Austin’s First LEED® Platinum Home

Where other than in Austin would the state’s first platinum certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) home be located?  In addition to being a LEED® platinum level certified home, Tonalacalli, the House of Sun and Water, is a Five Star rated home by the Austin Green Building Program.  The environment and being a good, responsible neighbor were foremost considerations in every aspect of the design and construction of the one and a half story spectacular home, office and studio.The home is situated with an elongated east-west exposure to allow the extensive south and west porches shade from the summer’s heat and warmth in the winter.  The four-bedroom two and a half bath residence will be used as a home-studio-office by the current owners.The home’s design called for capturing the terrain and site’s microclimate to help create a low energy consumption environment and a low maintenance dwelling.  Local, durable and natural materials were used.  The use of these materials also allowed the project to stay within budget.The first floor features well-insulted aerated autoclave concrete walls with mud plastered on the interior and stucco finish on the exterior.  The upper level has beautiful vaulted spaces for the bedrooms-office-studio setup while the walls have 2 x 6 foam insulation with textured and painted sheetrock finish.  The upper level exterior walls sport a stained fiber cement finish.The LEED® certified roofing plan included a standing seam metal on foam insulated wood framing.  The roof seeks to retain the circulating air and reduce stress on the heating and cooling systems.The home’s interior finishes include wood flooring milled form reclaimed long leaf pine along with the stained concrete and clay tiles.  The flowing stone walkways and garden walls utilized the re-cycled stone from the foundation and from other excavation sites.  The interior wood trim, columns and exposed wood beams are made from central Texas woods.  The bathroom cabinets are of Texas mesquite.Attached to the carport-workshop is a 200 square foot passive-designed greenhouse.  The passive design includes a wind assisted thermal chimney for naturally ventilated cooling and the passive solar wintertime heating.  The native landscape is supplemented by a native stone walkway and courtyard.  Tonalacalli may seem like a walk in the park, but it is more than that.  The home is a credit to the owners, the architects, the builders, the City of Austin and shows the value of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® program when it is applied to residential use.  Congratulations!

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