floorplan, a back yard lanai, and an open interior with little trim. But unlike so many Florida homes--built to code but no better--nearly every aspect of this home has an energy- or water-saving purpose.  
Read More

Topics: Green Landscaping, LEED, Energy Recovery Ventilation, HERS, 2600 to 3400 square feet, natural daylighting, green roof, 2010 Green Home of the Year Awards, LED Lighting, rainwater harvesting, salvaged materials, Florida, Recycled Products

Subtle Masterpiece

Posted by Cati O'Keefe

Dec 1, 2013 5:18:00 PM

2013 Green Home of the Year Awards 
Grand Overall Winner - Santa Ynez, Calif.

This home's smart, low-tech approach to efficiency took home the gold.

SIMPLICITY WON OVER the judges to make Dreamtime Farm, Santa Ynez, Calif., this year’s Grand Overall  Green Home of the Year Award Winner. Architect and judge Hank Krzysik called the home “simple, clean, energy-efficient.” Builder and judge Michael Ginsburg said the home was “simple, straightforward and understandable.” Judge and energy expert Robert Bulechek lauded its features: “net-zero, graywater with solar hydronic.”

Read More

Topics: net-zero energy, California, bathroom, 1600 to 2500 square feet, Green Landscaping, kitchen, passive solar, solar hot water, straw bale, outdoor living, Chain of Custody Certification, EPA Burn Wise, natural ventilation, natural daylighting, AquaPEX, FSC Certified Lumber, LED Lighting, 2013 Green Home of the Year Awards, Recycled Products

Natural Synergy

Posted by Cati O'Keefe

Dec 1, 2013 12:53:00 PM

Green Home of the Year Awards 2013
Best Exterior Integration - Sonoma, Calif.

This LEED platinum house boasts roof gardens and thoughtful landscaping.

FARM HOUSE VERNACULAR and chicken coops were the design inspiration for the 3,960-square-foot, two-story home. Covered walkways, gardens and a pool link the simple gabled structures into a family compound.

Read More

Topics: Geothermal Heating and Cooling, graywater, California, Green Landscaping, LEED, 1500 square feet or less, solar hot water, straw bale, Low Flow Faucets, natural daylighting, green roof, 2013 Green Home of the Year Awards, rainwater harvesting


Posts by Topic