Maximizing Energy Efficiency, Minimizing Maintenance
Karen Boden started Essential 3, LLC to help her clients design homes that perfectly match their individuality and that were as beautiful as they were practical. As a Certified Green Professional, promoting “green” building design and understanding the most economical means of achieving sustainable construction is fundamental to her mission.
“Essential 3 incorporates site orientation, energy efficiency, water and resource conservation, sustainable or recycled products, and indoor air quality into our home designs. We try to consider all of these things and work with our clients to establish how green they want to go,” she says.
When it came time for Karen and her husband Jeff to design and build their own home in the rolling hills north of Wimberley, Texas, they had two main priorities: build sustainably and make the home as maintenance-free as possible. Early in the design process, Karen and Jeff decided they wanted to use Bautex insulating concrete block (ICB) for their home. They understood that by using the Bautex Wall System for the exterior walls, they would maximize the energy efficiency of their home and would also benefit from having a durable and low maintenance home.
Karen and Jeff wanted a builder who had experience building with Bautex, and so began collaborating with Khair Zaman of Z Works Design Build for the construction of the home. Even though the owners were home designers, there was great value in working with a design-build contractor who was an architect by training and a contractor who understood how to get the most performance out of the Bautex Wall System.
The residence is a one-story structure built on the north-facing slope of a hill with incredible views of the Texas hill country. The main living space is built over two large rainwater cisterns that are fully hidden and integrated into the foundation of the home. The cisterns have a combined capacity of 35,000 gallons and provide more than enough water supply for the family for all their needs.
Storing the water inside the home eliminated the need for a large, above-ground tank that would have obstructed the building site. The water also serves as a temperature buffer, making the interior temperatures more stable and helping to reduce the cost of heating and cooling the home throughout the year.
The home was designed to be net-zero energy ready from day one without having to make any upgrades in the future. Once the photovoltaic solar panels are installed, the owners anticipate being able to provide energy back to the electrical grid and completely eliminate their energy charges.
Durability and low maintenance were top of mind when designing this home. To that end, the exterior of the Bautex walls were sealed with the Bautex AMB 20 Air and Moisture Barrier and then finished with the StuccoMax® abuse-resistant exterior wall finish system. Some portions of the exterior walls were finished with 24-gauge powder-coated metal siding panels. All of these finishes will provide decades of maintenance-free performance.
Karen and Jeff still have a few years left in their professional careers, but they know that they have set themselves up well for their future retirement with this high performing, lovely Texas hill country home.
Check out the rest of the Bautex website more information on using the Bautex Wall System for your next home.