On an 11 Acre site in Cascade foothills (between Arlington and Sedro Woolly), Thomas Eco-House is located. Specifically, it is located in the crown of a hill nearby forestry area. From inside the house, you can see the surrounding forested hills and Mount Rainier as well as the South area of Everett city.
Four stories tall, this house has a bigger amount of living area while harmoniously upholding a fairly small footprint. It also presents you a more wonderful view from the site. The site is redesigned with natural plants. Those plants are watered in dry summer moths with some rainwater which is stored in a container.
Our client in this project showed his awareness in energy efficiency and sustainable low maintenance design in the early hours. His awareness is our goal, which steered our designing process. The Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) construction is used in this house. It consists of two sheets of firm form insulation among which concrete is poured. The insulation stays in place (both in the interior and exterior) and produces an incredibly efficient and airtight wall system. A 44% decrease of necessary heating energy and 33% decrease of necessary cooling energy are resulted from ICF construction; when measured up to a wood-framed house in similar size. The ICF even allows you to apply stucco directly above the exterior insulation. This offers an enduring continuing and low maintenance finish.
This eco-friendly house applies a geothermal heat pump linked with a hydronic heating system so as to advance the efficiency of heating and cooling. The system consumes air from a subterranean chamber. The chamber itself uses the earth insulating assets to give a more constant temperature for driving the heat pump. Geothermal heat pump is able to be up to 45% more effective and efficient than a conventional heat pump which uses ambient air. The heat pump is linked to a high efficiency boiler which provides heated water all the way through a piping system rooted in the concrete floor. The hydronic heating system exploits likely a 30% lesser amount of energy than an equivalent forced air system. Moreover, this house is able to obtain solar panels and or wind turbine energy; although those properties were not installed at the moment due to finance limit.
Furthermore, this house was also intended to obtain benefits of passive solar principles. A huge bank of windows on the southern spot allows solar entrance to the interior of this house. The concrete floors take action as a thermal mass that gathers heat gain throughout the day and releases it gradually all over the evening thus mediating severe temperature change. Besides, there are power-driven solar shades which are able to be lowered to keep the sun out of the interior. The stairs was also designed to give natural exposure to air using solar chimney effect. The “bubble” is placed at the top of the stairway. It has operable windows, which gives you a natural convection effect when opened, dragging warm air up through the stairs and out of the building.
Design and photos by Designs Northwest Architects