The initial design goal was clear - create a plan that would have a high level of functionality for multi-generational families, maintain a present-day aesthetic with a simple line form factor thus allowing Youth Build programs or a lesser-skilled labor forces to construct, while attaining LEED Gold certification that underscores a healthy and nurturing residential environment.
Functionality Meets Form Factor
While the use of solar photovoltaic technology is a requirement and being incorporated into the design specification, the greatest amount of southern exposure for this application was to be be attained. The combination of this exposure factor, simple build techniques and allowing room for future expansion of the PV system lent itself to designing a mono-pitch roof scheme that created ample roof area square footage, easy installation access and serviceability for the PV system that will provide the majority of electrical power needs.
With maintaining budgetary limits, a slab-on-grade design was decided in conjunction with integrated radiant heating embedded into first-level slab. This combination would provide a primary heating source with clean, evenly distributed heat. To augment heating of the second level, a second zone of hydronic baseboard heating provides a budget-conscious solution to the areas only needing an auxiliary heating solution.
While omitting a full basement reduced excavation and construction costs, storage solutions needed to be addressed. The mono-pitch design also provided this solution on the second level. The primary and easy access storage area is designed in the area where the roof pitch intersects with the livable ceiling heights. The second and ample spaced extended-period storage would be accessed from a pull-down attic stair where the mono-pitch design provide a voluminous storage solution in width as well as height.
The design continues to provide and enhance efficiency in concert with aesthetic. Creating a vertical space in the street facing first-level living area allows for an open and flowing vaulted interior space, providing expansive natural light and a natural heating rise. This design also provides a natural venting stack effect for fresh air as well natural cooling and ventilation in warmer seasonal months. The vent stacking deigned works in tandem with the stair ceilings that also naturally lights the the entire staircase.
IAQ + ILQ Primary Objectives
Although the design integration objective works in concert with systems and aesthetics, Indoor Air Quality and Indoor Livability Quality were always the primary objectives. The first floor maintains the primary bedroom with close proximity to the main level bathroom and all living areas. This main level bathroom incorporates a curb-less shower and the design allows future adjustment to a full ADA-compliant first level living arrangement if
needed. All rooms provide cross-ventilation with safety factors of egress-sized windows in every bedroom. In conjunction with LEED Gold Certification, all interior finishes will maintain zero VOC painting materials and floors will be hard surfaces for cleanliness and even heat distribution on the main level due to its radiant heating capabilities. All appliances will be Energy Star rated, plumbing fixtures will be meet WaterSense standards and the a high-efficiency gas boiler will supply heating and hot water needs.
While the design provides an integrated interior space with an aesthetic/ systems/materials approach, the exterior shell in conjunction with the site completes the entire design solution.
The exterior walls provide the highest R-value envelope with spray foam insulation and incorporated roof systems will provide solar shading. Strategically placed windows in various roofline walls help contribute to natural ventilation and light throughout the home. The roofline shading approach is prominent on the south facing facade.
Landscaping provides seasonal natural weather barriers on the North facing portion of the site and high-albedo concrete specified for the driveway and rear patio areas provide aesthetic while reducing heat island effects. The ratio of native plantings and non-grass areas are designed to met the requirements of LEED for Homes guidelines.
Completing the exterior, the mono-pitch design once again provides additional functionality by allowing a single-sided rain water collection and runoff for solution to be distributed under grade and re-charged into the ground naturally.