To many observers, Silicon Valley is the land of cookie-cutter developments and massive McMansions. But a recently completed home in the area could provide a useful model to change that.
Situated on a half-acre lot in Menlo Park, the “Low/Rise house” is an impressive example of sustainable living. The house uses a number of energy-efficient techniques, including radiant floor heating and hidden solar panels that generate 90% of the home’s energy.
“Given the great advances of technology emerging from Silicon Valley, architectural innovation surprisingly lags behind. The house is intended as a counter proposal to the suburban McMansion, the sprawling suburban developments that represent costly wasted space, resources, and energy,” Dan Spiegel, founding partner of San Francisco-based Spiegel Aihara Workshop, said to Business Insider. “The Low/Rise House proposes a more responsive, flexible approach to the single family home.”
Spiegel designed the home for his parents, two professors at Stanford. It has some pretty amazing green features.
A three-story guest tower rises on one end of the property. The owners can use an app to shut off the utilities in the separated structure so that it doesn't use too much power when unoccupied.
Solar panels on the roof generate 90% of the house's energy, but they're purposely hidden from view.
All exterior windows and doors are made of low-E glass panels, which are designed to emit low levels of radiant heat.
Spiegel exclusively used energy-efficient appliances in the kitchen, including low-flow fixtures and an induction stove.
The house uses super-efficient radiant floor heating, and, according to Spiegel, it's so well insulated that they didn't need to install air conditioning.
But the house is more than just a wonder of sustainability -- it has comfortable living spaces, too.
The master bedroom features a white oak floor and Douglas fir ceiling, and glass panels open on to a private deck.
Only native plants and grasses were used in the backyard, which uses a drip irrigation system that will help the owners conserve water.
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