What yoga does for the mind and soul, this thoughtfully-designed yoga studio does for its lucky green-minded inhabitants. Situated outside Washington DC in Clark County, Virginia, and designed by Carter + Burton Architecture, the small scale structure serves as a yoga studio and guest house for Annie and Paul Mahon’s main house 100 feet away. Despite its compact 600 square foot footprint, the studio packs in the best of the best of green technologies, from SIP-based construction to geothermal, passive solar, locally-sourced materials, green roof, and LED lighting. The clients’ and designers’ commitment to sustainability earned the project a LEED Gold certification when it was completed in 2007.

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The yoga studio’s most sophisticated green system is their integrated geothermal heating system, which provides efficient space heating and cooling and all of the studio’s hot water needs. The system consists of a ground-coupled heat transfer loop (geoexchanger) connected to a liquid-to-liquid heat pump and a liquid-to-air heat pump. The loop employs vertical and horizontal ground tubing runs, and is sized to heat and cool both the studio and the main mouse.

Atop the structure sits a roof masterfully-engineered green by Building Logics. It features, indigenous trees, and succulents, and saves 30-40% on energy bills while retaining 70% of rain water to help with cooling and storm water management.

And inside the studio, an open plan features yoga space, in-floor bunks to sleep up to nine, bathroom, low-e custom wood windows, and a raised interior balcony area. All materials are as green as they get, from no VOC carpets and paints and radiant terrazzo to pollution abatement cement and reclaimed local wood. The clients were also very committed to using local craftspeople to support local economies. As for lighting, thanks to efficient windows and louvers, sunlight is well-regulated throughout the year, and complemented by LED track lighting.

From the architects: “The limited size of the existing house created a need for more space for friends and family and the privacy needed to meditate and enjoy yoga in this natural setting. The charge to build a private yoga studio afforded the opportunity to experiment with construction in a different expression from the main house while being sympathetic, not sentimental.”

+ Carter Burton Architecture