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The ULTIMATE Idea House— Sustainable. Stylish. Strong. Smart
In collaboration with RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network), BYHYU is in the planning and permitting stages of the ULTIMATE Idea House. Deemed “ULTIMATE” because it will be well-designed in every way—sustainable, stylish, strong/storm resistant, and smart. The house will be a Zero Energy Ready home in the Little Rock, AR area and will be assessed according to RESNET’s guidelines. Project updates will be covered on BUILDER.
RESNET is an independent organization committed to helping make U.S. homes more energy efficient. They developed the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index. The HERS Index is the industry standard for measuring a home's energy performance. A certified Home Energy Rater can assess the energy efficiency of a home and assign it a relative performance score. The lower the HERS score, the more energy efficient the home.
Building a Zero Energy Ready home starts with thoughtful design and advanced, collaborative planning. High Performance builder Keith Wingfield and Ron Hughes, a RESNET certified HERS Energy Rater and owner of HERS Inc, along with engineers and designers have been discussing building strategies, construction processes, and product suggestions for the Idea House. Working in partnership in advance during this pre-construction design phase will contribute to an improved working environment, higher productivity and efficiency, reduced costs, and decreased system failures.
What distinguishes the ULTIMATE idea home from other showcase houses and concept homes is this project is not just about style or sustainability or smart design and technologies or strength. It’s about all those things— an ‘all in one’ compilation of overall good design.
The aim is to educate builders and homeowners about the benefits of structural and building envelope upgrades and to inspire building professionals to distinguish themselves in the marketplace by incorporating those valuable upgrades in their new builds. Finally, this large idea house will dispel the notion that a sustainable house has to be a certain size or style.
Here’s more about the ULTIMATE Idea House:
Sustainable. The home’s comfort, energy efficiency and maintenance are being prioritized. Specific materials and systems will be chosen which require less time and less energy to operate and maintain: a tight building envelope with high performance windows, dehumidification, a low maintenance stone and stucco exterior, a properly sized HVAC system and energy efficient water heaters.
Strong. In addition to having an above ground storm shelter, the Ulimate Idea house is being designed with a continuous load path to resist storms and high winds. The continuous load path is method of construction that uses connectors, bolts, screws and shearwalls to connect all major parts of the home’s frame together. The roof is securely tied to the second floor, the second floor to the first floor and the first floor to the foundation. With all the home’s major parts connected together as one unit, it will be much more likely to withstand storms.
Smart. Smart design and technologies include a practical floor plan that will allow for comfortable day to day living (even as the homeowners age) and easy indoor/outdoor entertaining. Smart home automation will also be incorporated to enhance the home’s security, functionality, energy efficiency, and comfort.
Stylish. The home will be an eclectic mix of transitional architectural features, including walls of black on black windows, a surprising courtyard entrance, a roof top deck with nearly 360 degree views, and dramatic barrel vaulted entry hall.
The house is being built on a hilltop site in tornado prone Central Arkansas. There are lots of challenges, including termites, heat and humidity, high winds and stubborn bedrock in some areas and unstable hillside terrain in others. But the site’s amazing views and privacy are worth overcoming those challenges. Chronicling both problems and solutions as they arise will be a unique opportunity from which builders and homeowners can learn.
To follow the construction progress, look for quarterly project updates at BUILDER, at RESNET or here at BYHYU. Take a look at the introductory article in BUILDER here. The project will also be presented at RESNET's Building Performance Conference. The ULTIMATE Idea House is scheduled for completion by mid 2020. Once complete, the house will be open for virtual tours.