The Eco-Home takes the 20K Dave’s Home design and adapts it, based on evidence, for better energy performance. The team was challenged with gathering, analyzing, and making sense of scientific environmental data on previous 20K Project performances to test past design assumptions, including orientation, ventilation, constructability, and materiality. Another focus was how the client occupies the 20K Home and how design decisions have affected the way in which the occupant lives. The Eco-Home relies on evidence rather than rule of thumb to give a more scientific basis for decision-making. The final design is a narrow shotgun house very similar to the original design; it remains a single-occupant dwelling with features that reduce active cooling and heating costs.
The design features a slab foundation, super-insulated walls, a tall interior ceiling for ventilation, and a single-pitch shed roof. The walls and roof are designed to be wrapped with the ZIP System® panels to increase tightness of the building envelope. Windows are designed to be situated, both high and low, to maximize ventilation. The goal is for the narrow section to act as a “ventilation machine,” relieving the need to rely on mechanical systems for cooling. The building’s orientation intends to catch cardinal winds in the summer and minimize active heating use in the winter.
This project employed data-gathering tools previously unused by the Studio. For example, the team used a blower door and infrared heat signature on previous 20K designs to test the breathability and tightness of the building envelope, find vulnerable areas in the construction, and identify any trends emerging from house to house. Data collection devices are researched to record the temperature and humidity levels in different areas of the home. Over time, especially in with long-term data gathering from past and future homes, the information is intended to help identify environmental trends and the success of site orientation choices.