A "green" home with a ceramic studio

This couple chose me to design their home because they wanted to build "green." That means building in a way that causes less harm to our environement. They were concerned about energy efficiency, and using safe materials for their home. They also wanted their home to be beautiful.

Both clients were artistic, she worked with ceramics and glass, he was involved in music. Both had studied the technical aspects of building a green home. They had taken classes at the Southface Institute in Atlanta. One of their instructors used to build many of the homes I have designed and he recommended me to them.

The location for the home was beautiful, on a hill overlooking a small private lake. The hill is covered with trees, and slopes down to the south. We spent a lot of time on the property discussing the possibilities.

They loved my very first design. It included a ceramic studio, a passive solar glass room, and a master suite with a beautiful view. I placed the master suite on the private side of the home, so this area could be more open to the view. The solar glass room was designed to absorb the sun's heat in the winter, and the force of hot air rising would carry the warmth throughout the home. An insulated concrete wall on the north side, and the slab floor downstairs will absorb the warmth during the day, radiating it into the house at night when the sun goes down.

The first sketch illustrates the north side of the home. An earth berm mounded up against the ceramic studio to keep it more comfortable in winter and summer. Glass up high provides gentle light for the studio, reflecting off the ceiling inside. A carport separates the studio from the house.

The second sketch is of the south side of the home. The right section of glass is for the master suite. The middle section is the solar glass area, on both levels. The left hand section has a porch on both levels. The lower level porch has been enclosed to make a plant green house.

During the design of this home, the couple found out they are going to have a baby. I was able to make some changes to the plan to acommodate a baby nursery next to the master suite. They also had a solar home expert evaluate this design, and he remarked that we had already incorporated almost everything he recommends.

Later, after the plans were completed they had the design evaluated by Southface Institute, an organization of experts on energy efficient and solar homes. After this evaluation, I received this email:

"Hi, Richard: I hope the new year has been good to you so far. We attended the design review at Southface this week and were reminded of what an outstanding job you've done. Our reviewer was really impressed. Now we need to provide some specific information in order for them to do a load calculation and duct design. They need us to complete the attached specification form. Some of the information is yet to be determined, but we thought you would know the insulation and window information better than we do at this point. Would you mind looking at the form and providing the known or supposed information?

Thanks very much,

How to Contact Richard C. MacCrea
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