In an effort to reduce it environmental footprint, the City of Phoenix, Arizona, and the American Institute of Architects’ Arizona chapter devised a design competition called Sustainable Home Design with the aim of offering the winning plan to anyone at no cost. Local architects competed to design homes that would achieve a nearly net-zero footprint—meaning it creates as much energy as it uses. More specifically, architects’ submissions had to be rated by the official Home Energy Rating System, or HERS, which measures a single-family dwelling’s energy efficiency. The lower the index score, the more green the home; the design competition asked for a HERS rating of 30, which is 70% lower than most houses.
The winner of the contest was Marlene Imirzian & Associates Architects. The studio’s affordable, three-bedroom home, dubbed HOME nz, has an impressive HERS rating of zero. The City of Phoenix has made the construction plans for HOME nz available for free to encourage the public to build more eco-friendly homes.
“The city of Phoenix has a very visionary sustainability director and department who are looking for leadership for built work in the Phoenix area,” says Imirzian. “[The] goal was to show how simple moves could result in significant [environmental] changes.”