Ivan Tang’s design choice for the USGBC 2010 Natural Talent Design Competition: Small, Green, Affordable is that of a net zero energy, green, comfortable and healthy home. Dubbed the “Ariel Home”, this house seeks LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification by following a smart and integrative design approach. Located in New Orleans, the 8545sqft project sports a Passive House design with glazed southern facade and large windows, providing solar passive heating in winters.
The sawtooth, M-shape roof feature photovoltaic panels that generate enough green energy to power the smart home. The other green credentials it flaunts are a thermosiphon solar hot water collector, on-demand electric heaters, skylights to flood the house with sufficient daylight, rainwater harvesting and ultra-low flow fixtures for water conservation. The net zero energy target is achieved by bringing renewable energy generation by photovoltaic panels, a high-performance building envelope and an efficient, appropriate ventilation system into use.
The construction materials include recycled and reclaimed materials in large quantity. In addition, the home is built with common, wood-frame platform construction techniques using BluWood. The envelope uses polyethylene sheet as a vapor barrier and Tyvek HomeWrap as an air barrier. The walls gets thermal resistance and air tightness from a combination of wet-spray loose-fill cellulose insulation within the wall cavities and expanded polystyrene, while fiber cement panels offer great durability.
The energy-efficient house is in close proximity to open spaces, parks, public transit and other infrastructure, and essential amenities, which help to promote pedestrian-oriented communities. There is also provision for producing healthy food. The endwall of the backyard and the base of the house include vertical growing shelves that provide ample planting space for urban agriculture. Rainwater provides 100% of irrigation needs. This high-performance, smart and healthy home was shaped into reality using $100,000. It looks too good to be true!