Pairing a proven net-zero strategy with conscious material choices.
Synopsis: Architect Steve Baczek writes about a net-zero home he designed that is constructed with sustainable materials. This particular house, in Hamilton, Mass., achieves such high performance through its durable envelope, tight wall assembly, high-efficiency mechanicals, and a 14.6kw photovoltaic system on its low-slope roof.
I see two paths to being green. (I don’t like that term, but lack of a better one forces me to use it.) Path 1 is designing a typical code-built house and then applying a degree of recycled materials and site-generated energy in an attempt to make up for building-performance inadequacies. Path 2, my preference, is to integrate performance strategies with scrutinized building practices to develop a house where all the decisions are in harmony with each other. While energy efficiency is always a concern, conceptually I don’t solve for it. I concentrate on durability, comfort, and health, making sure to align them with…