• The all electric house, scored 57% higher than California's Title 24 energy code in the design phase.

  • The hotwater is solar with a back up tankless water heater.

  • Actual energy use for the new home and a separate office (full-time use by 2-3 people, currently on the same meter) together is significantly better:

    • Total 2011 energy usage is 11% lower than predicted even with the unaccounted for load from the office.

    • Together, they use 10.89kBTUs/sq. ft./yr. site energy, currently exceeding the goals of the 2030 Challenge for 2015.

    • They also scored 9.9 out of 10 for overall energy efficiency on the D.O.E.’s Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick.

    • The house was HERS tested with a blower door for reduced infiltration and insulation installation quality, and proved 72% tighter than the current ASHRAE goal of .35ACH.

  • Following this data collection, a small, 1.8 (AC) kW photovoltaic system was installed, reducing energy consumption by 90%.

  • Several water saving strategies add up to a over a 70 percent savings of the California average in water usage. Water conservation measures include the following:

    • The toilets are dual flush and faucets are low-flow.

    • The yard is planted with drought tolerant or food producing plants, many of them native.

    • There is only one small, drip irrigation system for a 25 foot bamboo hedge.

    • The house is plumbed for greywater reuse, diverting 15 gallons per day to landscaping.

    • Rainwater is collected in 20 salvaged, oak wine barrels totaling 1200 gallons of storage.

In addition, a great deal of attention was placed on using resource efficient and low toxic materials. 

  • All concrete contains 50% flyash cement and is colored with natural earth pigments and sealed with soy-based binder from Soycrete and water based sealer from AFM.

  • All framing lumber and plywood is FSC certified.

  • All insulation is blown-in cellulose except under the concrete slab.

  • Cabinets are built with FSC certified plywood.

  • All interior doors have wheatboard cores.

  • All walls and ceilings are of unpainted plaster.

  • All the finish wood including trim, counters, upper floors and stairs, fences, gates, wood siding and deck railings is salvaged wood.

  • Wood floors are sealed with a plant resin floor finish from Bioshield.

  • Woodwork and exposed steel beams are finished with a natural linseed oil based coating from Bioshield.

  • The upper floor exterior finish is salvaged car roofs with original car paint intact.

  • The lower floor exterior finish is Poplar bark, from trees grown to make furniture.

  • The awnings are fabricated from junked Dodge Caravan side windows. Once advertised as “America’s best selling minivan”, now a common item in junk yards.

Through these material choices, CO2 emissions were greatly reduced and many potentially carcinogenic, mutagenic, and endocrine disrupting chemicals were not created.  Most importantly, choosing materials there are low toxic, low in embodied energy and salvaged does not in any way compromise the energy performance of the building and contributes to environmental and human health. 

Construction by Wanaselja Construction
Photographs by Kiera Marie Condrey and Leger Wanaselja Architecture