Green House Plans and Eco Buildings: Menlo Passive & Green Remodel Ideas

by Linda Lenore on June 4, 2011

The first passive home in San Mateo County, Menlo Passive, has many eco housing features as part of its eco buildings and green house plans design. The brochure describes it as an "extremely comfortable, healthy, economical & sustainable" home.

Solar Hot Water System

Solar Hot Water System provides hot water as well as heating for the home.

In my previous post I shared many of the "unseen" features, which contribute to this home's status as a "zero-energy passive" home. Now let's look at some of the features, which can be seen, that you can include in a green remodel or environmental architecture makeover.

When designing eco buildings, planning ahead and thinking through the use of the house is helpful. Actually, you'll want to think through the use of the house even if it isn't a green, eco-friendly or sustainable remodel or environmental architecture planned construction. But in eco buildings, the systems become a vital and integral part of the construction needing to be addressed from the beginning. It is way too costly, and many times impossible, to retrofit these systems.

Although you may not know exactly how it works, here is a picture of the solar hot water system. It not only utilizes the sun to heat water, it provides energy for heating the home through the heat recovery ventilator system (not seen in this photo).

Heat Recovery Ventilator

Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) provides continuous fresh air while it exhausts stale air.

Part of what you see in the first photo is the "structured plumbing". By incorporating this type of system into the eco building design of a home,  it creates "zoned" hot water loops that reduce the wait time for hot water. This, in turn, saves energy and conserves water.

As part of the passive features of this home, the builder, Clarum Homes, included this Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV), which provides continuous fresh air while it exhausts stale air. It recovers 90% of the heat from the exhausted air.

A second exhaust system is installed in the home, but not tied to the HRV. It is in the garage and is used to reduce the carbon dioxide in the house. From my Feng Shui background, this is an extremely important feature, especially since the garage adjoins both the kitchen and master bedroom - two areas where clean air is a Feng Shui imperative.

Also in the garage is a plug for charging an electric car. Since there is a PV (PhotoVoltaic) system on the roof, it allows the car to utilize the smart grid technology designed into the home.

Kitchen with eco cabinets and induction cooking

This beautiful eco housing kitchen with eco-cabinets & induction cooking is both energy efficient and healthier for the occupants.

Featuring a beautiful eco housing kitchen and great room, this home contains eco-cabinets and induction cooking. The eco-cabinets are made of formaldehyde-free frames, which improves indoor air quality (IAQ). The induction cooking accelerates cooking time, eliminates carbon dioxide and saves energy.

Part of the beauty of this eco housing great room and kitchen you can't see in this photo. It is the beautiful reclaimed wood floors. As a tour day, they had it covered with heavy paper. The permeable pavers for the walkway to the front entry and driveway had not been completed leaving the entire outside area in front filled with gravel.  One couldn't help but track it in and the gravel would have severely damaged the wood with indentations and scratches.

In my next post I'll talk about eco housing features from this house a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) homeowner might choose to incorporate as part of a green remodel or even just an eco-friendly design update.



Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: