Project DescriptionSingle-Family Housing / Merit
In designing this test house, which is also his family home, architect Jörg Rügemer, Assoc. AIA, set the bar extremely high—and moderately low. “We wanted to achieve the highest possible energy-efficiency goals at market-rate cost,” he explains. Rügemer, who teaches sustainable architecture at the University of Utah, was on familiar ground. Combining Passive House guidelines, exhaustive performance modeling, and creative detailing, he produced an extraordinary house on the most ordinary of budgets.
R-values of 45, 60, and 80 (for the floor slab, walls, and roof, respectively) and a full wrap of rigid foam insulation to eliminate thermal bridging keep the house warm in winter, with minimal energy inputs beyond passive solar gain. Located in ski country at 7,000 feet above sea level, the house costs less than $300 per year to heat and cool. Spare interior detailing furthers both economic and aesthetic programs. “Cool,” is how one juror responded. “I’d live there.” —Bruce D. Snider