San Francisco to Have its First Zero Energy House

San Francisco to Have its First Zero Energy House

Sonia Zjawinski
Aug 7, 2009

Scheduled for construction in 2010, LSarc architects has designed a three-story home that is totally energy neutral.

An eight kilowatt solar array, connected to the main energy grid and net metered, will produce all the electricity needed for both home and car. "The owner, who has been working in the solar industry for over twenty years, is committed to, 'getting off the pipe, a house without a gas meter'," writes Green Architecture Notes.

Floor plates in the exposed concrete floors act as passive solar collectors, while in active heating mode, a 2/3 ton, electric heat pump pumps hot water, which has been heated via extracted warm air, through the radiant tubes below the concrete floors. A second heat pump provides domestic hot water. A 1,500 gray water reclamation system takes water from sinks, showers, and tubs, plus collected rain water to irrigate the shared, backyard vegetable garden.

A three-story stair well, topped with operable skylights creates a "heat stack," providing all cooling necessary for the moderate San Francisco climate. LED fixtures and high efficiency appliances lower the total electrical load, while a plug-in hybrid car charges in off hours.

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