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Midweek Motivation: SketchUp: Tips for Designing a Net-Zero Energy Home

sketchup net zero home

The Iowa Nest is a net-zero energy single-family home in rural Iowa. The designer Carl Sterner and his clients have rigorously tracked and compared the performance of his as-built project against his proposals.  Sketchup recaps some high-level design moves and shares five learnings from his post-occupancy assessment.

Here’s an excerpt from the article.  Click the Read More button to link to the full article.

The firm tested a few different design iterations to achieve its net-zero energy and daylighting goals. First, six forms were modeled in SketchUp and analyzed in Sefaira with the goal of maintaining at least 200 lux daylighting for 60% of the year in the main living areas.

The final design incorporated a narrow plate, compact shape, taller windows, and an interior “light well.” Once the ideal conceptual design was found, the challenge of maintaining a steady, passive temperature in a mixed climate with very cold winters and hot, humid summers was addressed. Eleven design strategies were analyzed using Sefaira, leading to the decision to specify an Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF) and a combination of small fixed overhangs and operable shading screens over the south-facing windows.

About Carl Sterner

Carl is the Director of Design and Sustainability at Sol Design + Consulting. He oversees the design and delivery of highly sustainable projects, including Passive House, LEED Platinum, and Living Building Challenge certified designs. He believes in the power of design to help bring about a more humane, equitable, and joyous world.

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Posted by Kim Sternisha