Historic Austin home takes on a sustainable look

| by John Johnson
Historic Austin home takes on a sustainable look

Hurt Partners Architects recently re-modeled and expanded a house that contributes to the Old-West-Austin Historic District. The primary goal was to preserve the historic character of the house from the street, create more spacious living quarters, provide a carport on the sloped site without overwhelming the massing of the house, and achieve a 5-star rated project targeting a zero net energy annual cycle.

Details of the resulting 3,300 square-foot addition and remodel are below and can be viewed here.

For the exterior design, it was critical to keep the integrity of the original house while adding a new, more contemporary addition that did not compete with the character of the house or the neighborhood. The designers specifically looked for any opportunities to reuse elements, such as the front rail and wood flooring turned soffit material, in order to help keep its character and reduce overall waste.

In parallel, they developed a series of exterior features that work together to create a highly sustainable project. A large 6.3Kw solar array was installed which, in tandem with the galvalume roof, reflects and/or absorbs much of the hot Texas sun. The large pitched roof leads to a 2,000 gallon water collection system at the back of the site.

In addition, a series of deep roof overhangs around the perimeter of the house help to shade gracious new window and door openings. All walls, floors, ceilings, and crawl spaces are foam insulated to create a completely sealed environment impervious to heat and moisture from the exterior environment.

On the inside of the house, Hurt Partners developed alternately personal and dramatic interlocking spaces using a cabinet system, bridges, skylights and mirrors. An “octopus” system of cabinets, built from sustainable and non-toxic plywood, reaches from the kitchen and into the living room, office, dining room, and sleeping area above. Both the cabinet system and these interlocking spaces visually, and physically, help to mediate the old and the new.

Just as the cherry wood of the cabinets will become darker and richer over time, this house – which had been a small-town 1920s bungalow, a rental triplex, and now an urban family residence — will continue to change with its owners, the neighborhood, and Austin all the while preserving the memories of the past.

Project Features:

Energy
· 6.3 Kw Solar array installed on roof
· 622 SF / ton HVAC system
· High R value foam Insulation: spray foam in 2x6 structure to create sealed environment from exterior
· High R value window systems
· All lighting is fluorescent, supplemented with extensive day lighting, for very low energy requirements
· All ductwork for HVAC system in conditioned space for highest efficiency possible
· Zoned HVAC system: upstairs and downstairs

Materials
· Envelope: Tear drop siding, stone, and stucco
· Roof: Galvalume standing seam metal roof
· Re-used original wood flooring for exterior wood soffit
· Recycled composite decking material used for significant areas of exterior deck
· Non-toxic plywood
· All cabinet clear/paint coats were were ultra low VOC and sprayed in a booth to filter out all overspray

Water
· 2000g + water collection tank used for irrigation
· Tankless water heating system
· Low water use fixtures, toilets, dishwasher, and washing machine

Health & Safety
· No VOC wall paints
· All cabinet clear/paint coats were low VOC (240 g/L) and sprayed in a booth to filter out any overspray
· Extensive day lighting to limit artificial lighting needs

Community
· Close to shopping, eating, public transportation, and parks to limit driving
· New sidewalk added to encourage street interaction with neighbors
· Landscape requires little water; most planting is native with very little turf. All necessary water will be pulled from the rainwater collection system, not from the potable drinking supply
· All trees were protected and great care was taken to save weakened trees. Ultimately no trees were lost due to construction


Topics: Building Green, Interior Design, Paint | Low VOC and No VOC, Solar Power, Windows


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