This 3,600 square feet home in Leon Springs, Texas is LEED Platinum-certified and features several affordable green building strategies that contribute to its net-zero water use. The homeowners asked architect Karla Greer (of Lake Flato Architects of San Antonio, Texas) for a sustainable home that celebrated nature and provided space for entertaining and energy-efficient living.
Sustainable features include a 17,000-gallon rainwater catchment system. Water is triple-filtered to meet 100 percent of potable water needs, which is heated by a ground-source heat pump. Water use is kept to a minimum through the use of WaterSense-certified fixtures.
Concrete flooring is utilized in some areas of the home as a thermal mass to retain heat and night and release it throughout the day. The two-car carport roof sports a 12-kW Sharp solar photovoltaic system.
The build site had a slight slope that provided for elegant views along with an ideal solar orientation that allows for cross-ventilation and a minimal summer heat gain. High-efficiency windows (with an average U-value of 0.31) help to facilitate daylighting and shading is provided by trees and overhangs. A sleeping porch just off the master bedroom is screened on three sides as an extension of the bedroom and connects it to the outdoors.
The home was built with materials that were regionally sourced or contained high levels of recycled content, including the locally-harvested end-grain mesquite block flooring that was finished with low-VOC water-based sealant, gabion basket retaining walls, and countertops and walls made from Leuders limestone. Nearly 90 percent of construction waste was diverted from the landfill.