Passive solar design—Reduces heating and cooling loads by 10% to 15% through proper solar orientation, window placement, and interior mass.
High-performance building envelope—Reduces heating loads an additional 40% to 50% through higher insulation values, high-efficiency windows, using a continuous vapor barrier, and sealing penetrations.
Masonry heater for space heating—Uses local biomass as fuel.
PV system and solar thermal system—Use a free, renewable energy source (sunshine) to provide electricity for the house and space and water heating. Can be sized smaller as a result of efficient building design and construction. Heater and solar hydronic systems are locally made, reducing their embodied energy.
Heat recovery ventilation system—Brings in fresh air to the home and controls indoor humidity while minimizing heat lost to indoor/outdoor air exchanges.
Interior choices: cabinets, subfloors, paints, and finishes—Formaldehyde-free sheathing, and low-VOC paints and finishes don’t compromise indoor air quality.
Sustainably harvested wood—Supports local milling operations and foresters, and healthier ecosystems.
Acid-etched concrete—High embodied energy of concrete is offset by its durability and low maintenance requirements, plus its improvement of the home’s thermal performance.
Steel roof—More durable and better value than asphalt shingles; recyclable at end of life span.