The Confluence House is the primary residence designed by Incorporated Architecture for a young couple in Harlemville, New York. The home has been developed for the award of a LEED rating for residential construction by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). The form and orientation of the house is optimized to enhance heat gain in the winter and keep the house cool in the summer. Cross ventilation moves through the transom windows on either side of the house. Other green aspects of the home include solar panels, environmentally friendly kitchen cabinets, FSC certified windows and doors, bamboo floors, low flow plumbing fixtures, recycled glass tile, low VOC paints and sealants, and soy based insulation. The mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems were also engineered to comply with the LEED rating system and Energy Star for Homes system.
Photos: Courtesy of Incorporated Architecture
A House in the Woods is a certified LEED Silver house designed by William Reue Architecture, located on a densely forested lot at the base of the Shawangunk Mountains, New York. Nestled on 8.5 acres, the 4,800 square foot residence is the result of the studied relationship between two opposing geometries – a long sculptural wall clad in weathering steel and a mass of stratified bluestone that appears to have emerged from the boulder-strewn earth. Locally-sourced materials and strategic siting stitch the house into the natural world while contributing to its sustainability for the modern one.
The design for A House in the Woods was grounded in the owner’s desire to build an artful home that responded to her values of order, beauty, and environmental stewardship. The structure’s uncomplicated geometry is enriched by the boldness of its materials, resulting in a balanced composition that is both sensuous and refined. The house is a personal refuge that takes its design cues from the colors and textures of the natural landscape.
The site boundary is defined by a series of Norway spruces, the singular element guiding visitors to the secluded entrance. The curved Cor-Ten wall is heroic, yet pragmatically justified as it carves a modest entry court that amplifies the sound of the stream running parallel to the house. The wall also operates as a spine that organizes the interior spaces into a series of cinematic portals to the landscape. The character of the minimalist interior is profoundly impacted by the changes of the wooded site from season to season.
The high performance thermal envelope consists of 14 inch thick Structural Insulated Panels and quadruple-pane windows constructed with FSC-certified wood. The house employs a direct-exchange geothermal heating system, energy recovery ventilator (ERV), rainwater harvesting system, and many other sustainable building technologies. With a HERS Index of 44, A House in the Woods is over 55% more energy efficient than a typical new home. The project was certified LEED-Silver in February 2013.
Photos: Steve Freihon
Caruth Boulevard Residence is a modern LEED Gold designed home by owner and architect Tom Reisenbichler, located in Dallas, Texas. When the architect built his 8,300 square foot family dream home, he was determined to prove that being environmentally friendly does not have to rule out luxury. “You can do luxury without being wasteful,” says Tom Reisenbichler, an architect with Perkins+Will who primarily designs hospitals and medical buildings. There is no shortage of either eco-friendly strategies in this three-story home, from photovoltaic solar panels on the roof to flooring made from recycled television tubes and countertops of recycled mirror glass, materials were chosen carefully; ninety percent of them are recycled or reclaimed.
In our world where many associate sustainable (green) design with a bohemian lifestyle, while others consider luxury wasteful, this house is designed to prove they are not exclusive. Integrated tightly into the large iconic trees on the site, this house uses traditional home proportions to blend with the neighborhood. The horizontal lines of the design tie the home to the land, while the roof and balcony reach into the trees making them integral to the home.
The design concepts emphasize the entertaining lifestyle of the owner / architect, with open plans that integrate indoor and outdoor spaces. The first level uses a central core (wooden box) as the main organizing element around which public spaces flow. This LEED Gold designed home features many sustainable strategies, from photovoltaic solar panels and recycled materials to native plants that are drought tolerant, every detail of sustainability is considered.
The couple, who entertain frequently and have welcomed nearly 3,000 guests since they moved into the University Park house last January, made sure that the residence works for gatherings both large and intimate. With its open concept, expansive rooms and walls of glass that slide open to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces, the first floor is a hostess’ dream.
