This infill single family residence + detached granny flat steps up the rocky terrain at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains, in Palm Springs CA. The home is designed to work in harmony with the sloping site and seasonal climatic patterns. The long east/west axis maximizes southern exposure (passive winter heating) and minimizes east/west (hot summer sun) exposure. This orientation, along with the detached garage creates courtyard living and permits seamless outdoor connections protected from strong and often hot northwest winds.
Site design minimized export of boulders & cobble and allowed for the preservation of the natural topography, plants & trees. Grade changes were achieved with 24” concrete block retaining walls that support the slab. This exposed mass (block and slab) was the key to year-round thermal comfort. Completing the thermal envelope is spray foam insulation that seals air gaps.
A 6kW photovoltaic system shades the roof and reduces electrical demand by +100%. Tankless hot water decreases natural gas usage and high efficiency fixtures (toilets, showers, faucets) minimize water consumption.
The home was in the Leadership in Energy & Environment Design (LEED) for Homes pilot program sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council and was certified LEED Platinum on 05.12.09.