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Affordable and Energy-Efficient Housing Development· Novato, California

This project was in response to a design competition put forth by the City of Novato for 30 units of affordable and energy-efficient housing. The competition's stated purpose was to encourage innovations in energy efficiency. We (the firm name at that time was Beeler and Bluhm with Robert Bluhm as a partner) responded with the innovative residential use of tilt-up concrete walls between the row house units.

This fine example of integrated design provided thermal mass for passive solar heating and night time cooling, fire separation and acoustical isolation. Another innovation was the low cost solar-assisted district heating. A central solar system provided hot water for radiant heating and domestic hot water more efficiently and at lower costs and using less resources than providing 30 furnaces and 30 water heaters! The attached graph shows just the efficiency of this design.

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