What really wows guests, Reisenbichler says, is when they flip up the wood panel on the living room wall to create a serving bar from the wine room off the kitchen. Opposite the bar is another showstopper: an 8-foot-long gas fireplace that is positioned halfway up a stone wall. “It appeals to so many people, even if they’re not a modernist,” Reisenbichler says.
The spare design and hard lines of the architecture are softened by visual textures, richly colored rugs and warm wood walls, including teak that was salvaged from a monastery in Thailand.
“Most of the home’s finishes are pretty neutral,” Reisenbichler says. “It’s the art and furnishings that bring life to the space.” The art, including oversize sculptural pieces, canvases and African jewelry, is a collection of memories from the family’s travels juxtaposed with works from North Texas artists.
The six-bedroom, 10-bath house, includes mother-in-law quarters on the second floor. Rooms are full of sleek leather furniture, chrome accents, animal hides and graphic prints.
Photos: Bret Janak
The Hollywood Hybrid home has been designed by Marmol Radziner, located in the Hollywood Hills above Runyon Canyon, California. Set into a sharply down-sloping site, the home required substantial foundation work, including the construction of a large retaining wall. The resulting home combines prefab with site built construction. The ground floor is comprised of two large rooms built into the foundation while the two stories above are entirely prefab.
A long pool runs parallel to the house, overlooking Runyon Canyon. Two levels of decks and large sliding glass doors make the views accessible from every level of the home. The residence is targeted for LEED gold certification.
Responsible materials are used throughout, from the insulated glass to the denim jean insulation. Solar panels generate electricity and can feed excess power back into the grid. Decks, large sliding glass doors, and well-placed shading devices allow for cooling cross ventilation and seamless indoor-outdoor living.
Photos: Courtesy of Marmol Radziner
The Kerchum Residence is a perfect mix of modern home design and sustainability designed by Natural Balance Home Builders in Vancouver, British Columbia. The home is located on an unsuspecting street in Vancouver’s Dunbar neighborhood, is the first LEED Platinum single-family residence in Western Canada. The home features clean, modern lines that distinguish it from the surrounding craftsman-style homes, yet with a proportion and scale that feels right at home on this quiet West Side street.
Photos: Courtesy of Natural Balance Home Builders
This incredible home designed by Gardner Mohr Architects is situated near Annapolis, Maryland and began with an unremarkable 1980s brick rambler on a spectacular site overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. The clients had two goals: to create views of the Bay from as many rooms as possible, and to build the most “green” house the budget would bear. The project has achieved LEED Gold certification. Dramatic views are featured from every room except the foyer and secondary baths were achieved with an open floor plan, large windows and a 2-story living room over which loft rooms have a view the Bay.
The owner’s sustainability goals were met by using passive as well as active strategies. Passive strategies include ventilation, daylighting and shading controls. Water conservation and harvesting are achieved through low-flow fixture selection, collection and reuse of rainwater, the infiltration of 100% of the storm water on site, and the construction of a “living shoreline” for breeding of aquatic life. Materials were chosen for a minimal impact on the environment.
Geothermal heat pumps provide cooling, radiant floor heating and domestic hot water. A high-performance building envelope consists of an R-55 roof with a white membrane, R-36 vented rain screen walls and triple low-e coated window glass. Energy Star appliances and lighting further help to reduce energy consumption, and a photovoltaic solar power plant provides electricity which can be consumed on site or “sold” back to the grid.
