Energy efficiency has gone to new heights with exciting possibilities. An awesome example of these new heights and possibilities is a residence Ryans Virtual Design, Inc. co-designed using the most innovative green building products available. The focus of the building was sustainable infrastructure and featured state of the art green technology.
Located in the picturesque landscape of the Palm Springs desert with 350 days of summer, less than 6 inches of rain a year, and temperatures that can reach well over 100 F during the summer, it was critical to employ energy efficient products and develop a water conservation system.
The structure had a modern influence with simple lines, shapes, and flat roofs. With clearstory windows over the master suite, dining room, and living areas, allowing natural light to flow throughout while emphasizing the beautiful mountain views. The exterior of the structure consisted of smooth and textured stucco, stone veneer, anodized aluminum and various types of solar glass in a simple and effective manner.
Capitalizing on the desert’s climate, the energy efficient infrastructure featured solar panels, reducing the power consumption, and a cool roof. The 600 square feet electric solar panel system genarates 9,000 watts of energy a year for up to an 80% savings on eletricity costs. The cool roof is a roofing system that can deliver high solar reflectance—reflecting infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths of the sun, reducing the heat transfer to the residence. Additionally, the cool roof has high thermal emittance—the ability to absorb non-reflected solar energy.
Inside the residence, a central computer system with handheld command devices controlled the use of a state of the art Mitsubishi HVAC units located in eight climate zones and the LED lighting throughout the house, providing efficient energy use, at a touch of a button or pre-programmed vacation settings. LED lighting consumes less energy with a longer lifespan than traditional incandescent lighting.
In order to conserve water, tankless water heaters and a grey water system was installed. In comparison to a traditional water heater, a tankless water heater uses less space, provides fresher water, has double the lifespan, and uses 40% less energy. A grey water system utilizes washwater; that is, water from the shower, dishwasher, and washing machine. The system runs the grey water through a treatment system and disperses the water to outdoor plants. Additionally, the frontscape is supported by a drought resistant landscape while the rear yard depicts a garden oasis with a salt water pool, outdoor kitchen, and lanai. The living room sliding glass wall retracts into wall pockets blurring the line between exterior and interior living.
All in all, the Palm Springs residence was 60% more energy efficient than your average home.