This is the Castaway House, a renovation in Phoenix, Arizona that’s also the first project to be certified under the Phoenix Green Construction Code. The team* behind this Gold-certified project transformed an existing 1,000 square-foot, abandoned house originally built in 1951 into a cutting-edge, energy-efficient abode with 1,970 square feet, four bedrooms, and two bathrooms. Here’s a little more background.
The name Castaway is a reference to the famous movie with Tom Hanks and the quote: “Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” The movie and quote reference the abandoned five-year history of this property, the relentless sun that bakes Arizona, and a goal of the project team to bring sustainable housing to the urban core of Greater Phoenix.
Thus, other than reusing an existing site, the twin aims of this renovation were to conserve water and save energy by employing a multitude of strategies on a budget of $95 per square foot.
To conserve water, Castaway House has two 550-gallon tanks for rainwater collection, a low-volume irrigation system with evapotranspiration control, an Energy Star water heater, and WaterSense finishes including a 1.5 gpm Kohler faucets, 1.5 gpm Delta tub and shower faucets, 1.28 gpf AquaSource toilets, and a Delta kitchen faucet.
To save energy, the team focused on the design, envelope, and lighting. Castaway House has Solatubes in the bathrooms and master closet, Energy Star ceiling fans in the living room and bedrooms, a 15-SEER high-efficiency Carrier unit, and exposed spiral ducts inside the main living space (with insulated ducts in the addition).
The renovation received a significant upgrade in the form of vented wall and roof designs and extended overhangs. East and west windows were filled with Owens Corning Insulpink, while the addition was built with 2×6 wall framing (24” on center) and prefabricated trusses. The wall assembly includes R21 batt insulation, 1/2” OSB, 1.5” R-Tech Insulfoam, furring, and pre-painted white aluminum corrugated siding.
The windows are argon-filled, aluminum frame, dual-pane ones from Milgard, and the roof has an R9 low-E radiant barrier, furring, and an Owens Corning underlayment, moisture barrier, and Energy Star cool roof shingle. Overall, the result is house that’s supposed to perform about 59% better than energy code.
In addition, Castaway House has concrete floors stained with water-based Enviro-Stains, low-VOC Sherwin Williams Duration Home interior latex paints, Stone Edge recycled-content countertops, GREENGUARD Executive Cabinetry, and recycled-content Modern Dimensions tile by Daltile in the kitchen and bathroom.
*The project team includes the architect/designer The Ranch Mine, owner Cycle Development, builder RC Green Builders, architect of record Blooming Rock Development, and landscape designer Synergy Design Lab.
Credits: The Ranch Mine.