High on a hilltop overlooking the Russian River Valley lies the Westside Road Residence, the home of architect Julie Dowling of Dowling Studios. Conceived as an experiment in green living and a laboratory for learning, testing, and teaching sustainable building concepts, the single floor, three bedroom home has achieved LEED Platinum certification for homes. The house features solar passive design, a hybrid prefab/site-built construction, energy-efficient design and eco-friendly materials.
The custom 2,240 sq ft home is located on 22 acres of gently rolling hills near Healdsburg, California and situated on a knoll with a cluster of trees behind it. Oriented to the south, the home takes advantage of solar passive design and its wooden exterior helps it fit in the context of the surrounding environment. The interior layout was conceived to minimize wasted space, and the heart of the home features a large open floor plan living, dining and kitchen space. Four private rooms sit on either side of the open space – three bedrooms, an office, and two bathrooms. Storage and utility areas are efficiently worked into the plan to maximize space.
To achieve LEED Platinum, Dowling Studios employed a number of sustainable strategies to maximize energy efficiency and make use of eco-friendly materials. The home was constructed using a hybrid prefab/site-built strategy that incorporates a panelized framing system into custom, site-built construction. A concrete slab foundation provides thermal mass, and a large overhang on the south helps shade the interior for passive cooling. A tight, high performing insulated envelope helps minimize heat and cooling losses, while energy-efficient appliances, HVAC and LED lighting minimize energy use. The grid-tied solar photovoltaic system on the roof generates power for the home, and a solar hot water heating system provides water for the lap pool.
Images ©Matthew Millman courtesy of Dowling Studios