The Sustainable Design Center

Bio-regionally Appropriate Architecture Collaboration and Planning for a Cleaner, Healthier Planet

DeWitt County Homestead

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Firm: Benjamin C. Obregon Architect

Project Status: Project completed in the Fall of 2010

Owner Quotes on Energy usage;

Most of the time, during the summer we only use the 2 ac zones that are the master suite and the kitchen/utility/pantry area.  We pretty much set the temp at 78-80 F and that is comfortable.  The rest of the house stays comfortable for daily use.  If we are having company or entertaining we might turn the other 2 zones on in bar, LR-DR, but not always as it stays pretty much comfortable.

The  electric bill for 4-25-11thru 5-25-11-which includes the water pump as well-was $142.00.  This breaks down like this:  Service available charge – $15.00, Delivery charge $35.88 and Gen. & Tran. Charge $91.12.  I guess the Gen.& Tran. Charge is the REAL electricity.  During the winter months, I can’t recall that we had to put the system on.  The house was comfortable.  The verandas are a great help since the summer sun hardly ever touches the windows and the South side of the house has only windows in the master bath. We have planted grape vines outside the bathroom garden walls to eventually cover the bathroom garden roof which will give us shade in the summer and drop the leaves in the winter.  We enjoy the warmth of shaded sun in the winter that comes through the bathroom windows.
The temps have been in high 90s to 104 F with no rain.  So we are in a real heat wave and have been for the last month or so.  I don’t know what the electric bill SHOULD be, but we are not complaining about the cost at this point.  Most folks with older houses are paying $400/month.

Project Description: Architect on a new 4200 S.F. home designed and located to maximize passive solar heating, cooling and natural ventilation.  The home is constructed of 2X8 studs filled with spray foam insulation. It has a clay tile roof, rainwater collection system and full length wrap around covered porches to enhance indoor-outdoor living. Guest stay in a separate building that can be closed off to lower utility cost when not in use.  The main house numerous hand carved doors, cabinets, post and other pieces or furniture/art incorporated into the design.