Designed and Built for High Performance

The Desert Comfort Experience Home was designed with the understanding that a high-performance home depends first on reduced energy demand and a durable, airtight building envelope.
Desert Comfort Home

Achieving a high-performance, net-zero home requires a whole-house approach that integrates all products and systems to lower the overall energy demand (or load) to enables an efficient onsite renewable energy system to offset grid-delivered electricity.

The building envelope, energy-using systems and products, potable water and landscape irrigation systems, indoor air quality solutions, and connected/smart technologies all must work together.

Building Envelope

A thoughtful approach to material selection considers not only thermal performance and structural aspects of building envelope components, but also their long-term durability and the environmental cost of extraction and manufacturing.

The Desert Comfort Experience Home envelope is constructed using a strategic combination of insulated concrete forms (ICFs), structural insulated panels (SIPs), mineral wool insulation, and advanced flashing and weather protection.

The enclosure also features triple- and quad-glazed window and door systems; slab insulation systems and strategies; foundation water management systems, roof membrane systems; an airtight enclosure design using AeroBarrier; and cladding systems using Corten steel, board- form poured concrete, stone, and wood.

The enclosure emphasizes the importance of correct detailing to manage moisture and control airflow, and the team has taken care to document and narrate these critical details as they are implemented.

Energy Systems

The energy systems of the house are designed with comfort, occupant health, and efficiency in mind.

The building works with its environment, using passive solar design principles to take advantage of solar gain in winter and to limit it in summer—a discipline enhanced by orienting the main part of home on an east-west axis with ample south-facing fenestration. Advanced automated shading systems supplement that endeavor, as needed.

High-efficiency, low-velocity mini-split heat pumps and an optimized air distribution system work in tandem with an energy recovery ventilator (ERV), controlled localized ventilation, HEPA filtration systems, and pressure-balancing technologies ensure the cleanest indoor air at the lowest energy cost.

The rooftop photovoltaic system will generate enough electrical energy to power the home and its systems, and onsite battery storage will add a measure of resilience and allow for demand response.

Water Systems and Landscaping

Mindful of the precious scarcity of water in the desert, the landscaping will feature native plants adapted to the environment. The house also will feature onsite rainwater capture and storage for landscape irrigation, while a programmable irrigation system will ensure that plants receive water only when they need it.

Other water-saving features include grey water recovery systems and filtration systems to ensure water quality and health.

Indoor Air Quality

The home incorporates direct connections to the outdoor environment to enhance the well-being of the owners and their guests. Nontoxic and non-emitting materials dovetail careful detailing to deliver superb moisture management and superior indoor air quality. The mechanical systems include room-to-room ventilation control with HEPA filtration

Connected Technologies

The Desert Comfort Experience Home is also a “smart” home that responds to its occupants and the environment. Intelligent lighting systems, indoor air quality monitoring, and room-to-room ventilation control are part of a system of connected technologies for convenience, efficiency, and comfort.