An Environmental Inn: The Arbor House Annex
By Lou Host-Jablonski

Site | Architecture | Sustainability | Interior View

The Arbor House Annex incorporates several sustainable design features.
• Modest size. The space planning is 'just right', with no wasted space. The family of five will occupy 1,100 ft2 with a single (albeit divided) bathroom, occasionally expanding into the inn's Breakfast Room for their own entertaining. Children have bed-alcoves instead of separate bedrooms. The family's kitchen also functions as the inn's kitchen.
• Deep eaves to protect walls and windows.
• Lumber is specified from regional, sustainably harvested sources wherever possible.
• No toxic-treated lumber is used for exterior decks and posts. Instead, naturally decay-resistant species are used, carefully detailed.
• Products were chosen whose manufacture demands less encapsulated energy, with less pollution. For example, floor tile is manufactured with recycled glass content, and the timber framing and wood floors are century-old recycled Douglas Fir. Insulation is recycled cellulose; interior paints are derived from plant-based chemistry (not petrochemicals).

Arbor House Annex in Winter

Energy efficiency features:
• Passive solar design.
• High-efficiency gas boiler and no mechanical air conditioning.
• Passive cooling is accomplished via a combination of strategies: timber trellises with ivy shading the southern glazing, and window blinds elsewhere; oversized eave-to ridge ventilation; thermally massive walls; design for good cross-ventilation; preserved tree cover; and ceiling fans. The owners report that the guest suites remained comfortable through the unusually muggy summer of '96, even with a meager growth of ivy.
• High insulation levels. Radiantly heated floor slabs allow lower a air temperature while still maintaining comfort.
• Heat-recovery ventilation system for fresh air is used in place of bathroom fans.

Sustainability through design for longevity:
• The building is designed for a lifespan of 100 years, minimum. One concession (due to budget) was using asphalt roofing; this, at least, contains some recycled material.
• Windows are specified with non-sealed insulating low-emissivity glazing- that is, vented removable double glazing panels. (Conventional sealed insulating glass cannot last the life of the building. Glazing seal failure in these units typically occurs in 5 to 20 years, which usually means that the entire sash is thrown away and replaced.)
• Exterior walls are constructed of Faswall. In use in Europe for 40+ years, this is an insulating (R-22 @ 12" thickness), stackable, permanent concrete formwork composed of 85% recycled wood and 15% Portland cement, with recycled foam inserts.
• Water-saving plumbing fixtures. Copper supply piping and hubless cast iron drain system; PVC piping (which creates toxic byproducts during it's manufacture) is used sparingly (only below grade).

porch railing detailAbove: The porch railing detail built from 100 year old recycled wood, as is the heavy timber structure of the Breakfast Room.

Above: The stair is Birch primarily from sustainably-harvested forests. The carpet is wool. The floor tile contains over 50% recycled glass.

Ecological construction procedures:
•The specifications encouraged the contractor to substitute recycled materials for new, where appropriate
•Contractor recycled construction waste
•Access of construction vehicles was controlled to minimize compaction of earth, avoiding damage to the root systems of the existing trees and preserving the permeability of the soil.

Site | Architecture | Sustainability | Interior View

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