Architectural Services

OH Architecture, PC offers a broad range of design expertise in residential and commercial architecture providing creative designs for your home or business.

Case Study: Emerson St. House

Explore this case study to see the evolution from the old dilapidated look to the fresh appeal of the rebuilt house.

 

Solar Design Concepts

Passive Solar

Passive solar means the time-honored siting of the house on the property so that it's orientation is within 15 degrees of south, reducing north-facing windows sizes, and using overhangs to temper the hot afternoon summer solar gain. Also heavy thermal masses can be utilized to store the heat in floors or low walls. This energy is then released during the cooler evenings and night when it is most needed.

Active Solar

Active solar includes using photo-voltaic panels (PV) to generate electricity, incorporating solar water panels to provide domestic hot water for shower and for radiant heat. PV systems are sized specifically for the house but range in the 2 kilowatts (KW) to 3 KWs system and cost in the $20k range. However, state and new federal tax credits are available to substantially off set the costs for PV systems. Radiant heated floors and baseboard wall units are substituted in lieu of electric and gas furnaces forced-air systems. Not only can these system’s hot water be supplied from roof mounted panels, people also tends to perceive the warmth given off by these systems more readily than from forced air systems.

Geo-Thermal Systems

Geo-thermal systems utilizes coils of flexible piping dug in trenches on the property, or dug vertically, or placed in ponds. The energy in the water is extracted through a heat pump in the house and is used for both cooling and heating, by reversing the cycle of the pump. These system are extremely reliable, not dependent on the vagaries of the sun and provides 100% of heating and cooling through-out the year. These systems generally range from $15k in-pond systems to around $30k in-ground system.

Construction Techniques

Construction techniques can be used to reduce cooling and to reduce or minimize unwanted moisture and radon in the house. Rain screen walls are exterior walls that have an offset siding attached to vertical purloins attached to the sheathing on the exterior of the studs. The resulting cavity provides two things: cooling by setting up a chimney stack effect by drawing in air at the bottom of the wall and venting at the top (below the soffit) and also equalizing the pressure with in the wall. This prevents wind-driven rain (moisture) from migrating into the main wall cavity and insulation. Also moisture can be minimized by putting a heavier membrane in the crawl space, completely sealing off the moisture in the ground from migrating into the house.

Radon

Radon, if present can be mitigated by sealing off the crawl space, or separating the ground from a slab-on-grade via the installation of 4-mil reinforced membrane. A 4” ABS or raindrain pipe is installed in the ground, going through unbroken through the house and through the roof to vent radon gas. A fan maybe installed in the crawl space or attic if required, but generally the stack effect is sufficient to draw the gas upward and out.

Enviromental Finishes

Finally less-impactive manufactured finishes or recycled products can be furnished as finishes. These products includes cork floors, linoleum floors, wool carpeting, recycled glass tiles, recycled and salvaged wood.

Solar & Sustainable Architecture

We encourage all of our clients to consider and incorporate many strategies to lessen the impact on the environment. These strategies includes energy efficiency, solar, using green materials requiring less-impactive manufacturing processes and mitigating radon.

Most energy efficiency techniques are now either required by state energy codes or fairly typical to current construction methods. However OHA is requiring as part of the specifications to seal all joints, and using special energy-efficient framing techniques.