Solar-powered Austin home embraces sustainability in more ways than one

November 13, 2019 by  
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In South Austin, Miró Rivera Architects has completed the Westridge Residence, a contemporary home with an emphasis on sustainable design. Built for a family of four, the sculptural home features rounded roofs on its two structures — the main house and a detached garage with a guest apartment — connected with a trellis of rebar suspended in a natural curve. To minimize its environmental footprint, the house is powered with solar and geothermal energy and was built with durable, long-lasting materials to minimize long-term maintenance. Set on the flattest part of a wooded sloping site in the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, the Westridge Residence was designed to follow the natural terrain and minimize site impact. To take advantage of the site’s natural beauty, the home opens up to the outdoors with large windows, glazed sliding doors and outdoor decks on both levels. The outdoor Ipei deck that connects the two buildings also conceals five 2,000-gallon rainwater storage tanks that are used for irrigation and to compensate for seasonal evaporation loss in the adjacent 40-foot-long swimming pool. Related: Solar-powered Austin home can save owners nearly $100K in energy costs The main house includes an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen as well as the master suite on the ground floor. The upper level contains two bedrooms, a playroom with a kitchenette, a small media room and a flex room in addition to the open-air covered deck. The detached guest house contains an open-air carport, workshop and storeroom below; the upper level holds a home office and a guest apartment with a bathroom and kitchenette. To reduce the home’s energy demands, the architects specified “double wall” construction for a highly insulated envelope with R-21 walls and R-30 ceilings. Installation of Energy Star-certified lighting fixtures and appliances as well as a 6.8-kW rooftop solar system and a geothermal loop field have translated to energy savings of approximately 22 percent annually as compared to an energy model from a baseline case study. During construction, waste was minimized and recycled wherever possible. In the revegetation of the landscape, invasive species were replaced with native plants. + Miró Rivera Architects Photography by Paul Finkel | Piston Design and Cris DeWitt via Miró Rivera Architects

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Solar-powered Austin home embraces sustainability in more ways than one

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