Dominick R. Pilla Associates (DRPILLA) recently completed the first LEED for Homes Gold certified home in Sag Harbor, NY. DRPILLA combined modern architectural design with environmental building strategies to produce this high-performance 8,000 square foot bay front residence. Special consideration was given to site sustainability, water efficiency and energy-efficient construction. The most notable design features that characterize this private residence as a high-performance home include a 10-KW photovoltaic rooftop system, a drought-tolerant, indigenous plant landscape design, an extremely efficient geothermal mechanical/electrical system, a solar thermal system for domestic hot water and the swimming pool, and a blend of eco-friendly design strategies ranging from using reclaimed cypress siding to separating, recycling and diverting up to 75% of demolition and construction debris from the landfill.
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The building’s modern design includes a flat roof, which provides ample area for the placement of the photovoltaic roof panels. The flat roof design also allows the equipment to be hidden from view at ground level. All domestic hot water is heated through a solar thermal system. Additionally, the pool is heated completely by the solar heating system. Pool water is pumped through a filter and then through solar collectors, where it is heated before it is returned to the pool.
It was essential to the owner that every decision made was environmentally sound. Most important was the choice of windows and window insulation, since approximately one-quarter of heat gains and losses occur through windows. The window-laden rear façade is comprised of Argon filled double-pane windows with a low-e coating which limits excessive solar heat gain, effectively lowering interior heating and cooling costs.
DRPILLA worked with the client to identify local designers and craftspeople who shared their commitment to sustainability. The entire team collaborated on the selection of sustainable materials and high performance systems. Beyond recycled materials, the design team worked with reused and reclaimed products. The best example was the use of wood from two failing cherry trees on the property. Interior Designer Richard Mervis collaborated with local wood-workers to use the trees to make stair treads, tables, the powder room vanity top, statues and benches.
The combined building systems of this private Residence create a 44% more efficient building than the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) standards for a conventional home of the same size and demands. This helped earn the original and truly eco-friendly property its LEED Gold rating.