Rooted firmly in mid-century modern design and with a nod to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian houses, the City of Phoenix and the American Institute of Architects ran a “Sustainable Home Design Competition for a ‘near net-zero energy’ single family home” in 2018.
The design was to be for a house in climate zone 2, which indicates a need primarily for cooling, and was part of the City’s goal to become a carbon-neutral and zero-waste city. As a step towards achieving these goals, the City of Phoenix wanted to encourage the construction of ultra-low energy use homes.
The prize was US$100,000 and the winning design, Home NZ, came from Marlene Imirzian & Associates Architects, in partnership with SCL Consulting, Henderson Engineers and Desert Skies Energy Services.
The building is 2,185 square feet and sits on 60′ by 110′ lot. Inside there are three bedrooms, family and living rooms, kitchen, laundry, bathroom and garage for a build cost around US$350,000. As built, it has a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index of 33 but with the addition of renewable energy sources (solar), this falls to 0. For comparison, a standard new home has a HERS rating of around 100.
By using heat reflective glazing, passive cooling and natural convection, plus low energy lighting and smart systems, the Home NZ can expect to save around $2,000 in comparison to a similar standard property. Of course, it’s not just about saving money, it’s about saving the planet…
These competitions are often great exemplars of technology, but in this case, it’s an affordable family home that can be built today. And even better, the City of Phoenix has made the plans available for free. All you have to do is go here, sign the disclaimer, and download 88 MB of pdf.
And if you are ever in the Phoenix area, I’d recommend a trip to Taliesin West in neighbouring Scottsdale to learn more about Frank Lloyd Wright.