Having lived in the home for almost 10 years, our clients loved their current neighborhood, but the home wasn't meeting the needs of their growing family, nor was it in alignment with their overall goal of living in a healthy, energy-efficient home. They contemplating remodeling or adding on to the existing home, but after extended discussions with their architect, they decided the best way to achieve near net-zero energy usage required starting anew.
To get as close to net-zero as possible, our clients looked to Passive House techniques to maximize the overall energy portfolio of the home. It was quickly determined that the placement of the existing home on the lot was not conducive to capturing the solar potential that was necessary for a near net-zero home. Thus the owners made the decision to carefully deconstruct the home to salvage as much of it as possible for re-use in the new home. They also wanted to utilize sustainable, energy-efficient materials and systems wherever possible. Key design goals:
Solar studies resulted in placing the home on the back side of the property. This provided a beautiful front yard that was set apart from the neighborhood. It also provided lots of opportunities to take advantage of the large front yard for outdoor living. By minimizing the windows on the back side of the home, privacy is created from their closest neighbors and allows for larger windows to be placed on the front side of the home. Passive House wall construction techniques along with ultra-efficient windows and a high-efficiency HVAC system result in a home that is quiet, energy efficient and healthy for both the family and the earth.
The result of careful planning and a collaborative effort has created a beautiful home that meets the needs of a growing family and sips energy at a fraction of what a standard-built home would. The addition of a very modest solar array brings this home to near net-zero. Durable and sustainable products and systems were used throughout, making the home long-lasting, easy to maintain and provides healthy air quality for its occupants - all packaged in a aesthetic that blends seamlessly into one of Ann Arbor's oldest neighborhoods.