Karuna House is an ambitious sustainable design project intended to meet a combination of the world’s most demanding green building certifications. The project is the first MINERGIE-certified home in North America, earning the top rating of MINERGIE-P-ECO. Additionally, it has achieved Passive House PHIUS+, LEED for Homes Platinum, and Net Zero energy use, by incorporating onsite solar panels. It is expected to be one of the few homes in the world certified by both MINERGIE and Passive House Institute US.
While achieving the environmental sustainability requirements of the project, the home successfully maintains a rigorous form that responds to the client’s programmatic needs. Located on the southern slope of a mountain overlooking the Willamette Valley’s rich wine region, Karuna House provides spectacular views of the hills and the town below. The building’s components are rooted to the hillside and step down in accordance with the sloping site, and the home is oriented to maximize the effect of the passive solar strategy.
The super-insulated envelope is designed to be airtight. Solar heat gain is controlled through the use of exterior operable blinds that shade triple-glazed wood windows. Heating, cooling, and hot water are supplied by an efficient heat pump system, and a heat recovery ventilator provides the spaces with a continuous supply of fresh, preheated air. The home’s tight building enclosure is expected to result in the usage of 90% less heating and cooling energy than a typical home.