Location: San Francisco
Program: LEED Platinum Certified Custom Home
Net pEUI: 30.83
Area: 1650sf + garage
Images: Joseph Schell, Eric Rorer
General Contractor: Creatively Built
Structural Engineer: Puns & Associates

View Plans
Watch The Video

Urban LEED Platinum

This custom home in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood, built for a technology company executive, fits snugly into its dense urban residential surroundings on a small 24′ x 75′ lot. Completed in 2014, the roughly 25′ square plan contains 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths in only 1650 sf of living space on three levels plus a two car garage and expansive roof deck with panoramic city views. A second completely remodeled guest cottage on the property completes the two unit compound. 

Built on five levels, the house echoes the scale and character of its urban neighbors, while maintaining an unabashedly modern and minimalist plan and massing. The north (street facing) facade is composed of glass, wood composite panels and stucco, providing light to the interior and extraordinary city views outward. The south facade faces a small shared yard with the cottage and is composed primarily of translucent insulated polycarbonate panels, a perfect compromise of natural light and privacy. Interior materials are simply white gypsum board walls, dark Oak hardwood floors, white lacquered cabinetry, and neutral limestone tile. A 400sf roof deck with outdoor fireplace and patch of natural planting crowns the structure. 

Despite its expansive north facing orientation, lack of exterior overhangs to the south or other visual clues often associated with “green” homes, this house is USGBC LEED Platinum certified. Its lesson is that energy efficiency and sustainability don’t necessarily have to” look” like anything; they are achievable on any site and under any conditions with the right strategies. The north-facing orientation for this house was dictated by the site and tight rear yard setbacks on the south prevented overhangs within the small building envelope. Nevertheless, a number of measures were taken to achieve the Platinum rating target, including careful modeling of cross ventilation through the house,  very high efficiency fiberglass doors and windows, a 5 cell thick translucent R7 insulated polycarbonate panels on the south wall, high-efficiency hybrid water heater for both radiant heat and domestic use, a heat recovery ventilator to capture and recycle warm air, Energy Star appliances and many more strategies to reduce waste and maximize recycled content.