Designed for use in between May and October, the North Beach Residence on Orcas Island in Washington is all about easy summertime living. The home, designed by Heliotrope Architects features a green roof on top of the low and long structure and was built to minimize impact on the site. Low maintenance materials like steel, metal and glass keep extra work to a minimum and solar hot water and photovoltaics provide on-site energy for the home. And since the residence is only open for half of the year, the PV system generates enough power throughout the seasons to totally cancel out the summertime's energy usage.
Oriented perpendicular to the beach fronting the Strait of Georgia, the summer home is set back a bit from the water and placed behind a row of fir trees. Long and rectangular, the home is afforded views of both the water and a meadow, as well as a pond in the opposite direction. The three bedroom, 2,070 sq ft house features two bedrooms on one side with the master bedroom on the opposite side, and an open living/dining/kitchen space in the middle. No trees were removed for construction and a mat-slab was poured right over the grass in order to eliminate excavation of the site.
Steel and glass construction minimize the visible structure and afford the inhabitants better views, while the metal-clad walls provide a bold form with zero maintenance. On top of the residence is a green roof planted with native grasses to soak up rainwater, which is then collected and stored in two 5,000 gallon catchment tanks and used for landscape irrigation. A 90-tube solar hot system installed on the roof provides domestic hot water, while a 3 kW PV system generates electricity. Over the entire year, the PV system generates enough power to totally offset all of the energy used during the summer months, making this home net zero. The North Beach Residence received a 2011 AIA Honor Award for its smart and sustainable design.
Images ©Sean Airhart and Ben Benschneider