Project Description

Net-Zero Hilltop Sanctuary

Nestled on a boulder filled hilltop overlooking Elfin Forest, the curved floor plan of the Barker Residence takes advantage of the site’s diverse views, including views of the Coronado Islands and the Escondido water shed. The natural landscape at the center of the hilltop was preserved as a beautiful natural garden that one passes through to reach the house entry. The siting of the house around this garden and the use of stone masonry retaining walls make the home appear to be growing out of the site. This is particularly true from the central garden where the view of the home’s arched roof plane and the two-wing layout of the house provide the subtle illusion of a bird resting on the hilltop. The integration of the architecture with the site is complimented by the owners’ careful selection of natural materials and earthen colors in the interior spaces.

The owners, a married couple who both volunteer with the local fire department, wanted the home designed to withstand the next fire that passes through. For this reason the walls of the home were built using Perform Wall panels which have a 4-hour fire rating and also have super insulating qualities. Passive solar design through the home’s layout and materials, the integration of photovoltaic panels, and a geothermal ground source heat pump enable the Barker Residence to achieve net-zero energy status.

“WE LOVE THE HOUSE… and the way the curves of the roof are lined up with our entry walkway is incredible. You Drew, did a fantastic job designing this house. Thank you very much… We LOVE this house and pinch ourselves each day to make sure it’s really ours.” – The Barkers

Sustainable Design Features:

• Passive design orients home to maximize natural daylighting and ventilation, creating comfortable spaces for the majority of the year without additional heating or cooling. Decks and roofs extend to shade western windows from hot afternoon sun.

• Orientation allows for optimal placement of rooftop photovoltaic solar panels to completely power the home and two plug-in hybrid cars.

• Standing seam metal “cool” roof reflects heat and allows solar panels to be simply snapped on. Metal roof also supports rainwater harvesting.

• Super-insulated exterior walls constructed of one-foot thick, Perform Wall insulating concrete form (ICCF) block made from 85% recycled Styrofoam and concrete. Provides excellent thermal and sound insulation, as well as high fire, mold, and termite resistance.

To learn more about our use of ICCF block and projects we have built with it, click here.

To learn more about our use of passive solar designs, click here.