Happy Meadows Net Zero Courtyard House
Finalist: 2014 USGBC-NC (US GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL - NC) Residential Design Award
Happy Meadows Front
Cozy Window Seat
Happy Meadows Kitchen
Happy Meadows Front
HMCH Reclaimed Wood Wall: © Allen Weiss
This project has been third party verified to the following highest industry standards:
• NATIONAL GREEN BUILDING STANDARD "EMERALD" (HIGHEST RATING)
• PHIUS PLUS (US PASSIVE HOUSE) CERTIFIED
• AWAITING LEED CERTIFICATION (PROJECTED GOLD)
• NET-ZERO that goes beyond into NET-POSITIVE!
This means the owners make enough energy to power their house
PLUS a small electric vehicle!
• NEGATIVE HERS SCORE: -1
• DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY CHALLENGE HOME
• GROUND SOURCE (GEOTHERMAL) HEATING AND COOLING
• NO VOC PRODUCTS USED INSIDE
• MANY RECLAIMED OR SCRAP MATERIALS USED FOR FINISHES INSIDE
• ENERGY STAR
• ALMOST 100% ROOFTOP RAINWATER CAPTURE FOR LANDSCAPE IRRIGATION
• WILDLIFE HABITAT CREATION WITH RAINWATER FED FROG POND
The Happy Meadows Courtyard House was designed in 2013 for Phil and Velma Helfaer and was built in 2014 by Kevin Murphy of NewPhire Building, based in Chapel Hill, NC.
The Helfaers asked for a small, modern house of modest and private character that would express their deep dedication to the environment and health.
The solution was a courtyard house with an understated entry from the north side -- opening up to large windows, view and light on the south. The internal courtyard provides the "delight" factor and a special green spot that can be enjoyed privately.
The Happy Meadows Courtyard House was built to strict PHIUS (US Passive House) standards. Superinsulation in walls, roofs and under the floor slab double current code requirements.
The small rooftop photovoltaic array means we're going beyond net zero into net positive -- we produce enough energy for the house AND have enough left over to power a small electric vehicle!
Water capture is not only a sustainable feature in this house, but also a major driver of the entire design. We were able to achieve almost 100% rooftop rainwater capture.
The majority of the rainwater falling on the roof is directed to a 1200 gallon underground cistern, but about 15% is channeled via an innovative butterfly roof and scupper detail to a water garden and wildlife pool.
The wildlife pool was a design feature from the very start and specifically designed to provide water for the animals that inhabit Happy Meadows. Special attention was paid to providing a safe and optimal habitat for frogs as their numbers have declined precipitously in the past decades.
So far the strategy is a huge success, as the wildlife pool already has thousands of tadpoles in it! The owners' commitment to organic gardening ensures an ongoing non-toxic environment for all inhabitants of the property, human and otherwise.