Serdar NET ZERO-NET POSITIVE Micropolis House
This house is our most energy efficient so far with a HERS rating of -13. A negative score is a good thing in a HERS rating! The average
American house has a poor HERS rating of 100. The independent rating company says this is the lowest (aka best) rating they have ever seen. If you care about the environment with the added benefit of zero to low energy bills, talk to us.
But enough about energy for now. This house also features one of our favorite spa bathrooms that we've ever designed. Green home tour attendees deemed it "luscious" and "incredible"; we think we heard the word "sybaritic".
This modern, Net Zero-Net/Positive house is a customized version of one of architect Arielle Condoret Schechter’s Micropolis® houses, a collection of small, modern, sustainable house plans she designs that can be purchased outright or customized to accommodate specific needs.
Her clients, Cheryl and Ken Serdar, loved the original 950-square-foot Micropolis® plan she calls “Happy Family” but needed a bit more space. So Schechter enlarged it to 2222 heated square feet to include a spa-like master bathroom and a third bedroom that Cheryl will use for her jewelry-making studio.
Originally from Texas, the Serdars wanted their new home in North Carolina: to be "very modern,” “extremely green,” and “almost industrial." The exterior walls are prefab concrete sandwich panels with built-in insulation. The cypress soffit is a warm counterpoint to the concrete and shields the interior from the high summer sun. The floors are polished concrete. All windows and doors are by Awilux and certified for Passive House construction.
The house is oriented to the south for maximum winter solar gain, with extensive glazing providing an abundance of natural light. In the central living space, Awilux casement windows are combined with a wall of glass folding doors that opens the entire room to the screen porch, allowing for cooling cross ventilation. The solar orientation, deep roof overhangs, prefab sandwich panels, Awilux windows and doors, natural lighting and ventilation contribute to the house’s environmental sensitivity and Net Zero/Net Positive status. Schechter also utilized: • A small solar array of 6 KW (all that was needed to achieve net positive). • 5” of under-slab insulation. • Seals on all air gaps. • An Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) for an extremely tight house. • A relatively compact footprint. The Serdars' modified Micropolis® house has a HERS rating of -13, (compared to the average American house’s very poor HERS rating of 100). Representatives from the independent rating company reported that this was the lowest/best rating they had ever seen.
Like their architect, the Serdars are passionate about animals and include rescued cats in their household. A “cat staircase” of simple, natural wood steps leads up to a 12-foot-high “catwalk” in the living area.
As Schechter was designing the master bath, she was "exploring ideas of what a luxurious, accessible, aging in place bathroom can be," she said, which supports her assertion that “smaller houses let you put your money toward better quality in materials and details rather than square feet." The floor and walls of this elegant space are covered in large-scale charcoal tile. A local artisan created a concrete trough double sink.
Schechter names her Micropolis® house plans for the inspirations they give her. She named this one “Happy Family” because she designed it to have bedrooms on opposite ends as private retreats with a central shared space between them. Schechter believes this plan offers "the type of spatial variety with privacy essential for a 'happy family.' "