The design of the Nauhaus was developed through the collaboration of a team of engineering and design professionals; the goal being the construction of an ultra-energy efficient home that utilized natural and reclaimed local materials in its construction.
Passive House: Highly Engineered Comfort
Committing to achieving Passive House certification as a standard of energy efficiency was a core component of the design program. This program was initiated in Germany in the late 1980’s and is currently the most stringent standard for reducing energy consumption and ensuring indoor air quality. The marriage of highly-engineered systems, modern building science and natural materials provided many opportunities for experimentation and education. Jeff Buscher was the driving force and genius behind the systems design of the Nauhaus; a mechanical engineer well-versed in the design of integrated systems, he brought a wealth of experience and innovation to the project.
Passive House construction does not typically include what most people would consider “natural materials”; as part of an effort toward more comprehensive sustainability, the use of local, renewable and reclaimed materials was a priority.
Hemcrete: Future Building Block
The Nauhaus uses a Hemcrete R-40wall system on all exterior walls. Portions of the interior flooring and partition walls are constructed of compressed earth block that was produced with clay from the building excavation. Clarke Snell, in a herculean effort, oversaw many aspects of the project, and was instrumental in the production and installation of the natural-build components, including the interior plasters, which were also formulated from the clay harvested on site.
Alembic Studio continues Passive Energy Tradition
Tim Callahan, a partner at Alembic Studio led the design team, with the support of co-partner Lourdes (Luly) Gonzalez who had served the Nauhaus project as Team Leader of the LEED certification process.