First Zero Energy House in San Francisco

From on August 27, 2009 in Green Remodeling

zero-energy-home-san-francisco.jpgIt’s official - the bar’s been raised for residential green building. Plans are underway for the carbon-neutral Zero Energy House - the first of its kind in San Francisco. Helping to build this greenest of residential structures is the architectural firm, LSarc. The house will use several systems designed not only to conserve water and energy, but to generate all of its own power, thereby taking it completely off the grid. This is of critical importance to the homeowner, who has worked in the solar industry for the past 20 years. Interestingly, the house will be built in a historical setting. The façade will allude to surrounding architecture, but overall design, innovation and function are updated for modern usability. Cutting-edge green features:

  • An 8-kilowatt photovoltaic solar system installed on the home’s roof, half facing east and the other facing west. That’s enough to supply all the energy needed to run the house - and even recharge the owner’s electric vehicle.
  • Both a graywater recycling system and rainwater collection setup. These systems store water and use it as needed for irrigating the backyard food garden and landscaping.
  • Quite a substantial garden - the owner plans to use it to grow enough food for himself and his next door neighbors, cutting down all of their grocery bills.
  • Super smart floor plan - To take advantage of natural lighting, heat, and scenic views, the floor plan positions the bedroom and private chambers at the forefront of the house and leaves the more open, shared spaces like the kitchen and living room to the rear of the abode.
  • An intricate heating & cooling system of radiant tubing, heat pumps and a stairwell is in the works. The south-facing exposures will collect heat, move it through the radiant tubing and warm the northern parts of the house.
  • The stairwell incorporates built-in skylights that can be opened to release excess heat from inside. This will cool the structure during warm weather.

And the home rests on reasonably sized property. Between the owner and architects, this house just radiates green inside and out. Although it’ll be the first Zero Energy carbon-neutral residence in San Francisco, we hope it’ll challenge others in the Bay and across the nation to consider building green in the future.