This house, titled MARTaK Passive House, is set 6000 feet above sea level among the Rocky Mountains of Colorado in the USA. The house is the first property to be certified as a Passive House in the state of Colorado – a feat of design, especially considering they didn’t use products with a high embodied energy.
The designers opted to keep their carbon footprint as low as possible, forgoing the usual foam insulation and embracing solar passive design techniques. The result is a low-energy home that is independent of the grid (and given its location, it needs to be).
|Location||Masonville, Colorado, USA|
The architects, Basol, took inspiration from contemporary Japanese design, where people are having to make the most of small awkward sites. Thanks to this, much of the interior is open plan. This isn’t always an easy task when you’re attempting to create a passive house, where its easier achieved by creating a series of smaller rooms, closed off from one another.
The home contains two levels with the bulk of the living areas found on the ground floor. The upper level is dedicated to a small loft that can be used for sleeping and storage. The lower level contains a kitchenette, bathroom, a large open plan living space, and a second separate room.
The inside has been clad with FSC plywood and cedar, plasterboard, and, in places like the bathroom and kitchen, tile. They’ve also taken advantage of the space under the plywood box staircase to provide some extra storage.
The shape of the house and its orientation were determined by optimum solar exposure. The surrounding trees provide solar shading during the warmer summer months. Its green credentials extend to the materials used. Instead of foam insulation, they opted for mineral wool and cellulose. The exterior also makes use of mineral wood board and fiber cement siding.
The home’s heating energy consumption is 90% less than local code, and electrical use is also limited by the off grid solar power system. Quality of life is not restricted however as the highly insulated envelope and low power consumption equipment like the Heat Recovery Ventilator keeps occupants snug and with plenty of fresh air. – Basol
Photos © Andrew Michler