Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Beach House is Energy-Efficient. Also Looks Cool

"Beach House That Consumes Less Energy Than It Provides"
DigsDigs (July 30, 2009)

"Cannon Beach Residence is designed by Nathan Good Architect with sustainability in mind. It is located on the Oregon beach and provides more energy that it consumes. That is possible because of 5kWh rooftop photovoltaic system and 12-inch-thick concrete walls. There are also solar-thermal tubes that provide hot water and a ground-source heat pump that warms and cools the air. The house is L-shaped and wrapped around Sitka spruce that’s 38 inches in diameter. Recycled materials were used during construction and the house is designed to last multiply generations...."

"multiply generations?" That's exactly what's in the post - not a typo at this end.

There are nine photos - 10 if you count the 2-in-1 graphic.

Words like "sustainability" and "recycled" show up - so you know that this structure is really, really, like - okay - you know.

That Canon Beach location is in Oregon, by the way.

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I did a little checking. Sure enough: that house had to be designed to stand up to the rugged extremes of Oregon's coastal climate. That's a part of the world where temperatures soar, on average, to a torrid 69 degrees Fahrenheit in August, and where residents must brace themselves for a frigid 38 degrees Fahrenheit in January: again, on average.

It rains a lot there, too, compared to some places.

I think it's great that someone wanted to build a 'sustainable' house with recycled materials - and is smart enough to keep energy costs down.

But I'm not quite as impressed as some folks might be, that the house produces more energy than it consumes - maybe. (The architectural firm that designed it says that it's: "...Designed to generate as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis, the home is pursuing the goal of being a 'net-zero-energy' residence...." (Nathan Good Architects PC))

I live in central Minnesota, where we often get that sort of temperature variation in 24 hours. A 31-degree daily change isn't typical here, of course. The average high and low for today here are 80 and 59: 21 degrees. Six months from now, the averages are 17 and -1 °F.

Designing a house that produced as much energy as it consumes here? Year round? Now that would be impressive.

The house is designed by Nathan Good Architects PC:
"Inspiring Green Homes and Custom-Commercial Designs

"Nathan Good Architects PC is an architectural firm that works with you to create distinctive surroundings in harmony with nature. Whether you’re interested in cutting-edge technological solutions or simply want to live lightly on the earth, Nathan Good Architects can translate your vision into reality. The firm’s award-winning designs are as diverse as their clientele."
Nathan Good Architects PC
The PC architects' website has a pretty good portfolio, showing this home and others. It helps if your computer is up to the standards they expect, of course: Plebeians may find some of the text hidden.

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