The house on Ronada, built in 1929, was indeed humble and had not been touched in years. The front of the home and gardens had a quaint cottage feel. The house sat on a large down sloping lot which offered a serene view and had the perfect orientation for solar panels. The goal was to retain the charm of the existing facade while creating an eco-conscious home with a traditional feel.
I redesigned the house to receive as much natural light as possible using skylights, tube lights, and precisely located windows. A 3KW solar PV roof system provides over 100% of the electricity needed. The garage roof design allows for additional solar panels for a future electrical car. The foundations (and the floor slabs) have been poured with fly ash concrete, and include below grade, a 3,500-gallon cistern to collect rain water from the roofs. The cistern is concealed under a TREX deck; the water is then distributed by gravity to the garden.
Inside the house, was installed a hydronic radiant floor coupled on an on demand water heater. The cement floors are stained with a soy based dye; all paints are no or low VOC paints. The walls and ceilings are insulated with cotton batting made from recycled denim. All windows are double paned with low-E glass. I designed and built all the cabinetry from bamboo wood finished with a natural oil/wax. The toilets are dual flush and all appliances are low energy.
I took a rundown 2bd/1ba house, doubled the size and transformed it into a 3bd/2ba green home with a 450 sq feet detached garage. The house offers a traditional architectural aesthetics, conceals many modern ecological features and will go into the future using little natural resources.
As the architect of the project, I won the 2010 Best Sustainable Design Award from the City of Piedmont, CA.