Neos House

Neos House

The Neos house is a 4 bedroom family house. 2614 square feet. Completed in spring 2021.

Designed as a multi-generational home with one full bathroom & one full bedroom on the 1st floor, if the piano-room & the rec-room were enclosed with walls we’d have a 7-bedroom home. Enough for a substantial family to live together.

Pointing south, the view looks towards the huge garden.

The garden spills into the dining area through sliding doors. The folks who commissioned this home are gardeners, with kids, who will be drawn towards the natural world as a way to thrive.

The weather briefly nips at you as you walk from the front door to the garage under the covered walkway, creating a connection with the day’s weather and the world outside the energy-shell.

The SIPs installation was subcontracted because this is a Bellevue job & the TC crew have northern families & want to be home at night if possible. Issac taught a Peruvian framing crew how to sling the SIPs and the job ran fast & smoothly using advanced SIPs details required by the Bellevue jurisdiction.

Despite one design mistake (the mechanicals are in the unheated garage), this house is an exercise in textbook design for cost & energy performance.

The client did a stellar job of following design advice & the crew lovingly built the house, sealing the envelope to 0.6 air changes per hour, Passivehaus standard. The result is an economical house that has won a Department of Energy Grand Prize, attained 5-star Build Green certification and is certified Net Zero.

The envelope & mechanical systems are all drawn from the 2020 TC system: 6.5” walls, 10.25” SIP roof, 4” R20 foam under the slab, R24 ICF’s, Chilltrix CX34 heatpump with (1) fancoil upstairs, Zehnder 350 HRV with comfopost heat/ cool delivery. Vinyltek triple pane windows & Thermatru front door.

All the stormwater from the roof is infiltrated back into the onsite soils via a huge infiltration trench. Additionally, the excavation soils all remained onsite to reduce soils trucking. The clients took responsibility for seeding the exposed construction soils, choosing to plant a complex cover crop in place of the usual grass. The cover crop can be tilled back into the soils to impart nitrogen & other nutrients when a new planting regime is decided upon.

The house in a garden is a traditional family way of life and TC is proud to have built a modern, dense & flexible version of this ideal, updated to make all its own power to address the demands of the climate-change world.

Trax

Trax

This 2,540 square-foot clerestory (one-and-a-half story) family house has an integrated, differently heat-zoned 1,040-square-foot garage and woodshop sitting within the SIPs shell. It was built in 2020 in western Washington.

A rigorous passive-solar window design uses the majority south-facing glazing for wintertime heating, shaded in summer by a shallow south porch and accurate south clerestory overhang. Multi-direction daylight penetrates and reflects deep into the connected main living space and second-floor balcony via the high second-floor clerestory glazing. 

Multiple cutting-edge HVAC and home-automation systems integrate to deliver low-cost air-to-water heat pump-based central heating, cooling, and fresh-air delivery, triggered via automatic carbon-dioxide and humidity sensors. Alexa-driven automated lighting and blinds are installed, a home-automation system that will expand in its capabilities as more options become available.

The clients’ requirement for a spacious first-floor master suite led us to design a smaller second floor in relation to the first. The clerestory design accommodates this layout by producing a daylight-rich one-and-a-half-story house.

Specifications

  • U.S. Department of Energy Net-Zero certified
  • Chilltrix CX34 air-to-water heat pump
  • Zehnder 550Q heat recovery ventilator (HRV), with in-line fan coil from Chilltrix
  • Development dedicated 1 acre of pastureland to a perpetual conservation easement, ensuring growth of native species
  • 12.4 kW of solar panels installed
  • 6.5” R-29 SIPs walls
  • 12.25” R-59 SIPs roof
  • 4” R-20 foam under 4” concrete slab-on-grade for excellent thermal mass
  • 5.5” foam (total) R-23.8 insulated concrete forms (ICF) perimeter stem-walls
  • Vinylek Boreal series triple-pane windows (U values between 0.14 and 0.16)
  • 1:1.6 aspect ratio floor plan, with long side facing south
  • Minimal east and west glazing

 

Columbia City

Columbia City

These two 2,250-square-foot, three-story family houses were built adjacent to each other, without garages, on a single lot in Columbia City, Seattle. The design preserved enough space for two spacious gardens.

This perfect urban lot has great southern exposure for passive and active solar gain. The small 25′ by 30′ footprints raised a surprising amount of internal space, but achieving net-zero performance, even with super-insulated SIPs panels, necessitated an enlarged south roof to house the required solar panels. We designed huge, cranked south roofs. This was a first for TC Legend, but they are now standard, architecturally a truly modem aesthetic response to the climate crisis.

