It’s not always easy to build an affordable green home without a glaring compromise or two. But architect Eric Hughes and builder Dan Vos somehow beat the odds.
This compact, 1,267-sq. ft. home does everything right, from its frost-protected shallow foundation to its ICF walls to its SIP roof. But it’s not just the shell that’s well above average. The home is Zero Energy and scored 32.5 points above LEED for homes Platinum certification.
Other key features include high performance windows (U-value of .24), radiant floor heating provided by a high-efficiency boiler (supplementing passive solar). A wood pellet burner provides a renewable backup heating source.
The team also put great effort into managing indoor air quality. Along with no-VOC paints, caulks and adhesives, they installed formaldehyde-free cabinets made by local Amish crafters. Floors are made from FSC-certified bamboo flooring, and the home features a whole-house vacuum system, plus a heat recovery ventilator.
“Its seems to be a new trend with all my clients lately that the want a small house with the best building material for the shell of their home,” notes architect Eric Hughes. “Then they want as much renewable energy as the budget will allow so the can reduce they utility bill as close to net-zero as possible.”
To see this article as it appears in our December 2011 issue with additional photos and the house plan, please visit our Magazine Archives.