Entertaining a “Net-Zero” design solution is always a welcome challenge – especially when it’s not about a point scoring system that allows you to call your project “certified.” The Live/Work Micro-Dwelling project in North Carolina was a breath of fresh air for our design team! No restrictions – just design dwelling units that are focused on sustainable lifestyles, affordable, self-sufficient and encourage interaction between residents and nearby college campus.
The design incorporates a Geo-thermal air exchange along with energy recovery ventilation for mechanical systems as well as both Solar Thermal collectors to heat water for radiant floor heating. Photovoltaic Arrays are set up to harvest sun energy for an all electric kitchen and battery storage can be utilized at the basement level to store excess power for future use during cloudy days. Rainwater and “grey water” can also be harvested and stored for use in irrigation of landscape and garden beds, toilets and laundry machines.
Generating an aesthetically pleasing composition of articulated boxes is achieved through mixing cladding materials vs. exposing the containers. Exposing them adds interest architecturally and we didn’t want to lose sight of the core organizational element of the container altogether. Stacking boxes doesn’t have to be boring!