We approached this project with three major objectives: first, to minimize the difficulty of construction; second, to maximize the energy efficiency of the homes; and third, perhaps most importantly, to satisfy the Crow’s desire to have a home that will help sustain their traditional family life.
These objectives were synthesized in a floor plan organized around a large, open family room that holds the kitchen, dining and living spaces. With the addition of a traditional main entry facing east, these rooms on the south side of the home are divided from the bedrooms, bathroom and utility on the north half of the building by 10” thick CEB wall whose thermal mass is specifically designed to maximize thermal performance year round.
Significant importance was placed on orientation, daylighting and passive solar heating and cooling. The roof slopes up to the south and roof overhangs were sized for summer shading. In winter, the clerestory windows are positioned to maximize the heat absorption of the interior wall mass. When combined with a well insulated double CEB exterior wall, the energy performance is substantially more efficient than is required by current building codes and industry standards, using only half as much energy as allowed, and reduced the energy costs for the average family by over 90%.
This design was unanimously approved by a 14-member tribal review board.