The five-bedroom houses are planned to maximize common spaces and contain one un-programmed loft/rec-room space on each floor: space for a drum kit, a wine bar, a sewing room, or another TV room. Additionally the first floor has a big mud room to house bikes and camping gear and function as the storage space that a suburban house would normally have in the garage, which we eliminated in favor of gardens and uncovered off-street parking.

Specifications

  • Department of Energy Net-Zero certified
  • Chilltrix CX30 air-to-water heat pump
  • 100% storm-water infiltrated on site via two infiltration pits
  • 12.4 kW solar panels installed
  • 6.5” R-29 SIPs walls
  • 10.25” R-59 SIPs roof
  • 4” R-20 foam under 4” concrete slab-on-grade for thermal mass
  • 5.5” foam (total) R-23.8 insulated concrete forms (ICF) perimeter stem walls
  • Plygem triple-pane windows (U values between 0.21 and 0.24)

 

Larson

Larson

This 2,020 square-foot two-story, five-bedroom family house was built in rural King County. It has an additional 280 square-foot integrated single-car garage within the SIPs shell. The garage can be re-purposed into a flex space, such as a kids’ TV room, playroom, workshop, etc. The home was built in 2018 in western Washington.

The major challenge with this undeveloped site was to dig the potable water line 1,000 feet through a boulder field. The client miraculously located the well stub within the forest, and the TC Legend team dodged and weaved the waterline through.

Additionally, we carved the driveway 500’ through the second-growth forest, located the house for optimum solar exposure, and laid the power line in the middle of the driveway, with septic adjacent under what will likely become a forest lawn. A truly stunning site with stag deer, bear, cougars, and more.

The wrap-around porch with concrete walkway mediates between the inside and outside, with a front mudroom to contain kids’ messes and offer an airlock to prevent large temperature drops when the front door is opened in winter.

The house was prevented from becoming overly large and expensive by sizing the kids’ bedrooms at kids’ scale: on the small side of things. However, the vaulted SIPs ceiling at the second floor, which is a standard feature of SIPs construction, presents a very spacious overhead feel. Additionally, multiple windows in many bedrooms ensures that the kids rooms don’t feel boxy.

Specifications

  • U.S. Department of Energy Net-Zero certified
  • Fujistu 18RLXFG heat pump with multiple fan coil heads
  • 12.4 kW of solar panels installed
  • 6.5” R-29 SIPs walls
  • 10.25” R49 SIPs roof
  • 4” R-20 foam under 4” concrete slab-on-grade for thermal mass
  • 5.5” foam (total) R-23.8 insulated concrete forms perimeter stem walls
  • Euroline triple-pane windows (U values from 0.14 to 0.18)
  • 1:1.6 aspect ratio floor plan, with long side facing south
  • Minimal east and west glazing

 

Whatcom County Net Positive Home

Whatcom County Net Positive Home

This Built Green Five Star home in Whatcom County was selected as a Department of Energy 2019 Housing Innovation Award Winner!

The house is weighted south, toward the sun. With both asymmetrical roofs; longer to the south for solar build-out and a preponderance of south glazing for wintertime passive harvesting, the windows are appropriately shaded, with regionally appropriate eaves and porches, against summertime overheating.

The gross footprint of the house is rectangular, stretched with the long-axis running east-west to maximize space available for solar harvest on roofs and south wall, with much smaller east and west walls which overheat as they take the full force of the sun in summer. The slab-on-grade floor is finished to be left exposed and imparts a visceral, cooling, underfoot mass.

The slab also houses in-floor hydronic heating and radiates warm comfort during the long winter season, which, like all the seasons, can be felt and seen keenly in this house though the diversity of landscape views.

The home also features an open floor plan, with no wasted hallway space. The living area loft provides a sense of grandeur, but the modest-sized bedrooms and bathrooms require less energy and provide balanced efficiency.

SPECS/FEATURES

  • 2707 Square feet (conditioned)
  • 4 Bedrooms
  • 2.5 Baths
  • SIPs construction
  • 10.066-kW Solar
  • Triple-pane windows
  • Air-to-water heat pump
  • In-floor hydronic heating
  • Heat Recovery Ventilator
  • Electric car-charging
  • Low- or no-VOC products sourced throughout.
  • Wood posts, beams, counters, interior and exterior trim details milled on site from local timber

Photos by Scott Miller, Elevate Pro Photo