Workers install bales in the wall of a net-zero house in Santa Cruz, California, that will eventually make up the divide the living room from Bethany Curve, a charming park that functions as the home's extended backyard. Photo courtesy of Arkin Tilt Architects.
Looking like a jewel box at dusk, Scott Stafne’s Cantilever House, in the middle of the Washington woods, acts as a warm respite from the elements when the weather won’t cooperate, which is often—horizontal rain and whipping winds can be the norm. Photo by John Clark.
The secret to Cantilevered House's coziness is the use of structural insulated panels (SIPs) throughout, which also helped speed the construction process. Peter Anderson explains, "The panels themselves hang from and rest upon the steel frame and wood spline beam system, which is the link between the steel frame and the panels. The SIPs provide enclosure, insulation, and the spanning capacity to support the cast-concrete floor." Photo by John Clark.
The exterior walls of the Bercy house are constructed with Thermasteel, panels made from galvanized steel and a unique resin that provide structural framing, insulation, and vapor barrier with an R-29 rating twice the required amount. The double-glazed, insulated, six-by-nine-foot doors are from Fleetwood. Photo by Denise Prince Martin.
Sliding aluminum panels on the facade of Green Orchard not only mirror the local flora, they also allow residents Fred and Edna Wadham to control how much sunlight enters their 2,150-square-foot home. Inside, the walls are padded with nearly a foot of recycled-newspaper insulation by Warmcel; the insulation in the roof goes a few columns farther—it’s a full 16 inches thick. Photo by Will Pryce.
For typography guru Erik Spiekermann and his wife, designer Susanna Dulkinys, their supersleek Berlin domicile is a place to show off a host of energy-saving features behind the scenes. Throughout the house, materials have been left in their raw forms. In the lobby-cum-garage entrance, panels of spaghetti insulation line the walls and ceiling. Photo by Pia Ulin.
The practice area in musician Rob Brill's Los Angeles House features a ’50s Wurlitzer piano and a mid-’60s Ludwig drum kit. For acoustics, the architect insulated the walls with two layers of Sheetrock stuffed with denim insulation. The floor is made of pegboard—an unusual, albeit cost-effective, material choice. Photo by Noah Webb.