Allegretti Architects Santa Fe, New Mexico
Designed by Allegretti Architects in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Desert Shadow is a 2,100 square-foot home presently under construction on a remote rural property. The dwelling will be carved into a gentle hillside on a 40-acre high desert site near Santa Fe, NM.
The structure’s energy needs will be met completely by off-grid means. An array of photovoltaic panels will provide 5 kw of electrical power, furnishing all of the home’s electrical requirements. Other sustainable features will include passive solar space heating, rainwater harvesting, permaculture landscaping, and solar heating for domestic water. Walls will be insulated to R-40 and roofs to R-80.
Further design features include a residential fire sprinkler system and radon ventilation below floor slabs. The design anticipates a HERS rating under 50 and qualifies for a New Mexico state energy tax credit.
Desert Shadow is being built by Danny Buck Construction of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Prior to the planning and construction of this new home, the Owners had lived on their property for many years in a small “yurt.” Used mainly for temporary or seasonal occupancy, yurts are circular structures lightly framed with wood lattice and covered with fabric. These traditional dwellings have been used by nomadic people of central Asia. Deciding that it was time for a change from this alternative lifestyle, the Owners upgraded and expanded their solar power plant, and began planning a new permanent home. Since they “understood what curves can do for a living space,” they decided to adopt a plan which included spaces enclosed with some curved walls.
“For us to have this kind of energy efficiency in the walls, up in the trusses, it’s unbelievable. I’ve never been in a structure like this.”
Desert Shadow incorporates the following features of sustainable architecture:
- A strong passive solar orientation supplies much of the home’s space-heating needs.
- All of the home’s electrical requirements are provided by an off-grid solar photovoltaic generating system. The system includes 5,000 watts of collector capability, high-capacity battery storage, and an AC inverter.
- The design integrates active solar domestic water heating. The system may also be used to supplement the home’s space heating needs.
- A rainwater harvesting system collects runoff from roof surfaces. Water is directed into a large storage reservoir where it serves for landscape maintenance.
- Xeriscape Landscaping materials require minimal irrigation
- An LED lighting design consumes a fraction of the electrical power of conventional incandescent and significantly less than compact fluorescent. This reduces the load on the home’s solar photovoltaic electrical system.
- Walls (R-40) and roofs (R-80) are insulated with cellulose insulation – a product which is manufactured from recycled newspaper.
- Windows are triple-glazed with a low-E sealed insulating unit and an extra storm panel.
- A venting system under the home’s slab prevents any build-up of radon gas in the home.
- Advanced framing techniques are applied. These methods reduce the quantity of framing lumber required, eliminate thermal bypass at critical areas and prevent air infiltration, convection and moisture condensation.
- The site grading is designed to provide for storm-water detention to prevent any increase in runoff.