Has the Greenest House of All Been Built?
While there are various materials you can use to make your house environmentally friendly, a vigorous process needs to be completed in order to have a truly green home licensed by the Living Building Challenge. The home must identify as having net-zero energy and water, must pass 20 imperatives in seven performance areas - place, water, energy, health and happiness, materials, equity, and beauty and maintain this criteria for more than a year.
The reason the project must be operational for more than a year is because the Living Building Challenge certification requires actual performance data rather than modelled or anticipated performances.
Since it is a strenuous process, the Living Building Challenge is one of the toughest building standards in the world and few projects ever get accreditation. Only 11 projects have received Living Building status in the world and this most recent residence designed by Tozer Design is the first residential project to have received the certification.
The one-story residence is made out of locally sourced materials that were screened for toxic chemicals prior to construction and all of the wood was reclaimed or Forest Stewardship Council certified.
The house also features 65 solar panels that generate energy for the house and are said to have produced more electricity than the residents use each year. There is enoguh capacity to charge two electric cars, and has a 14.95 kW grid-tied array.
Unlike most houses, this residence uses precipitation as their water source. This is challenging for the home given the location doesn't offer predictable weather. While the local average annual precipitation is 12 inches, some years provide less than 7 inches. To ensure that there isn't a water deficit, they have built a 30,000 gallon cistern underneath the garage.
Aesthetically the residence has a careful balance of natural materials, both on the interior and exterior. As seen above, the house has an open dining room that allows for light transfer and fresh air.