Gallery: Low-Maintenance, Low-Energy Modern House Makes the Most of a P...

This modern house in Point Loma, San Diego is all about low-maintenance living. A sturdy steel frame bears all the load, while a durable panel facade system will retain its original luster for many years to come. Thanks to its energy-efficient and passive solar design, this 3 bedroom home on an infill lot doesn't need much energy. A rooftop solar system that provides most of the home's energy, so it is almost net zero. The entire compound was designed by Macy Architecture to have as small an impact as possible and they also included fruit trees, native landscaping, rainwater harvesting and eco-friendly materials.

When designing the house, the owner’s priority was low maintenance and durability. The two-story house is constructed with an exposed steel seismic-resisting frame and integrally colored concrete masonry. The steel frame is filled in with a pre-finished panel façade system that consists of real wood veneer over a bakelite core. With a compact footprint (48’ L x 40’ W x 23’ H), the simple form minimizes the surface area, maximizes thermal performance, and reduces the lengths of the plumbing and electrical runs. Durable materials inside, like glass, tile stone and steel, minimize the need for maintenance or repair, and all finishes are low-VOC.

A cool roof membrane system reduces solar heat gain, while high R-value walls and roof improve the thermal performance of the home. Passive solar design encourages sunlight to heat the home during the winter and horizontal sun shades shield the glass from summer heat gain. A central double-height atrium encourages air to flow up and out the house to passively cool the rooms. A high-efficiency, natural gas water heater supplies domestic hot water and heating for the in-floor hydronic radiant system. To top it off a rooftop photovoltaic system supplies the home with 95% of the home’s anticipated electrical needs.

Outside, a cluster of fruit trees and a kitchen garden are available for the owner’s use, while the rest of the landscaping consists largely of drought-tolerant and native plant varieties. Rainwater is collected from the roof and the pervious paving around the house and stored in two 1,700 gallon underground cisterns to irrigate the landscape and garden. Low flow shower heads and fixtures reduce water usage even further. This sustainable steel home was awarded 2009 Home of the Year by San Diego Home & Garden Magazine.

+ Macy Architecture

Images ©Scot Conti

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