PureBlue Home Demonstrates Net Zero Energy and Water Efficiency

PureBlue Home Demonstrates Net Zero Energy and Water Efficiency

Brookfield Residential built its PureBlue Home in the Washington, D.C., metro area to demonstrate a net-zero-energy and water-efficient home with mass-market appeal.
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PureBlue Home

Green Builder Media

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - 8:30am

CAMPAIGN: Ethical and Sustainable Living

CONTENT: Article

As a community homebuilder and land developer with a presence across the country and in Canada, one of Brookfield Residential’s biggest objectives had been to find new ways of becoming a more sustainable company. What resulted was the PureBlue Home, a concept home in the Washington, D.C., metro area completed in March this year. The main goal? To design a home with zero energy bills and reduced water demand. With a HERS score of -1, the house has already demonstrated high performance.

“The challenge of building a net-zero house in a standard community—that’s a big challenge. And in a mixed climate, that’s an achievement in itself,” says Mark Leahy, president of Pinnacle Design and Consulting and architect for the PureBlue Home.

Although the team had a lot of flexibility to play with the design, it was Leahy who helped narrow down what has become a very popular floor plan for the demo house.

In the case of community housing, one of the first goals was to fit a super energy-efficient (net-zero-energy, in this case) design into the parameters of a standard lot. Because the team also wanted to focus on livability and to create a design that was truly replicable, the PureBlue Home became an open plan.

“It’s easy to do a one-off, but how do you get that mass-market appeal?” says Leahy. “We wanted to focus in on how folks really live, how to make it more livable, like with the floor plan. People don’t really use a formal living room and dining room anymore, so we designed a great room, a large central space with nine-foot ceilings.”

The 4,033-square-foot home includes three bedrooms, with the option for a fourth. In addition, the house features a home office tucked away from the main space—a necessity for the increasing number of people working from home. “And if you can keep people off the roads, you’re using less fuel for cars,” adds Marc Dalessio, production manager at Brookfield Residential.

The PureBlue team tried to achieve net-zero energy without “throwing a bunch of technology into the game,” says Leahy. “Part of the design involved making the energy envelope as tight as possible. So we created a simple box to seal up any penetrations into the house.” The footprint, essentially a simple rectangle, also conserves materials.