Four Seasons 2: David & Susan
Super sunny dining. Small footprint. Large living area. 4 BR. 2 story. 2294 s.f.
The Four Seasons 2 is super sunny with its large windows and airy rooms that the homeowners love.
"Comfort, light, and energy efficiency" are the qualities that David and Susan like best about their house. Their favorite spaces are the central dining sunspace, master bedroom, and west screened porch. 'We enjoy the house very much and constantly receive compliments from others who enjoy looking at it, too. (Our town) has had two ice storms this winter with power outages, as well as a transformer explosion that also knocked the power out on a bitterly cold day. We were so happy to be in this house on each occasion, with sun, solar mass, and our wood stove keeping us very comfortable.'"
SunPlans adapted and updated a house plan from our first passive solar house plan book published in the 1990's to create the Four Seasons 2. The Davis' narrow south-facing (the front of the home had to face south) lot dictated that the garage be located below the house and the south side be modified to be the front - a typical adaptation that makes a home fit on an otherwise unsuitable lot
Bill Pomarico of Pomarico Construction in Cary, North Carolina finished the home in May 2002. The basement is not heated, but it does have interior rigid insulation which is a part of the www.superiorwalls.com foundation wall system. The first and second floor exterior stud walls are framed with 2x6’s and filled with cellulose insulation. The roof has carefully fitted fiberglass batt insulation between the rafters. The attic space and the cavity space above the rafters were both vented. (If foam had been used, the cavity would probably not have been vented.) Thermal mass is in the tile covered floors and 8 inch interior concrete block walls covered with ½” of sheet rock on both exposed sides.
The auxiliary mechanical systems are two air-to-air Trane heat pumps - one for each floor, although one system probably would have worked too. They were designed and installed by Rusty Holder of Holder Mech. Designs, Inc. A wood stove is used on winter nights and weekends when temperatures are below normal or there is not much sun. The thermostat is kept on 68 degrees in winter, and 78 degrees in summer. The mechanical system is not used in April, May, September, and October. The windows are open in those four months except April (due to pollen). On summer nights it is not cost effective to leave the windows open and have the air conditioning remove the extra humidity during the day. Ceiling fans are used regularly in summer. They are also used in winter to distribute heat from the wood stove. The entire house is powered by electricity and the energy costs are far below other homes in the area.
Regarding comfort, the inside temperatures are just right in spring, summer, and fall. In winter, the living room sometimes gets too warm when the wood stove is used. None of the rooms feel too bright, but since most rooms open to the central sun space dining area, sound carries throughout the house. Some families like that aspect. Cloth tapestries on non-solar walls and accent throw rugs as well as soft furniture would reduce sound transmission.