With rising energy prices and a more eco-conscious consumer base, there has been an increasing demand in recent years for energy-saving residential design and construction.  Through research and integrated design, studio26 is committed through our partnership in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America program to a minimum of about 40-70% whole-house energy savings with each home that we design and build.  Furthermore, we also work with several partners such as IBACOS, an accomplished building-science consulting firm, and the Best Practices Research Alliance to help us continually gain the greatest and most recent insight into best building science strategies and techniques.

Springboarding off our standard high-performance design and construction, we also continue to investigate effective, yet-relatively affordable strategies to help deliver net-zero energy homes – homes that produce as much as energy throughout the year as they consume – to our interested clients; which would likely include the installation of on-site energy generation such as solar photovoltaic (electricity), solar thermal (domestic hot water), and geothermal (ground-source heating and cooling).

Without compromising the architectural aesthetic, studio26 employs a plethora of best practice details in the design and construction of your home to help maximize energy savings throughout the year.  Since almost every design decision can impact the next, we are always mindful of the whole picture – that is, we take into account every aspect of the home design from foundation and framing to the installation of mechanicals and finishes.  Through this whole-house integrated design philosophy, studio26 is able to provide its homeowners with a studio-designed, custom-crafted home that performs exceptionally through all of the four seasons.

Below is a list of integrated, energy saving techniques employed by studio26:

Site | Orientation

  • Solar passive energy design – Long side of home facing south with extended roof overhangs where desired
  • For summer – Deciduous shade trees are appropriately located and planted on the south side to help minimize the local heat island effect
  • For winter – Coniferous trees are appropriately located and planted on the north, northwest, and west sides to help provide a natural wind break to the cold, harsh winds

HVAC System

  • Highly energy-efficient heat pump located in conditioned environment
  • Fresh/clean air controlled precisely by a energy recovery ventilation (ERV) system
  • Advanced-technology central air cleaner
  • HVAC ductwork is sealed, insulated, and never installed in an outside wall
  • Ductwork designed with optimized return trunk line(s) and supply lines of minimum total length
  • Optional radiant floor heat installed with minimum heat loss to floors below

Plumbing | Hot Water System

  • PEX tubing to help minimize water flow resistance and future corrosion
  • Hot and cold water lines are very short & run individual to a central manifold near the water heater
  • Water heating options:
    • Energy-efficient tank units
    • On-demand tankless heaters
    • Solar thermal (domestic hot water) systems

Building Envelope

  • Ultra air-tight home sealants, caulks, and foams
  • Continuous rigid insulation board installed around the entire home to increase overall thermal resistance and minimize thermal bridging
  • Advanced framing techniques to help allow more insulation/air sealing in typically hard-to-reach, and under-insulated areas
  • Highly insulated basement walls including underneath basement slab
  • Highly insulated exterior walls and flat/cathedral ceilings
  • Optional Energy Star compliant cool roof
  • Optional triple-pane windows with optional between-the-glass shades reducing solar heat gain (SHGC)

Home Automation | Lighting System

  • Programmable thermostats to help maximize energy savings and desired comfort levels
  • Light fixtures with energy-efficient fluorescent, compact fluorescent, and/or LED (light emitting diode)
  • Optional dimmable lighting controls to help optimize desired light levels and eliminate over-lighting
  • Optional smart whole-house automation controls

Appliances | Fixtures

  • Energy Star qualified kitchen appliances – Refrigerator, freezer, dishwashers
  • Energy saving cooking – Induction cooktop
  • Energy saving and appropriately designed ventilation hood
  • Energy Star qualified laundry washer and dryer
  • Energy Star qualified ceiling fans
  • Energy Star qualifies bathroom exhaust fans

Renewable Energy Systems

  • Solar photovoltaic system – Generating electricity
  • Solar thermal system – Generating domestic hot water
  • Ground source heat – Providing interior heating and cooling