This classic American home is the end result of smart planning, high performance materials, and passive design techniques. Designed on a $100,000 dollar budget by the Michigan firm of Dominick Tringali Architects, the project is set to be a prototype for the next generation of Habitat for Humanity homes. Lets take a closer look…
One surefire way to affordable green housing is smart construction details. The entire home is built to standard sizes (the way materials are bought off the shelves), allowing for quick assembly, consistent building figures, and minimal waste. For example, the roof pitch is designed to standard plywood dimensions, and the wall studs are stacked at 24" for maximum insulation. Furthermore, walls and ceilings are assembled off site with computer aided details to avoid any wasted drywall.
Included in the budget are Energy Star windows, exterior doors, appliances and fixtures, while a high efficiency furnace and tankless water heater will all surely help to keep utility bills low. High performance materials are great and definitely help, but the savings really start to add up through this home's simple design gestures.
By implementing a few basic passive design principles, the inhabitants also will enjoy a higher quality of life with healthier living spaces and lower utility bills. The wrap around porch and extended roof line shade the first floor living room, while also providing a fantastic haven for the mild weather months. With minimal windows on north-facing facades and canopies over south-facing windows, the house is shielded from unwanted heat loss and gain.
Each bedroom and living room is fitted with at least two windows, allowing for a natural cross ventilation and day lighting. By correctly siting the home, it will take advantage of existing vegetation that will protect it from the harsh summer heat and winter winds. While sustainable design is noble for so many reasons, in this case it surpasses the ethical arguments and belongs in the social justice category, because one day soon a needy family will thrive happily in this house.
This classic home is a one-of-a-kind blend of sustainability, affordability, and social justice. Reaching back to an era of architectural elegance, the style represents a return to traditional design, one in which their is a niche market for. It's always great to see the once seemingly impossible goal of affordable, single-family LEED Platinum be tackled with such a reverence for iconic American building details.