When: Saturday, September 3
Where: Batesville, VA
By Barbara Gehrung, Gehrung + Graham
The architecture of the Batesville residence was inspired by the clients’ love for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian houses, and their wish for a contemporary design that integrated energy-efficiency and sustainable materials with warmth, sensually interesting textures, variety in spacial experiences and provided great indoor-outdoor connections and views to the surrounding Virginia Piedmont and Blue Ridge Mountains.
Through multiple design-, energy-modeling-, and budget iterations, it became clear that the priority in respect of energy was to be net-zero or even net-positive through integration of solar power. Therefore, in partnership with our builder, Daniel Ernst of Promethean Homes, we settled on a building envelope that is well-insulated, vapor-open and air-tight, but relatively affordable with about 1/3 less in average R-value than would have been needed to meet passive house heating demand criteria. We are complimenting the ‘passive measures’ with the ‘active system’ of a 7.2kWp photovoltaik array that is feeding the grid if there is a surplus in energy, and will also supply the house with power during power outages (currently the inverter provides a small amount of power, enough for example to keep the refrigerator running, during an outage; the clients plan to install lithium-ion batteries in the future to allow for a larger load and multiple days of off-grid power supply). Beyond the envelope, the architecture integrates basic principles of energy-efficient and sustainable design: overhangs on three sides provide shading in the summer and protection from weather, large openings in the south allow for passive solar heat gains in the winter, openings in the north, low and high, provide for passive cooling and support cross-ventilation. Insulated, exposed concrete floors, in the basement and in the slab-on-grade portion of the house, are thermal mass to help cool in the summer and to store the warmth of daytime sun in the winter.
Zola’s Thermo Clad windows and doors were perfect for our design: Providing security and functionality with the tilt & turn and multi-lock function, energy-efficiency, durability and sustainability through triple pane glazing, tight seals, frame design and materiality, great daylight and views with its affordable custom large glazing options and a contemporary appearance.