I love Berkeley...it has a great vibe and some great food right next to campus. I don't remember the name but there is a great Indian food place just west of campus. The na'an and tiki marsala were awesome. As I got to thinking about it, what better place than Berkeley to build (or rather reconstruct) a spacious, recycled, modern-designed, totally energy-efficient home? I get the feeling that if I were to drive a Chevy Tahoe down main street towards campus, everyone would put down their coffee lattes (made of recycled cups) and point me back in the direction of the Lone Star State!
Berkeley is great though and it is home to one of many low impact homes. The Parlette residence is a prime example. Build by Wilson Associates, you can see, the house not only looks great (nice modern, open air design) but if stat sheets could kill, this one would. Not only does it have a very stylish architecture, it was rebuilt so as to take advantage of as much natural light as possible. If you have ever been to Berkeley, you will have noticed that the house are packed together pretty tight on every street...leaving little room to capture sunlight on the sides of the house. So alternative provisions must be made to allow light in. In the Parlette residence's case, huge glass windows on the front and back of the house were installed, as was a skylight on the roof, which allows the core of the house to receive lots of natural sunlight and energy.
For me, that is one of the most important features of any house...feeling comfortable in your home with plenty of sunshine. It just makes me feel alive. Don't get me wrong, every house should have a "cave-like" room where no sunlight enters. Perfect for sleeping late or watching movies.
Here are a few other features of the Parlette residence: bamboo flooring, reclaimed wood beams, low-E glass high-performance windows, active (solar panels) and passive solar strategies, cross ventilation from strategic window placement, spray-foam insulation, energy-efficient furnace, 100% wool carpet with recycled pad, recycled plastic tiles in the bathrooms, low VOC paint, TREX composite plastic on the window frames and recycled plastic in the concrete counters. Very Cool!