Currently under construction, this “uber-green” net zero energy residence incorporates too many elements of sustainability and green building to count, yet it’s the modern architectural style and design sensitivity to the site that really take center stage. Durable, low maintenance, and handsome materials such as rusted cor-ten steel, natural stone veneer, and integral color plaster are deftly combined with strong linear roof lines that emphasize the horizontal nature of the site, such that the house seems to grow out of the hillside.
The immediate neighbors (not to mention the Town of Los Altos Hills Planning Commission) truly appreciated the skill with which this large estate home was cut into the hilltop site, nestled in amongst dozens of mature oak trees. A curving s-shaped wall of rammed earth welcomes visitors as it rises from the driveway and welcomes guests as it guides them into the home, frames the spectacular views, only to emerge on the down-slope side of the house and disappear once again into the hillside.
The main living spaces take advantage of breathtaking 180° views of San Francisco Bay and Santa Clara Valley, not to mention equally beautiful views of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the east and south.
The project goals and resulting features all have self-sustainability at their core, and the building achieves several earth-healing objectives such as cleaning the air, purifying the water, providing energy to the grid, and reducing it’s carbon footprint wherever possible.
The project includes:
- a chicken coop, a large orchard, and a roof top vegetable garden where the owners will grow their own food
- a 40,000 gallon rainwater harvesting system for irrigation
- a gray water catchment system used for orchard irrigation
- all native and drought-tolerant landscaping reduce irrigation
- a roof mounted grid-tied PV solar array provides 100% of electrical power needs and sends power to the grid in summer
- a roof mounted hot water solar system that provides domestic hot water heating and swimming pool heating
- passive solar design that reduces heat gain in summer and allows for passive heating in winter
- passive ventilation provides natural night cooling in summer
- natural day-lighting decreases need for interior lighting
- geothermal heat pump uses the earth (not fossil fuels) to heat and cool the house year round
- a living roof insulates the house year round, and cleanses rainwater of toxins and pollutants
- a rammed earth feature wall using on site soils
- fly ash concrete in ICF forms for all foundations
- dual glazed low e high performance windows and doors
The design achieved a Green Point Rating of 263, largely due to exceeding California Title 24 Energy Standards by a whopping 62%.
Noel Cross+Architects – Architect
Suzman & Cole Design Associates – Landscape Architects
Jacques Saint Dizier – Interior Designer
Vita Pehar – Lighting Designer
Jakaby Engineering – Structural Engineering
Giuliani& Kull, Inc. – Civil Engineering/Surveying
Meline Engineering Corp. – Mechanical Engineering
Earthcraft Landscape Design – Rainwater/Graywater
Evans Construction, Inc. – General Contractor
Red Lily Studios – Photography