A LEED Platinum–certified single-family home, this 1,940-square-foot structure occupies a narrow infill lot on the edge of Lake Michigan. The building is a simple rectangular volume with a series of outdoor rooms such as an entry court, elevated patios, and a main-level terrace. A one-car garage with bike storage also is integrated into the volume of the house.

Oriented along the north-south axis, the house is designed to take advantage of lake breezes in the summer and high-performance, low-E, argon-filled operating windows help with cross-ventilation. During the winter, the house is mechanically ventilated with an outdoor air supply system and heat-recovery system. Heating and cooling is supplied by a geothermal ground-source heat pump with a vertical-loop system.

A hybrid building envelope featuring high-efficiency glazing and a super-insulated rainscreen system addresses a desire for transparency and the need for superior thermal performance. Along the edges of the outdoor spaces, the 8-inch-deep rainscreen transitions into a scrim of aluminum rods that create boundaries but maintain a sense of transparency. Closed-cell expanding-foam insulation provides R-values of 34 and 53 in the walls and roofs, and wood-framing techniques used decrease thermal bridging and increase insulated surface areas.

About 70 percent of the house’s electric power is generated by a 4.2kW photovoltaic system that comprises PV laminates on the roofing membranes and a freestanding array. A solar hot-water panel preheats water, whichis then distributed by insulated pipes and an on-demand pump. Interior materials were chosen with an eye toward durability, low maintenance, toxicity, and sustainable, recycled and rapidly renewable content. Near-zero construction waste was achieved.

By the numbers:

Building gross floor area: 1,940 square feet
Number of occupants: 4
Percent of the building that is daylight: 100
Percent of the building that can be ventilated or cooled with operable windows: 100
Total water used, indoors and outdoors: 13,900 gallons per year
Calculated annual potable water use: 7.16 gallons per square foot per year
Total energy (MBtu per yr): 41.7
HERS performance rating: 33
Percent total energy savings: 67
LEED rating: Platinum, LEED for Homes v.1

For more information on each project, including extended slideshows, click on the individual projects in the sidebar at left. To access a database of past Top Ten projects, visit aiatopten.org. ECO-STRUCTURE will be covering the 2011 COTE Top Ten projects in depth in its July/August issue.