When the Baboolals looked around their North Carolina community, they saw what many people see in their local areas: cookie-cutter houses that consume excess energy. A desire to break free from this mold is how their journey to create a net-zero house began.

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An L-shaped home with a facade of light and dark wood. A raised deck with glass walls is attached to the right side of the home.

Working with architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, the Baboolals outlined a few essentials for the home. First, the net-zero home needed to be well-insulated, air-tight and energy-efficient. To reach a net-zero energy bill, the home needed a system to produce as much energy as it consumes. Achieving these net-zero goals meant creating a house with an air-tight building envelope to prevent energy loss. Additionally, a photovoltaic array on the roof generates solar power and is covered with a white cool-roof membrane. The windows are also triple-glazed and protected with deep roof overhangs.

A living room with light-colored wood floors, a dining table with black chairs on the left and a sitting area with gray sofas and an orange rug on the right. The wall at the back of the room is a large sliding glass door that looks out on a green backyard.

With these net-zero goals in mind, the family also wanted a functional home that suited everyone — parents, pets and children included. An open, airy and inviting central public zone meets the need for a functional family area. The gathering space includes a gourmet kitchen, deck access across the back of the house, and dining and living areas. The house also incorporates a study/music room, laundry room, pantry and two-car garage. Meanwhile, the north wall’s glass doors make it easy to marry the outside world with the home’s interior.

A backyard with grass and a firepit behind the house.

But everyone needs their privacy sometimes. That’s why the home includes a private zone for the parents. The kids also enjoy their own separate bedroom suites and a playroom.

A backyard with grass and a firepit behind the house.

The design naturally flows together, allowing one space to lead into the next. This is exemplified by the sleek deck that leads one from inside the house to the beautiful outdoors.

A raised view of a backyard with grass and a firepit behind the house.

Seamless design and net-zero strategies combine to make the Baboolal home both beautiful and energy-efficient. This modern house gives everyone the spaces they need while remaining sustainable and carbon-free.

+ Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA

Photography via © Tzu Chen Photography