Project Green Home / Palo Alto, Calif.

A 5-kW PV array, set at the rear of the roof to avoid shading from street trees, is designed to bring the house to net-zero energy and charge an electric car. The system includes micro inverters, rather than the standard single large inverter, to minimize temporary shading effects from clouds. It’s estimated to increase energy production by 15% and reduce the required number of PV panels on the roof.

The open plan changes sectionally as you move through it, responding to opportunities for natural light and ventilation.

A band of dormer windows light the play loft and living spaces below. With minimal BTUs needed to heat the well-insulated house, the radiant tubing is limited to area rug locations, providing less heat more efficiently at a slightly higher temperature.

High windows create a chimney effect. The house’s many operable windows eliminate the need for air conditioning. When it is too hot or cold to open windows, a Venmar HRV provides tempered fresh air to each room and exhausts air from the kitchen and baths.

Children’s bedrooms spill out to an airy play loft.

A skylit shower brightens the master bath.

The Caroma dual-flush toilet has an integral sink. Water used for hand washing drains into the tank for use in the next flush.

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