The Vandemusser Residence
LEED Platinum 2011
Ultimately, I am reminded of the success of the project every time a client comes in and says, "Wow. I could definitely live here!" It drives home the point that being net-zero doesn't have to be expensive or look out of place.
This passive solar net-zero home in Asheville, NC functions as both the owners' personal residence (approximately 1900 square feet on two floors) as well as their professional offices (approximately 1200 square feet on one floor).
The owners, an architect and mechanical engineer, wanted to build a home capable of highlighting the various energy efficiency strategies and technologies available to prospective clients. Passive and active technologies are implemented throughout the house - passive solar glazing, thermal mass, rainwater harvesting, photovoltaics, solar thermal water heating, geothermal, radiant floor heating, 90% LED lighting, FSC-certified wood floors and cabinets, zero-VOC paints, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and circuit-by-circuit energy monitoring to name a few. Because of the owners' primary focus on energy efficiency consulting and certification, the home and office functions not only as a personal residence, but as a living laboratory, idea generator, and showroom.
As residential green certifiers, it was very important to the owners to have the home certified for numerous green certifications. In addition to the LEED for Homes Platinum designation, the home is also certified for Energy Star, EPA Indoor AirPlus, and NC HealthyBuilt Homes Platinum level rating. The current utility bills show that the house is projected to be net zero and based on the construction cost of $155 per square foot, the return on investment for the energy efficiency items should be less than 10 years.
The house was constructed on a 1/2 acre infill lot in Asheville, NC. The site was selected due to the excellent solar access as well as the gently sloping nature of the lot, which allowed for a walk-out lower level for their professional offices.
Surrounded by older homes, the owners took great care to design the home's massing to blend in contextually, but still affording it the opportunity to stand out with some of the technologies being used throughout.