Green Architecture: Designing with the Environment in Mind
We are eager to work with clients who wish to address energy conservation and explore the use of renewable energy technologies. Designing sustainably adds value to your home, creates a healthier indoor environment, lowers operating and maintenance costs, and minimizes the impact on the earth. Building or renovating a house is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address energy-efficiency in a comprehensive and cost-effective way. Whether your goals for reducing energy consumption are radical or modest, we will guide you to the most appropriate choices for your home.
Strategies we consider for our projects often include:
Typically, improvements to the building envelope will have the largest impact in reducing the consumption of fuel and electricity for heating and cooling per dollar spent if detailed and installed well.
Design for Healthy Indoor Air
As we make houses tighter and more energy-efficient, it becomes even more important to pay attention to indoor air-quality, providing adequate ventilation, while minimizing the use of building materials that release toxic compounds into the home environment.
Install high-efficiency and appropriately-sized heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment
Investments in the building envelope can allow a reduction in the size, complexity and cost of HVAC equipment needed. For example, ductless, “mini-split” heat pump units are now available for a variety of configurations that can provide heating and cooling at very high efficiencies. At the same time though, tighter buildings require controlled mechanically-driven ventilation, which can be efficiently provided by installing a heat-recovery ventilation (HRV) unit.
LED technology in particular has made great advances and promises great efficiencies in an increasingly wide range of bulb types, intensities, and colors.
Consider the environmental “footprint” of building materials and the flow of household recyclables
We seek to minimize construction waste and specify building materials that are local, recycled, rapidly-renewable, or otherwise efficiently obtained and sustainably produced wherever possible. Our designs can also help facilitate household recycling practices.
Install systems to utilize renewable energy sources where feasible
If site conditions, budget and program allow, installing solar photovoltaic arrays and/or solar thermal panels to provide electricity and hot water should be considered. Combined with efforts to tighten the building envelope, the installation of these systems can result in a house that approaches “net zero energy” status – meaning the house generates more energy than it consumes.