Best Energy-Smart Home 2015: Stepping Off the Grid in Hill Country
With carefully chosen mechanical systems-including photovoltaic panels and geothermal heating and cooling-not only is this Southwestern house energy-neutral, but it also collects and stores enough rainwater to satisfy all its owners’ needs. Even better, it does this on a modest budget of $175 per sq. ft. These combined attributes made this house, conceived by homeowners Tom and Peggy Kolnowski and designed by architect Donovan Davis, a solid choice for our 2015 energy-smart home of the year. Especially appealing is that even though its Home Energy Rating System Index score of 7 puts its performance far above average, this home’s construction is not all that different from thousands of others. The important difference is the attention paid to every component and its contribution to a house that produces all the power it needs.