Photos: Cheryl Mohr
This contemporary Montecito, California home has been designed by Maienza-Wilson Interior Design + Architecture, as a custom luxury and sustainable home that is LEED Platinum certified. The home has two floor-to-ceiling glass walls that noiselessly retract, fully opening the southwest corner of the space to the cool ocean breezes and magnificent views. Sustainable features includes radiant floor heating, icynene spray foam for insulation and a 5,000-gallon cistern located underneath the building to store rainwater to irrigate the low-water-demand garden that has been designed to complement the Zen-like feeling of the home. Flat rooftops have been planted with drought-resistant grasses to provide passive cooling. Photovoltaic solar panels are hidden from view on the butterfly roof, providing enough electricity to operate the entire home. The building and spaces have been oriented to take advantage of the natural sunlight so lights do not even have to be turned on during the day. Besides all of the green features, this home also offers spa bathrooms, wine cellar and an outdoor seating area surrounding a Zen-like fire pit.
The state-of-the-art kitchen plays an integral role in the open plan living room and dining area; retractable floor-to-ceiling glass walls extend the living room into the outdoors.
Under the floating staircase in the entryway, oversize recycled plywood “pebble” seats invite guests to sit down and remove their shoes, which reduces the amount of contaminants that are tracked throughout the house.
The pool house, clad in sustainably harvested ipe wood, provides a warm contrast to the luminous pool; floating steps line the edge of the spa.
Urban Green is a modern single family residence that has been designed by SALA Architects in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This LEED for Homes, 2,250 square foot, three bedroom house with detached garage is nestled into a 42-foot by 128-foot infill lot in the Linden Hills neighborhood. It features an eclectic blend of traditional and contemporary elements that weave it into the existing neighborhood fabric while at the same time addressing the client’s desire for a more modern plan and sustainable living.
Passive solar heating and daylighting, natural ventilation due to the narrow building profile and open plan, high-efficiency appliances, high-efficiency dual-stage furnace, dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets, bamboo floors, composite fiber-cement siding, shell durability walk-through, blower door-performance testing.
Photos: Troy Thies
2381 Lucky John Residence was designed by The Jaffa Group in Park City, Utah. From day one owner/architect Scott Jaffa wanted to design an innovative energy conscious home that looked toward integrated design and energy solutions. This LEED-certified 5,300 square foot, four bedroom and four-and-a-half bathroom home is truly a mountain contemporary residence blending modern architectural elements with finishes from the surrounding environment. This home is not only tasteful but more importantly, thoughtfully designed with no amenity or ounce of finish work overlooked.
The flat 1.25-acre lot allows for a private front entry court that creates a sense of arrival while the rear courtyard is perfect for private entertaining. This outdoor entertainment area contains a firepit and enormous yard. The exterior hardscaping and landscaping is also an integral part of the overall design. The great room and kitchen are overwhelmingly comfortable and light, which inspire a true sense of “home” — a place to enjoy quality family time or host thoughtful celebrations, with a window wall that brings the outdoors in.
Not only is this home a completely fresh approach to contemporary architecture in Park City, but also strives to be “green.” It uses maintenance-free exterior finishes and self-sufficient utilities. Two solar panel systems were installed to capitalize on the nearly 360 days of sun that Park City receives annually. The first set of panels provides hot water to heat the floors and provide all of the home’s domestic hot water. The second system is 6-kilowatt photo-voltaic array, which brings in enough electricity to power 300, 100-watt light bulbs everyday.
The home has been thoroughly insulated to assist in regulating the homes temperature against the drastic temperature swings of the mountain climate. Insulation was blown into all interior and exterior walls. One and a half inches of rigid foam insulation was attached to the exterior walls with an additional four inches of rigid foam on the roof. A unique drainage plane behind all exterior materials is used to control exterior moisture. Finally, triple-glazed windows, horizontal roofs and steel sunshades offer further protection for the home.
Photos: Courtesy of The Jaffa Group
This contemporary and sustainable LEED Platinum family show home called ‘Green Cube’ is located in downtown Denver, Colorado. The remodeled home was designed by RE.DZINE, showcasing strong architectural forms, a stunning glass staircase, recyclable 3D wall panels in the loft (from Inhabit®) a wonderful living wall feature dividing living and dining area.
Photos: Jenifer Koskinen- Merritt Design Photo