Dwelling: Design

An engineering report was commissioned as part of the preliminary design process to better access power generation, use and conservation options. The 107-page Alternative Energy Master Plan was prepared by Weber Consultants Ltd. and is available for download. The goal of the study was to determine which large energy production systems might be installed where the capital investment in each would be amortized (through ongoing maintenance and power cost savings) employing a 5% factor in a 15 year or less period.

The energy systems implemented in the Dwelling involved wind power (wind turbine), solar panels (active solar, photo voltaic), and the passive “storage” of the sun’s heat in a Trombe wall. Providing most of the Dwelling’s heating, cooling, hot water, and general electrical requirements, these energy systems are combined with bottled propane and "grid" electricity.

In addition, since the dwelling is on the "grid" it is expected that electricity will be sold to the utility generating a modest revenue source to offset—over time—the initial investment of these alternative energy systems.

Other design considerations included an attempt to adhere to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™—a voluntary, consensus-based and national standard for developing high-performance and sustainable buildings. Unfortunately, at the time of Kickapoo Dwelling’s construction, LEED certification for residential environmental building standards did not exist, so construction attempted to employ the LEED standards for commercial green buildings wherever applicable and practicable.

Some of these features include:

  • Small footprint
  • High-efficiency window systems and metal roof
  • Local stone and composite fiber cement-clad exterior
  • Insulation made of recycled cardboard boxes and newspapers
  • Recycled plastics and other recycled materials used throughout the home (i.e. surrounding deck and deck furniture)
  • Recycled floor tiles and bamboo
  • Minimal use of drywall
  • Low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints and stains
  • Recycled countertops and glass tiles
  • Open volume spaces utilizing natural light

For a more complete assessment of these goals, download Greene & Proppe Design’s Green Development Case Study. Also available on this site are architectural drawings and 3D renderings.