Monday, December 13, 2010

Net-Zero Energy Monster homes?

Here is a great little article in Living Green Magazine by one of our local green gurus, Auden Schendler:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Architecture in the Roaring Fork Valley

Here is a radio interview I did on KDNK about the state of the economy and its effects on the local architectural community.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

la Fête des Lumières de Lyon

You don't have to speak French to enjoy these amazing photos of the Light Festival in Lyon, where I used to live!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

HIS or HERS?! The EnergySmart Home Scale

The HERS Index...   you may be hearing a lot about it, but what is it?  (currently this rating is being re-branded as the "EnergySmart Home Scale")

The HERS Index is a scoring system in which a home built to the specifications of the HERS Reference Home scores a HERS Index of 100, while a net zero energy home scores a HERS Index of 0. The lower a home's HERS Index, the more energy efficient it is.

Each 1-point decrease in the HERS Index corresponds to a 1% reduction in energy consumption compared to the HERS Reference Home.  So, a home with a HERS Index of 85 is 15% more energy efficient than the HERS Reference Home and a home with a HERS Index of 65 is 35% more energy efficient.

If you're buying a new home ask to see the HERS Index!  (if the home doesn't have one, get it tested!)

If you're building a new home, make sure to ask your architect to design it for a specific HERS Index.  (70 or lower is a good goal and also the threshold to meet the DOE's Builders' Challenge)

Stay tuned for info on Green Line Architects' Net-Zero Energy Home being built high up in the Colorado mountains.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

House Size Matters?

This Japanese home is extremely space-efficient, and besides the lack of art on the walls, looks very livable.

Could you be comfortable living in roughly 825 square feet?


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Garfield County Clean Energy Challenge for Homes

In addition to some great rebates for energy efficiency improvements, there is free online energy tracking!  Very cool!

Visit the CLEER web site.

NextGen Affordable Solar Home

Monday, October 25, 2010

Architecture of the Aspen Art Museum

What do you think of Shigeru Ban's design for the new Aspen Art Museum?

Do the clean lines complement the natural landforms around it?

Or is it too modern for an historic mining town?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Small-House Utopia

How do you convince an American public that smaller homes can be more virtuous than larger ones?  After all, we have been taught to chase after huge homes with a low cost per square foot for some time, now.
This is the next task at hand for American Ingenuity, figuring out how to make smaller, more energy efficient homes the norm.
Check out this great article in the NY Times.

It gives me some hope for the future of the small home!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Art in Denver


This was modern when I was a kid. 

Note to Liebeskind, this is the way NOT to design roofs in snow country.   I'd give it 10 years, tops.

Pierre Paulin's "Tongue Chair"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Colorado PassivHaus? almost...

This morning brings us a great New York Times article about where we are headed in green building design.  Bravo, people!

Here is a shot of Green Line Architects' recently completed Off-grid PassivHaus!  (Passive House to us Americans)  

The Living Room trusses are made of reclaimed timber and steel, and you can see a section of the 12" thick, R-60 SIP's (structural insulated panels) being installed above for the roof.  High insulation values, coupled with a very airtight "envelope" and proper ventilation make for an extremely energy-efficient home.  This one is estimated to be 94% more energy efficient than a standard home.  That's very near Net-Zero Energy!

Stay tuned for more news about this terribly exciting new home...


Turns out this house is 105% more energy-efficient than the standard home, which means that it is a Net-Zero Energy or NZE Home!!

Technically, it falls just short of being a true PassivHaus.  See notes from our energy consultant, Megan Gilman, of Active Energies, Inc. below:

Performance Characteristics

PassiveHaus Standard 1 • Airtight building shell ≤ 0.6 ACH @ 50 pascal pressure, measured by blower-door test.
This home had 0.1 natural air changes per hour and an ACH@50Pa of 2.14.  LEED and other programs have started using ACH@50Pa (LEED has three tiers of infiltration for this climate – required 5.0 ACH@50, 2 points for 3.5 ACH@50, and 3 points for 2.0 ACH@50.  These figures make sense… we were very close to LEED’s most stringent level.  
PassivHaus Standard 2     • Annual heat requirement ≤ 15 kWh/m2/year
(4.75 kBtu/sf/yr)
            Our annual heat requirement (according to HERS) is 12,000 kBtu/year, so this would be 5.96 kBtu/sf/year.  This might be a hangup, if it doesn’t meet their requirement.  However, they specifically say that it has to get this energy use in their software, which has specific weather and conditions, which could be a bit different
PassivHaus Standard 3 • Primary Energy ≤ 120 kWh/m2/year (38.1 kBtu/sf/yr)
Our total is 7,200 kBtu/year.  Yeah, I know that it’s weird that this is lower than the heating requirement, but this is because the PV production knocks down the total energy requirement.  I suppose the specific heating requirement is to ensure that you don’t just have a home with bad insulation and windows and slap a bunch of PV on.  Anyway, this total energy use would be 3.58 kBtu/sf/year.
In addition, the following are recommendations, varying with climate:
PassivHaus Recommendation 1  • Window u-value ≤ 0.8 W/m2/K  Window U-value is 0.213 in English units (Btu/hr-sf-degree F).  To convert to SI units, the conversion factor is 5.678, resulting in a value of 1.21 W/m2K.  They say this varies by climate, but I’d bet we’d be in one of the more aggressive climate zones.
PassivHaus Recommendation 2   • Ventilation system with heat recovery with ≥ 75%  
   efficiency with low electric consumption @  0.45 Wh/m3  I believe the HRV has an efficiency right around or above 75%.  My records show there is a 500 cfm unit (really two 250 cfm units) that runs 2.5 hours per day at 300 watts total, which is a total of 31.25 watts-hours per day, divided by 907.16 cubic meters is 0.034 W-h/m3.  This seems really low, but they wrote cubic meters, so that’s what makes it so low.  I don’t believe this item would be a problem.
PassivHaus Recommendation 3 • Thermal Bridge Free Construction ≤ 0.01 W/mK
I believe that with a SIPS shell, that this house is on par.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Villages in France

Check out the amazing masonry work on these buildings in France.  From L'

Bargème, Var

Châteauneuf, Côte-d'Or

Noyers, Yonne

Pérouges, Ain

Lavaudieu, Haute-Loire

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Modern Treehouse

We outfitted the treehouse with some modern furniture...

What do you think?

(thanks to Robyn Scott, Kim Umemoto and of course Dave Rasmussen!)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mallet Design Study

That oughtta do it.

-rollin' post

Friday, February 5, 2010

Greener and Weirder

Are we thinking about this in the right way?  Check out Alex Steffen's article: