This vacation residence located in a beautiful ocean community on the New England coast features high performance and creative use of space in a small package. ZeroEnergy Design created the simple, gable-roofed structure and proposed the Passive House standard. The resulting home consumes only 14% of the energy compared to a similar new home built only to code requirements. The client sought a modern two-bedroom, two-bath private retreat that was right-sized for their family – nothing more, nothing less – and a goal of minimizing energy use. The site offered excellent southern exposure, however paired that with the challenge of a lovely north-facing agrarian view.
ZED planned the home’s gable form as a defining aesthetic feature. Its iconic shape is repeated both inside and out. Simple finishes, bright colors, minimal trim, and concrete floors achieve a clean, fresh look for the interior. The layout carefully aligns with the family’s planned use. Bedrooms are located at either end of the home. A central space with cathedral-like ceilings includes living and cooking areas with northern views and ample southern daylight. A dining nook, on the south side of the space, accommodates a large table for both family and friends without encroaching on the open space. A loft, overlooking the living space, allows for extra sleeping areas and a dedicated play space for children. The family also expressed their love of bathing, which was addressed by including a dedicated sun-filled tub room in the southeast corner of the home.
PERFORMANCEHigh R-values in the home, including R-44 walls, R-50 slab foundation, R-60 roof, and meticulous air sealing result in a vast reduction in space conditioning requirements. A single air source heat pump provides heating and cooling distributed via exposed ductwork. After collecting a year of measured data, the result is an electric house that consumes 86% less energy when compared to the same house built only to code requirements. Installing a photovoltaic system of only 4.1 kW would offset the total annual energy consumption, effectively making the home net zero energy. [Photos and information provided via e-mail by Adam Prince of ZeroEnergy Design]
These days, a building doesnt just have to look good, it should ideally be good for the environment too. A great example of sustainability spliced with style from the past few years is the M&S store at Cheshire Oaks Retail Park in Ellesmere Port, designed by Aukett Fitzroy Robinson.
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests