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Experiment In Design: Optimum Performance Home®

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Presentation on theme: "Experiment In Design: Optimum Performance Home®"— Presentation transcript:

1 Experiment In Design: Optimum Performance Home®
A Presentation Before The American Institute of Architects’ Custom Residential Architects Network October 20, 2007, Chicago, Illinois Gary Reber, Editor-In-Chief & Publisher Ultimate Home Design® Copyright © 2007 Ultimate Home Design

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Introduction To The Optimum Performance Home® • National showcase demonstration project and trademark of Ultimate Home Design® magazine. • Mission is to serve as a catalyst for homeowners to create demand for architects, architectural designers, and builders to adopt the concepts and building practices that define human-centered, optimum performance home design.

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• Seeking “Optimum Performance” in home design. • Five years research and design to identify appropriate strategies to meet optimum performance goals. • “Optimum Performance Home” design relates to achieving efficient and functional spatial relationships and material usage to obtain the most favorable and desirable conditions for environmentally enhanced lifespan living.

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The Optimum Performance Home® embraces the “Ultimate Home Design” concept, which recognizes, respects, values, and attempts to accommodate the broadest possible spectrum of human abilities, regardless of age or physical status, in the ergonomic design of products and environments that are easier to use and more aesthetically appealing, while optimally integrating sustainable green building practices and minimizing the overall impact on the natural environment.

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The project has been selected by the U.S. Green Building Council (USCBC) for inclusion in the national Leadership In Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®) for Homes pilot program, and the goal is Platinum certification. The Optimum Performance Home qualifies for the Fortified…For Safer Living® program of the Institute for Business & Home Safety, which specifies construction, design, and landscaping guidelines to increase a new home’s resistance to natural disaster.

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The home will meet the guidelines and qualifications for the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection’s ENERGY STAR®, the EPA’s WaterSense®, and the American Lung Association® Health House® programs. The home will also meet the requirements of the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Model Green Home Building Guidelines, the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) Green Building Guidelines, and the “Green Points” program of Sonoma County.

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The home is also a case study of the California Energy Commission in terms of energy-efficient applications and an advanced water-saving plumbing system. Finally, the home is a national showcase for CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design & Installation Association), and is the subject of a series of articles in Electronic Lifestyles on the design and installation of the electronic lifestyle components in the home.

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These programs seek to raise the level of quality, both in terms of build quality and occupant experience quality. Their criteria represent the most stringent design and build guidelines for the development of homes that are optimized for low environmental impact, energy efficiency, long-term durability, and occupant health, comfort, and safety. • Such product certification programs as Greenguard® provide an excellent reference point to evaluate product options and alternate strategies, and perform cost/value analysis.

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The project will be further promoted in the continuing series of case study articles appearing throughout the design and construction phase in Ultimate Home Design, and once completed will culminate in a Special Edition of the magazine solely on the design and construction of the home. In addition, a hard-bound coffee-table-style book will be published. A high-definition two-hour broadcast documentary and optical discs on the design and construction of the home will also be produced. These will be made available to everyone who tours the home, and to the materials manufacturers who are participating in the design and construction of the home.

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This first Optimum Performance Home will serve as a proof-of-concept upon which Ultimate Home Design will offer architectural design and design/build project services to homeowners and developers seeking to build similar homes and communities certified by the “Optimum Performance Home” trademark. A team of architects, environmental engineers, and structural engineers, working with building system and material manufactures will perform the design duties for the projects.

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• The home design embraces five optimum performance attributes: 1. Universal design architecture 2. “Green” building 3. Water conservation 4. On-site energy generation 5. Comprehensive electronic lifestyle

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1. Universal design architecture ensures that the home will present no physical barriers to any occupant, thus sustaining people of all ages and all capabilities in a functional, comfortable, and aesthetic lifestyle. The design needs to provide a conducive environment to support and stimulate a creative and sustainable lifestyle so that its occupants can “age-in-place” independently and successfully. Personal requirements, needs, and desires dictate the rooms and spaces to accommodate activities designed for sustainable and independent living.

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2. “Green” building is all about designing homes that perform better yet use fewer resources to build and operate. “Green” building is the process of incorporating environmental considerations into every phase of home building construction, including site-specific positioning to orientate homes to harvest light and warmth from the sun, low impact development, use of sustainable and renewable materials, energy-efficient building techniques, water conservation, indoor environmental air quality, and on-site generation of energy.

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3. Water conservation pertains to the efficient use of on-site water resources, which includes hydrologic design to manage above and below surface runoff; rainwater harvesting, filtering, and storing systems for selected reuse for an outdoor spa and shower and above ground irrigation; gray water recycling for below ground irrigation; low consumption, water-efficient plumbing fixtures and faucets; and exceptionally efficient hot water plumbing systems.

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4. On-site energy generation pertains to designing homes that are, in effect, their own “energy factory” with the aim of cutting energy usage with efficiency, and then meeting the remaining needs with renewable clean energy sources. The aim should be to achieve a “Zero Energy Home” (ZEH) cost operation. Energy generation can consist of a solar electric system, a wind powered system, a solar hot water system, and a geothermal ground source hot water system.

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5. Comprehensive electronic lifestyle features should be designed to support a live-work scenario with an infrastructure of advanced broadband hard-wired and wireless WiFi and Local Area Network (LAN) systems that facilitate home networking room-to-room and out-to-the-world-at-large through the Internet. There should also be efficient zoned lighting design and room-to-room home theatre/music entertainment lifestyle electronic systems facilitated through a whole-house structured wiring system to distribute and control audio, video, phones, video conferencing, intercoms, computers, and security surveillance. Other smart home features should include any-room control of all of the lights and lighting schemes, and electronic control of window shades and skylights.

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The Setting The Sea Ranch is an internationally renowned 5,000 acre environmentally protective residential development situated within a pastoral and forested coastal enclave and nature preserve approximately 110 miles north of San Francisco, California. This stunning development, now celebrating its 42nd anniversary, straddles a ten-mile stretch of Highway One, ending at the northern tip of Sonoma County and the south bank of the Gualala river. Single-family development occupies approximately 2,500 acres without border-line fences or other visible delineation of property lines. The remaining acres are permanent green-scape commons and nature trails for walkers, bicyclists, and equestrians.

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Each home is custom designed by an architect/architectural designer following site-specific design guidelines and is situated off a private road network without curbs, sidewalks, or streetlights. The development includes 2,288 lots for single-family custom homes, with 541 remaining to be developed (1,747 already developed and 29 under construction). The Sea Ranch is managed by The Sea Ranch Association, a Common Interest Development (CID) with an elected volunteer Board of Directors, and supported by numerous volunteer committees. All development on The Sea Ranch is subject to design review and the approval of a Board-appointed autonomous Design Committee, comprised of architects and landscape architects. A legal set of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) govern the development and are designed to protect The Sea Ranch concept.

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The Sea Ranch Design Committee imposes upon designers architectural building blocks derived from the original rural structures found on the northern California coast. Designers are expected to apply their creativity to render various arrangements and deviations to arrive at a custom solution that specifically responds to the site. Successful proposals submitted to the Design Committee address the issues of passive solar positioning, wind, glazing (window) layout, privacy between neighbors, vegetation protection, view preservation, topography and grade changes, roof slopes, appropriate exterior materials and finishes, and other exterior design considerations––all within the building and site design.

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The Home • The focus of the design is to stand as a showcase for the “green” movement and demonstrate means of reducing a home’s impact on the planet through the use of Low-Impact Development (LID) and environmentally responsible building materials. • The choice of sustainable building materials and construction techniques assures long-term durability, far exceeding that of conventional wood frame, minimally insulated home construction. • With proper maintenance the home should remain whole with systems operatable for at least 100 years.

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• The home’s 3,372-square-feet living space (4,441-square-feet total building “footprint,” including garages, glass-enclosed walkways, courtyard, and decks) are arranged in a three-building compound using a well-sealed, well-insulated, super-tight building envelope that reduces temperature fluctuations and enhances overall energy efficiency. • The compound perfectly integrates into the site providing protection from northwest winds, enhancing distant ocean and nearby forest views, and optimizing passive solar exposure.

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This arrangement connects the indoors and outdoors with glass-enclosed walkways; a wind-sheltered courtyard, decks, and a garden to expand livable space; and provides differing spatial experiences throughout to encourage exploration. The home is designed in accordance with biophilic design principles to provide direct experiences with nature as well as abundant and excellent use of natural light and natural indigenous landscaping.

29 IMAGE: Biophilic Plan

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• The main-floor living area is designed to accommodate the capabilities of all occupants without any challenging physical barriers, especially for the elderly and disabled. The home design features a ground-level open plan for the living room, dining room, master bedroom suite and bath, and spacious kitchen with solarium, exhibition cooktops, and home management system. • A VELUX® custom-designed ridge skylight will extend over the kitchen and through to the master bedroom suite to provide exceptional natural day lighting. Two VELUX VSE electronic-venting glass skylights are featured within the otherwise fixed array. A third VELUX VSE occupies the master bath.


32 IMAGE: Lindal Plan

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• The solarium design will be fabricated by Lindal SunRooms/Cedar Homes and will optimize the passive solar heating of the home. The solarium is on the south side of the home and will provide abundant day lighting to the kitchen to complement the custom VELUX ridge skylight. The solarium is yet another intimate sitting room from which to enjoy distant Pacific Ocean views. • VELUX VSE skylights will be incorporated into other areas of the home to provide natural daylighting and fresh air ventilation. A VELUX Sun Tunnel™ will provide natural daylighting in the underground wine cellar.

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• The spacious open living room will provide an intimate setting for enjoying the rear-projection performance home theatre and the large RSF Delta Wood Burning fireplace. The window-enhanced living room opens to the dining room with its west facing wall of Pella® windows. A custom-designed see-through wall cabinet will separate the dining room from the spacious kitchen. The open ceiling throughout the home’s living areas is wood. • Earth Weave’s Broadloom Bio-Floor® 100 percent wool carpeting will cover the living room floor. The dining room floor will be Kahris hardwood. The kitchen, pathway, and solarium floor will be Bedrosians natural slate.

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• The second building in the compound is designed to accommodate a large state-of-the-art Optimum Performance Home Theatre™ with integrated rear-screen projection room and a home office. This is an important component of the home as, in addition to publishing Ultimate Home Design, I also publish Widescreen Review®, a premiere home theatre magazine. The theatre is a no-compromise performance theatre designed as a professional reference/equipment and movie review room with adjacent home office quarters from which to manage my publishing companies, and the new Ultimate Home Design company design/build services.

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• As with the mechanical infrastructure and overall structural aspects of the home, the design of the dedicated Optimum Performance Home Theatre and rear-projection room utilizes several leading-edge building technologies to create the most energy-efficient and acoustically perfect environment possible to optimize both sound and picture performance in a dedicated room with an all-black interior décor.

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• The third building will include a two-car and boat garage, workshop, main-level guest bathroom, and laundry room. The second level of this building will have two guest bedrooms, a bathroom with a VELUX VSE skylight, and a dedicated library/home theatre/surround music room distinguished by a high-tower feature with fixed pyramid skylight and G Squared architectural ceiling fan and integral halogen light. To insure universal access to this floor, the design provides for an Otis® Gen2 residential elevator.

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• As with the solarium, the design of the vestibule entrance and walkways that connect the three buildings will be fabricated by Lindal SunRooms/Cedar Homes to optimize the passive solar heating of the home. These areas are enclosed with insulated- and solar gain-reduced-tempered glass. The main entrance vestibule will serve as an oversized mudroom, as will the two-car garage with its ramp entrance to the vestibule walkway.

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• The driveway, area around the garage, guest parking, and entrance to the home––as well as all paths around the home––are designed in accordance with The Sea Ranch guidelines governing exterior hard-surfaced paths. All such surfaces are pervious to virtually eliminate water runoff. Rehbein Environmental Solutions’ Netpave 50, manufactured from 100 percent recycled polyethylene, provides an attractive, easy-to-use, durable solution for permeable parking and access routes. The brown gravel surface is ADA-compliant, while allowing ground water to nourish the property’s trees and plants.

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• A pond is to be constructed and sealed with Seepage Control’s vegetable oil polymer and landscaped with native wetland plants and bulbs. The pond water will recirculate for water quality, with water drawn through the bottom gravel substrate and underdrain filter. Makeup water is to be pumped up to the pond from water harvested from the foundation drains, and surface recharge through Smart Drain horizontal drains. The pond will act as a “flywheel” on excess runoff. Water collected from the combination foundation and curtain drains can be pumped to the pond, if there is capacity, and this is expected to be available year-round. Otherwise, excess water will be discharged to a line of frontage StormTech® infiltration chambers before being returned to the natural watershed.

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• The SIP-constructed roofs will be covered on the exterior with Evergreen Slate Company Welsh Black slate. The material for the all-copper rain gutters will be supplied by Revere Copper Products with gutters and drains fabricated by CopperCraft®. A Gutter Helmet® gutter protection system will be installed on all of the full-size copper rain gutters, and uses the simple physical law of surface tension, which forces water around the Gutter Helmet nose and into the gutter, while debris falls to the ground. Roof rainwater runoff will be harvested and directed into a cistern placed beneath the guest parking area after passing through sorbent filters to remove any sediment and impurities. The stored clear rainwater will be used for the hot tub, outdoor shower, and irrigation.

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• The Optimum Performance Home will be plumbed for gray water, bringing waste lines from the laundry, sinks, showers, and baths to the building perimeter in parallel with the waste line from the toilets and kitchen. Once inside the building foundation, the two waste lines can be tied together and directed into the septic tank. Should gray water be needed for additional landscape irrigation, such as during a severe drought, it will be accessible.

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Mechanical Infrastructure • The Optimum Performance Home is designed to cut its energy use with efficiency, and then meet the remaining needs with renewable energy sources. Except for the propane needed for the two cooktops and outdoor grill, and backup emergency generator, the home will be a “Zero-Energy Home” (ZEH) cost operation based on the Solar Buildings Program of the U.S. Department of Energy.

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• A Day4 Energy 8.7 kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) solar panel system will be operated and managed by a GridPoint® Connect™ Series hub with Internet net metering monitoring capability and battery backup in the event of a power grid failure and no solar energy generation. • A dual PacWind® Seahawk wind turbine will also be tied to the GridPoint hub and produce an additional 1 to 2 kilowatts of electricity, depending on wind factors. • A Kohler® propane generator will provide emergency back-up power.

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• Solar hot water preheating will be provided by TrendSetter® Industries. The company’s evacuated solar tube collectors will capture the sun’s rays. A ground-coupled heat pump will be system-integrated to maintain the domestic hot water temperature for the main house and laundry. A 200-gallon TS-200 TrendSetter Solar Thermal Storage Tank will supply preheated water. • A Microtherm Seisco® on-demand electric tankless water heater will supplement the TrendSetter system.

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53 IMAGE: Seisco

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• Geothermal energy will be harnessed with a ground-coupled vertical closed-loop WaterFurnace® system installed under the guest parking area. This system will circulate water from the earth to extended range water source heat pumps. A WaterFurnace Envision™ Series water-to-water heat pump will be used for the whole-home zoned Uponor® radiant floor heating system, as well as an Envision water-to-air heat pump for air conditioning in the Optimum Performance Home Theatre and rear-projection room. Spunstrand® underslab low-velocity insulated ducts will provide ultra air flow quietness.

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56 IMAGE: Spunstrand

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• Uponor AQUAPEX® PEX radiant floor heating, AQUAPEX PEX plumbing, and AQUAPEX PEX fire sprinkler systems will be installed throughout the compound. An Aquacore® Whole Home Ultra Filtration System and a Sylvan Source M-600 Ultra-Clean Water System will be integrated into the plumbing system. The Aquacore system produces an uninterrupted stream of bottled-quality drinking water to every tap in the home. The Sylvan Source unit will further purify the ultrafiltered water and serve as the ultrapure water source for ice makers, refrigerators, and kitchen faucets.

58 IMAGE: Aquacore

59 IMAGE: Sylvan Source

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• The plumbing system design was orchestrated by the California Energy Commission. The design conserves water to the extent that from any location in the home, no more than a cup of water will be wasted to deliver hot water to any bath, shower, utility sink, or kitchen faucet. • A whole-home Broan® SmartSense® Ventilation System equipped with ENERGY STAR-qualified Ultra Silent Series QTXE fans and spot-specific QTXE Ultra Silent Sensing fans and fans/lights will be fitted to the bathrooms, laundry room, and garages. The Broan system will perform as an energy recovery ventilation (ERV) system to provide fresh air while exhausting stale air and filtering dust and indoor air pollutants.

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• Propane gas will be used as the source for three gas-operated cooking appliances: an ENERGY STAR-qualified KitchenAid® Architect Series® dual-fuel 36-inch wide range, a KitchenAid Architect Series 36-inch wide outdoor grill, and a Wolf Range Company professional 36-inch wide Japanese Teppan-Yaki-style cooktop for exhibition cooking. A custom designed ABBAKA stainless hood vent stack will be integrated. • Kohler Ecoefficient™ bath, shower, kitchen, and utility fixtures will be used throughout. • The courtyard will feature a Dimension One Spas® Chairman II spa and a Finnleo® Custom-Cut Finnish Sauna featured with a Kohler BodySpa tower shower.

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Fire Risk Mitigation • While every aspect of the construction of the Optimum Performance Home is designed to optimize energy-efficiency, the materials selected will also help to mitigate fire risk. This is desirable because the home is located in a Wildland-Urban Interface and Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone Thus, the home will be built with non-combustible and impact-resistant exterior walls and interiors.

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• The Amvic® ICF walls will provide a solid flat wall of concrete sandwiched between two layers of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam. The minimum thickness of the ICF walls is 9 inches. The ICF exterior will consist of 7/16-inch-thick MaxiTile® cedar-grain fiber-cement MaxiPanels® and MaxiTrim® to create a board and batt motif. The main residence, home office, boat garage, and second story guest living quarters will use MaxiPanel as the exterior and interior cladding for the IHSN ThermaSAVE® SIPs that form the 8-3/8-inch-thick walls using EPS foam as structural insulation.

64 IMAGE: Amvic®

65 IMAGE: Thermasave

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• The glass in exterior openings will be tempered and either dual- or triple-glazed and resistant to transmission of radiant heat. Pella insulating-air-gap windows will be installed throughout. Both the Pella and VELUX VSE skylights feature four-sided aluminum inserts and exterior aluminum cladding with an EnduraClad® Plus and Seacoast Exterior Paint Finish to ensure superior weatherability.

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• Pella exterior doors, Holzkraft® custom stain-grade wood doors, and Artistic® 90-minute fire-rated doors with glass inserts will be used throughout. • IAC Noise-Lock 300-pound steel door acoustical assemblies will be used for the Optimum Performance Home Theatre. • The garage and barn doors will be crafted by Carriage House Door Company and overlaid with the same MaxiPanel fiber-cement panels used on the home’s exterior.

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• Interior walls will be constructed with Nordic Structures’ light-gauge steel framing and Bonded Logic® UltraTouch® cotton fiber insulation. • The Optimum Performance Home Theatre and rear-projection room walls will be 2-feet-13/16 inches thick and constructed with Amvic ICFs and Owens Corning® QuietZone® Acoustical Wall Framing, and insulated with Latitude™ natural wool. Interior surfaces will be comprised of Quiet Solution® QuietRock 530 and USG Sheetrock Firecode Type C Core gypsum panels. • The steel-framed stud walls enclosing the Otis Gen2 elevator shaft and the laundry room will be surfaced with an Acoustiblok® soundproofing assembly.

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• Natures Acoustics’ Whisper Wool® will be the underlay for the Kahris hardwood and Bedrosians slate flooring in the home and the wine cellar’s Natural Cork® floor. • Henkel’s OSI GreenSeries™ Flame Smoke and Draft Stop Sealant will be applied throughout construction, as well as other GreenSeries adhesives and caulks. • Ashland® ISOSET® adhesive will be used to glue the MaxiPanels to the EPS foam panels as part of the IHSN ThermaSAVE SIPs. • No-Burn® fire retardants and reactants will be applied during construction to render combustible materials incapable of burning, as well as inhibiting the growth of toxic black mold.

