When I was teaching architecture and sustainability, I would tell my students to strive for the “sweet spot”. It’s a point you hit in your design where the project begins to design itself, solving its own problems - almost like it comes alive.
Good design does that; by making solid, well-founded decisions right out of the gate, the framework that you create presents you with solutions for any challenge that comes up. Whether it’s the ordering geometry, a structural system or a deeply rooted parti, those initial rules that you set up take on a life of their own and the design itself will give you the answers.
This phenomenon was front and center in my mind when we got the news last week that PHNX1, in Santa Clarita, acquired official Net-Zero status - by achieving a “0” Total Energy Design Rating (EDR) in our Title 24 Energy Report, prepared by EnergySoft. As any Title 24 energy consultant in California can tell you, a “0” Total EDR is rare, if not unheard of. PHNX1 was the first and only net-zero home our EnergySoft consultant had ever seen.
We knew that PHNX Homes are efficient and were “conceptually” net-zero, but having that official score is definitely a sustainability success to be celebrated!
And - we haven’t stopped there! One of our PHNX Homes currently in design is our first home to pursue a CalGreen Tier 1/2 designation. Again, to our happy amazement, almost every measure required to achieve Tier 2 is a standard feature of a PHNX Home. The few remaining measures are minor enough that they will not significantly affect cost or design, and will be incorporated as standard in future PHNX projects.
PHNX Development has hit the sweet spot - with “net-zero” effort, our solid design work has delivered a concept that truly is sustainable, in every sense of the word. Whether it’s efficiency, waste, durability or reuse of materials, PHNX Homes tread lightly on the planet, but with dramatic impact on the future of design, construction and sustainability!