Gehrung+Graham Design Durable Net-Zero Houses for this Millennium

Homes that are certified or recognized as “passive” to achieve net-zero status produce as much energy as they consume, and consume energy in efficient ways thanks to design strategies that take advantage of light, heat, circulation, and airflow to be uniquely sustainable. The Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) has certified or pre-certified more than four million square feet of projects, most of them in the last five years. Virginia is home to 20 certified or pre-certified projects, which must secure third-party quality assurance, meet the Department of Energy’s standard for net zero energy efficiency, and gain recognition from the Environmental Protection Agency for indoor air quality, among other qualifications.

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Accessibility and Amenities Define Beachside Senior Community

In 2019, Millennials vaulted past Baby Boomers as the largest living generation. That year there were 72.1 million Americans between the ages of 23 and 38, and 71.6 million Americans between the ages of 55 and 73, according to Pew, and this trend will only continue. While their ranks are diminishing, Boomers may enjoy a trend that seems to be going in their favor: Senior communities are also booming and available in a range of options along a spectrum of care, from assisted living to independent living. As Senior Housing News recently reported, even “independent living” is becoming passé in favor of “active living” taglines.

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The Aya Alleviates Troubles for D.C. Families in Transition

The District of Columbia’s General Hospital had been an anchor institution since Thomas Jefferson’s second term until George W. Bush’s first term, and its closing in 2001 after more than 200 years sent shockwaves through the community. For one, it was the only public hospital inside the District. But, since its founding as an almshouse, it has also become a lifeline for the sick and indigent. Its final chapter, however, would not be written until 15 years after it was officially decommissioned as the de facto short-term housing option for hundreds of marginalized Washingtonians experiencing homelessness.

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Deep Energy Retrofit: Spencer Carriage House

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 1905 structure is one of the last remaining stable/carriage houses built to serve the large mansions in the Dupont Circle area. Originally horses and carriages were housed below, and servants above. Over the last hundred years the building has been used as a garage, a car dealership, a fashionable restaurant, and in its last incarnation, a popular nightclub. When the current owner acquired the building, it lay empty and exposed to rain and weather. No original interior trim or features remained and the original layout had long been abandoned.

The design team at Peabody Architects was challenged by the owners to preserve this D.C. landmark, create a home for aging in place, and achieve as close to net-zero energy use as possible without sacrifice to comfort or lifestyle.

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Batesville Net-Zero Residence: A Passive House Case Study

The Charlottesville-Virginia based firm Gehrung + Graham specializes in the design of net-zero and net-positive architecture. These high-performance buildings harness and produce at least as much energy as they require over the course of a year. Familiar with Passive House architecture and committed to lowering their energy footprint, the clients of the Batesville Residence approached Gehrung + Graham in 2013 to design their future home. They envisioned a comfortable, durable, low-maintenance, and energy-efficient house that offered a modern, warm and flowing interior with easy access to the copious garden and play space, and panoramic views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. Using an integrative team approach for design and construction, the Batesville Residence was able to achieve all of this and more: it has been outperforming its simulated energy demand since its completion in 2016.

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Mossy Rock

Fond memories of vast open spaces from the owner’s childhood in Iowa inspired the design for Mossy Rock — neatly blending the openness of a contemporary home with the simplicity of a vernacular structure.

The home, designed by Bushman Dreyfus Architects, is tucked at the end of a long field and protected by a slight rise in the land to the west. The western view capitalizes on this expansive, yet simple, meeting of sky and grass to reveal a bit of mid-western immensity hidden within the rolling central-Virginia topography.

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