Bionic Houses - Smoke Tree House



Architect Suzanne Zahr Fleming's Smoke Tree Lane home in Palm Springs

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID BLANK

SMOKE TREE HOUSE

Architect Suzanne Zahr Fleming, who designed a house on Smoke Tree Lane in Palm Springs, suggests going green simply means good design. “The most effective way to promote energy efficiency is to design a house that takes full advantage of natural light, passive solar energy, shading, cross-ventilation, and efficient space planning,” she says. “Doing so — by studying sun angles, prevailing winds, and general site orientation — reduces the overall energy load required to live comfortably. Once these fundamental architectural moves are established, design and specification of artificial lighting and interior climate control enhance the overall efficiency.”

Fleming uses all cellulosic materials to ensure durability and to eliminate the threat of termites. Concrete masonry walls with stone veneer and concrete floors absorb heat when it’s warm and release it when it’s cold. Solar photovoltaic panels capture energy for the annual electrical load, yielding a net-zero energy house.

The roofing product, called eco-shake, is made of 100 percent recycled tires and visually draws a comparison to weathered cedar shakes.

The house participated in the LEED for Homes Pilot Program with the U.S. Green Building Council. The program requires third-party verification that ensures the design meets stringent standards. Although it’s a costly proposition, the savings in energy and resources typically returns the owner’s investment in five to seven years.


FEATURES:
• Indoor air quality using HEPA filters and sealing air ducts
• Energy-efficient lighting (including occupancy sensors)
• Nontoxic pest control
• Environmentally preferable products
• Site orientation
• Thermal mass walls and floors
• Saline pool and spa
• Kiva fireplaces
• Sustainable landscaping

Ready, aim, fire! The phrase almost trivializes the tedium architects endure when designing “smart” houses in the desert. After homeowners declare themselves “ready” to build with sustainable materials and energy-efficient features, architects “aim” the structure, accounting for the angles of the sun and the direction of the wind during the season. Then they “fire” up construction with autonomous features.

These bionic houses sometimes come at a bold price (but they don’t have to), and they begin paying back through eco-conscious features, such as tankless water heaters, solar photovoltaic panels, and energy-efficient lighting.

We visited three houses — two in Palm Springs and one in Pioneertown in the High Desert — whose owners are committed to preserving and conserving and asked their architects to talk about their designs.
 

Comments to this website are moderated by staff. While all comments are welcome, we encourage all to be polite and please do use this system for advertising or business promotions. Any complaint towards a business or service should be directed directly to that business and not posted here. If anyone has a complaint that a comment is defamatory, please contact me at tmay@palmspringslife.com and I will take appropriate action promptly. Thank You

Add your comment:
Palm Springs Life

Related Articles

Coachella Valley Real Estate Market is a Demographic 'Super Mix'

The Coachella Valley is an eclectic mix of peoples, lifestyles, backgrounds, ages, incomes and wealth – a demographic super mix from all over the country and even the world.

H3K Design Restores Midcentury Splendor to Palm Springs Home

Howard Hawkes and Kevin Kemper of H3K Design have restored a Palm Springs home in the Twin Palms neighborhood back to its original midcentury splendor, but in a very 21st-century fashion.

Kyle Richards of 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Buys La Quinta House

Kyle Richards of 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' and her husband Mauricio Umansky have bought a house in La Quinta.

Toscana Country Club Creates Friendships with No Borders

Toscana Country Club is on a roll with 40 home sales so far this year and a total sales volume of more than $74 million.

Super Tuscan

Behind the gates of the Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells, amid palm, olive, and citrus trees, the rustic elegance of Italian, Spanish, and Early California–style architecture reigns supreme.

Promotions + Contests

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couple’s getaway
90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Each month, a first place winner will be selected to win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!And, each month, three additional runners up will be selected to win a wonderful Palm Springs area Dining certificate!
2013/14 Best of the Best

2013/14 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.