2019 Green Home of the Year Award Winner: The Simple Life
Small, straightforward and near net zero, this tiny home easily takes the place of larger living quarters.
Owners of the Strickland Residence in Oak Harbor, Wash., may one day build their oversized dream home. Or maybe not: At the moment, the 784-square-foot, two-bedroom “guest quarters” more than meets their needs.
“The owners are enjoying the smaller home and the relaxed lifestyle that comes with it,” says Ted Clifton, the project’s builder and designer, and president of Clifton View Homes in Coupeville, Wash. “They’re considering not ever building the ‘main house,’ or at most, making it about the same size as this one.”
Number one on the “must-have” list was zero energy performance. For Clifton, that meant including structured insulated panels (SIPs)—Premier Building Systems Neopor 6-1/2-inches thick in the walls, 10-1/4 inches in the roof—for maximum performance. In general, the home was designed with SIPs in mind: The heights of walls, pitch of the roof, and spans of roof SIPs were all optimized for passive solar gains and active PV system exposure, Clifton notes.
Name: Strickland Residence, Oak Harbor, Wash.
Architect/Designer: Zero-Energy Plans, LLC
Builder: Clifton View Homes
Developer: Clifton View Homes
Cathedral ceilings give the tiny house a larger-than-life feel, but not a larger-than-tolerable energy bill. Builders dropped an eight-foot ceiling over the bathroom, resulting in a large attic space suitable for air-handling equipment and extra storage space for the owners. A Fujitsu single-head ductless heat pump, located above the entry door in the great room, easily heats the entire unit, with the bedrooms remaining just a couple of degrees below the main living area.
Other temperature control aids include Vinyltek Boreal 6000 triple-glazed windows, with U-values ranging from 0.16 to 0.21, depending on the type and size of window. Also, 4-inch (R-20) foam insulation was used under the entire slab, and 2-inch (R-10) perimeter insulation isolates the earth under the house from the surrounding surface air temperatures.
The power-saving parade goes on: All lighting is 100 percent LED. All appliances are Energy Star certified. Passive solar was designed in, with the south-facing windows optimized for passive solar gains. The 6.3-kW Itek solar array provides power for the house, and charges an electric car for about 5,700 miles per year.
Summer cooling is managed by the thermal mass slab, and generous roof overhangs limit the ability of the summer sun to penetrate the high-solar heat gain windows. The windows provide much of the required heating during the winter months.
The owners sought out and purchased a recycled door package of Codel and Masonite products for all interior doors. One hundred percent of the Sherwin-Williams paint and adhesives used were zero-volatile organic compound (VOC) products. The landscaping was 100 percent native species, in keeping with the requirements of the Ebey’s Prairie National Historical Reserve.
The result is a series of certifications that include Certified Energy Star, Indoor airPLUS, and U.S. Department of Energy Zero-Energy Ready—and a HERS Index rating of -16. “That’s pretty standard for us now,” Clifton notes. “[Overall], this project is an outstanding example of how modern building materials and methods can combine with a very traditional design to produce exemplary performance results.”
Alternative Building Systems: Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) by Premier Building Systems
Appliances: All appliances are Energy Star certified
Automotive (Electric Car Charging, Etc.): 6.3-kW solar array.
Building Envelope: SIPs 6.5-inch wall and 10.25-inch roof panels; 4-inch (R-20) foam insulation under the entire floor slab.
Cabinets, Shelves, Millwork: Standard
Caulks and Sealants: All zero-volatile organic compound (VOC) products
Doors and Hardware: Codel, Masonite
Electrical: All lighting is 100 percent LED. All appliances are Energy Star certified. A 6.3-kW solar array is installed.
Exterior Finishes: All zero-VOC products
Garage Doors: CLOPAY
HVAC/Ducts: Fujitsu Ductless Heat Pump
Insulation: Premier Building Systems Neopor SIPs 6.5-inch wall and 10.25-inch roof panels; 4-inch (R-20) foam insulation under floor slab; 2-inch (R-10) perimeter insulation under the house
Landscaping: 100 percent native species, conforming to Ebey’s Prairie National Historical Reserve requirements.
Lighting: All lighting is 100 percent LED
Paints and Stains: Sherwin-Williams, all non-VOC products
Plumbing/Plumbing Fixtures: Kohler
Renewable Energy Systems (Solar, Wind, Etc.): A 6.3-kW solar array provides power the house and electric car.
Roof: Nu-Ray metal clad SIPs; 10.25-inch roof panels
Siding: James Hardie HardiPlank
Solar: Itek panels, Itek inverter, SolrenView data monitoring
Specialty Products: SIPs
Structural Components: SIPs
Ventilation: Fantech, Panasonic
Water Heating: Bradford White tankless water heater with 99.5 percent EF
Weather Barrier: Kimberly-Clark BLOCK-IT
Windows, Skylights, Patio Doors: Vinyltek Boreal 6000 triple-glazed windows, with U-values of 0.16 to 0.21 here