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• Interior surfaces will be faced with hardwood veneers, American Clay Earth Plaster, AFM Safecoats and YOLO Colorhouse finishes. • AgriStain’s Soycrete for fiber cement siding will mirror exterior wood stain finishes. • The ceilings in the main residence, guest bedrooms, library/home theatre/surround music room, home office, and other selected areas will be surfaced with Armstrong WoodWorks® Linear planks with a classic open reveal. • Rocky Mountain Hardware will be used throughout the Optimum Performance Home. • EarthSource Forest Products FSC-certified Ipé decking will be used to construct the decks.

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• The underground wine cellar’s ICF walls will be finished with Eldorado Stone® Veneto Fieldledge architectural stone veneer, pierced with solid oak highlights. Wine Master Cellars VintageView® wine racks will be featured. • A custom-designed UltraGlas® architectural counter will be integrated into the kitchen island and serve as the eating surface for the counter space below the Wolf Teppan-Yaki-style griddle. • Silestone® Leather™ food preparation countertops will be used throughout the Optimum Performance Home. • The master bath walk-in shower will be surfaced with Moving Color™ Northern Lights glass tile highlights and UltraGlas wall surfaces.

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• There will be five Dimplex® built-in electric fireplaces featured throughout the home. They feature the patented OptiFlame® image and built-in 33-inch wide Purifire™ Firebox. • A built-in Travis Industries’ Lopi® Wilmington propane fireplace will be featured in the master bedroom suite on the wall at the end of the Kohler Escale® BubbleMassage Bath. • A Rais & Wittus Firebird outdoor fireplace/grille will be featured in the courtyard. • Closets throughout the Optimum Performance Home will feature Cope Closet Concepts ventilated hardwood shelving and cabinetry.

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• A custom-built 36-inch-wide interior frame StiraMatic electronic operated wooden folding stairs will be fitted to the home office ceiling to provide access to the equipment and storage loft space. • The library will feature an Alaco Rolling Ladder to access taller shelves of the built-in natural wood bookcases. • A NuTone® central vacuum system will be featured in the home for healthy interior air quality. • A HydroPoint WeatherTRAK® ETplus™ Smart Irrigation weather-based management system will be installed to eliminate over-watering and reduce runoff. • A WeatherHawk® 500 home automation weather station will be installed and integrated into the smart home electronics. • Three PEARL® Protected Permanent Escape and Rescue Ladders will be installed at selected Pella window locations in the second-story living quarters.

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• The lighting design for the Optimum Performance Home was created by a select group of graduate students from the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York. • The lighting design addresses sustainability with the use of LEDs and natural materials, universal design incorporating wide toggle switch design in accessible locations and aging-eye considerations, ENERGY STAR fixtures and controls such as dimmers, motion, and occupancy sensors, and California Title 24 high efficacy using compact florescent lamps (CFLs). • An array of lighting fixture manufacturers are featured with Leviton® Visia RF™, Acenti, and Decora® toggle switch designs, and Monster® IlluminEssence™ “One-Touch” lighting system products.

75 IMAGE: Lighting Design 1

76 IMAGE: Lighting Design 2

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Conclusion • The Optimum Performance Home represents a true experiment in holistic home design with regard to its occupants being able to age-in-place and to be assured that their home is designed and constructed to have the least impact on the natural environment and to not deplete precious earth resources. • Custom residential architects can play a leading role in educating their clients to understand the benefits of building environmentally responsible homes whose build quality and operational systems will endure far beyond that of homes conventionally built. • Custom residential architects who practice the essential techniques that comprise the “Optimum Performance Home” concept will have a marketing advantage, which will in turn recognize them for setting design industry trends, capturing media attention with their work, and calling attention to innovative high quality products that enable environmentally enhanced lifespan living.

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Conclusion • The Optimum Performance Home project is being financed through a new construction loan from New Resource Bank. The San Francisco-based New Resource Bank is the nation’s first “green” commercial bank. Its chosen focus is to serve entrepreneurial community businesses and to help finance sustainable resources by funding “green” businesses and projects. The bank has specialized knowledge and networks to provide differentiated solutions to “green” and sustainable businesses and to help community businesses access options to improve their resource efficiency and sustainability. The bank’s clients include businesses developing clean technologies, entrepreneurs specializing in ecologically-friendly industries, and consumers concerned about the environment.

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