Solar Sufficient LEED Home in Houston

This self-sufficient home took a 2010 Evergreen Award from Eco-structure in the Greenhouse category and features some impressive, green elements.  Built in Houston for owners Daniel and Adele Hedges, the home – referred to as Virginia Point – is net-zero energy, near net-zero water, and the first home in Houston to receive LEED Platinum certification.

According to a case study in Eco-structure, Virginia Point has 140 Sharp solar panels with a total output of 23.8 kW that help make this home self-sufficient.  When combined with four, two-ton heat pumps and 10, 300 feet deep wells with geothermal loops, it was rated below zero with a HERS of -11.

Perhaps a reference to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike, and others, Virginia Point was built by Dovetail Builders with a battery backup system that keeps things going in the event the electrical grid goes offline.

In addition, a 7,000-gallon rainwater cistern and water treatment system provides potable water for all needs, making the home practically net-zero water (i.e., there’s still a sewer connection fee).  The landscape area is free of turf grass and planted with drought-tolerant plants that require no irrigation system.

Virginia Point was designed by Adams Architects to maximize a corner lot.  With the longer side facing the sun, south-facing panels capture solar energy and north-facing windows admit indirect solar light.  The architect also specified a durable, long-lasting structure of galvanized steel and a skin of galvanized aluminum.

Inside, the 3,500-square-foot home is finished with polish concrete on the first floor, bamboo on the second floor, operable windows to allow natural cross-ventilation, bamboo cabinets, recycled paper countertops, spray foam insulation, and low-VOC paints and finishes.

[+] More of the Virginia Point Case Study on Eco-structure.

Photography: Joe Aker; music: Zero Project.


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