- Solar panels
- Clay roof with lighter colors for best reflective properties
- Thermal barrier in roof
- Windows minimized and shaded on the hot West side
- Lots of thermal mass inside house
- Argon filled windows
- Chimney effect airflow (warmer air goes up and out)
- AC unit on the shady side of the house
- Efficient lighting
- Energy Star appliances
- Heat and AC ducts inside the house envelope
The list goes on. Our goal was to get our use of AC use down to a few days per summer. This design should get us there. (For comparison, my current office is in a townhouse that is only 5-years old and I have to run the AC full-blast for about 9 months a year.)
As far as the living spaces, we did some interesting things there too. We built a small cat's bathroom for the litter boxes. And we have a Christmas tree storage closet just off the room where the tree will be displayed in December. Now I just need to talk my wife into using an artificial tree and we're all set.
We don't have a fancy foyer inside the house. That would be a waste to heat and cool. No one lives in a foyer. Instead we have a turret around the front door, so the initial visual appeal comes before you enter the conditioned part of the house.
We didn't want a formal dining room that only gets used twice a year. Our dining area will be relatively informal and just off the kitchen, serving as both the everyday table and where we entertain. I don't want any visitors who feel they are too fancy to eat where we eat.
My office will be in the house. I won't be driving to work every day and adding to the carbon overload.
The back yard will be artificial turf. Water is a big issue in California. The newer artificial grasses are impressive.
Those are a few of the features. Maybe someday you'll see the rest on Cribs.