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In a blighted neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas, Studio 804—a design/build program at the University of Kansas—saw the perfect opportunity to create an exemplary "off-the-grid" residence that could spark a wave of revitalization while acting as a model home for sustainable building practices. In fact, 3716 Springfield is the first LEED Platinum-certified house in the Kansas City metropolitan area, with 100% of the home’s energy needs provided by renewable energy sources, including a wind turbine and photovoltaic solar panels provided by BMK Plumbing and Solar.
When constructed, the architects dedicated this green powerhouse to the public, allowing any person curious about sustainable design to tour the house—encouraging urban regeneration to grow organically from within the community.
Studio 804 took the idea of a sustainable home to the façade: The street-facing elevation is reduced to the shape of the archetypal home—a box with a pitched roof—clad in rich wood panels by Pacific Woodtech that are FSC-certified.
The home's layout was purposefully aligned toward a broad south exposure to support the home's passive solar systems. Serious Windows installed a series of operable south-facing glazings that work with exterior louvers to control sunlight and shading.
Additionally, roof-top skylights by Velux allow for stack ventilation throughout the home to keep the interior cool. Easily recognizable from the street, the home's façade, glazings, and rooftop systems visually convey the architects' environmental building standards to the public.
To minimize daily temperature fluctuation, a radiant floor system was integrated with a concrete thermal mass by Geiger Ready Mix throughout the home's interiors. When the exterior louvers and glazings are controlled to allow more daylight, Cikel's wall coverings and tiles by Diamond Tech Tiles reflect the sun's light to naturally illuminate the interiors and dazzle the eye. When artificial light is necessary, simple ceiling-mounted lights by Con-Tech Lighting can be controlled with a dimming system by The Watt Stopper to conserve the supply of renewable electricity.
Products used throughout the home also aspire to green standards. Furniture by EcoUrban and Hafele were selected for their sustainable production and modern aesthetics, while naturally derived paints and finishes from Penofin, Sherwin Williams, and US Gypsum are free of toxins.
The landscaping also reduces the home's environmental impact. The architects planted the lawn with resistant fescue sod—highly recommended in Kansas because it requires less water and mowing no fertilizers. The south side of the landscape is left open to encourage gardening, while all reclaimed materials are used for exterior hardscape surfaces.
Like the architects' vision for a sustainable, revitalized neighborhood, 3716 Springfield embodies environmentally friendly design from the ground up, considering how each feature and product can reduce the site's carbon footprint.
See the rest of this project here.