NZE House / Paul Lukez Architecture
- Region :
Josh MacDonald, Craig Hinrichs, Shari Vaccarella
Text description provided by the architects. The Jenson-DeLeeuw Net-Zero Energy House is a 2,000 square foot home located on a bucolic two-acre site in Harvard, Massachusetts. This comfortable house is entirely powered by the sun with energy to spare for the owners’ electric car; kudos to a photovoltaic solar power system from LG and two Sonnen batteries that manage the energy intermittency. This house is integrated into its natural setting and carefully located at the highest altitude of the site to capture as much sun as possible. Passive design principles keep the home temperate year-round: deep overhangs protect interiors from overexposure and overheating, while open floor plans and high ceilings allow for natural ventilation and airflow everywhere. The house is owned by two JRR Tolkien fans who named their new home “Rivendell” after the village of Elvan in Tolkien’s Middle-earth.
Drawing from nature, The Jenson-DeLeeuw house combines bright and comfortable living spaces, integrated with nature. It is carefully situated and angled on a gentle rise amidst a rustic rural landscape. This provides its occupants with a pleasant natural landscape while harnessing the path of the sun for power generation through renewable energy technologies. Clean energy systems (PV + Batteries) generate and conserve energy.
Clean energy production. The house’s energy grid generates 21,000 kilowatt hours per year through 56 LG photovoltaic solar panels on the roof. Excess energy is stored in two sets of 16 kWh Sonnen batteries. The house has three mini-splits for heating/cooling. The roof is at an obtuse angle to optimize the collection of solar energy. By monitoring the energy generated and used daily, this system can store excess energy for evening consumption and during inclement weather. With a certified HERS rating of -23, the home generates 23% more energy than a similarly sized home of its type, reserving ample energy at a lower cost to occupants. Additionally, the batteries store energy to help power owners’ Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car, reducing exhaust pollution.
Passive solar design. Large windows in the south wall flood the interiors with natural light and winter warmth. Deep roof overhangs protect rooms from overexposure and overheating. Open floor plans and high ceilings allow for natural ventilation and airflow throughout. In winter, triple glazed windows, insulated walls (R 43) and low infiltration details optimize solar heat. A wood-burning stove in the living-dining-kitchen area provides extra heating on the coldest days.
Insulation and Integration of Walls. Huber Engineered Woods’ Zip System, a network of high-efficiency sheathing and stretch strips of structural panels, provides walls with superior insulation and eliminates moisture buildup. Architecturally, the weathered gray cedar cladding associates the house with its wooded and rocky surroundings. The terrace, patio, steps and landscaped walls visually reinforce the house’s connection to nature and dependence on the nurturing forces of nature for the sustenance of its occupants.
An Energy-Plus prototype. This home addresses many sustainability dilemmas. It provides access to renewable energy when the sun is not shining. It generates sustainable energy without emitting greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. It also powers transportation using exclusively renewable energy sources. As a prototype of similar net-zero energy homes, this house demonstrates that, yes, we can create homes that generate more energy than they consume.