Charlottesville is holding its own as a leader in Virginia’s green-building movement. At least that’s what we thought when we saw the list of 2007 Green Innovation Award winners recognized by the Virginia Sustainable Building Network, an organization that promotes green buildings and communities. Among them was Fred Oesch, a Schuyler architect recognized for his design of Gunn Cottage, a 1,236-square-foot, two-story home in North Garden. (While they were at it, the VSBN also bestowed an award on Siteworks, a Charlottesville design studio.)
Fred Oesch, left, has been lauded for his design of this home, the Gunn Cottage in North Garden. A green roof tops this dome.
The Gunn Cottage’s winning features include active solar hybrid design and construction, which means it pro-duces as much power as it uses, as well as natural daylighting, a living vegetated roof, and a year-round food-producing geodesic greenhouse. Other eco-design marvels include its off-the-grid photovoltaic—or solar elec-tric—power system and hydronic radiant floor heating, which is liquid-based and uses little electricity.
Prepare to reap big savings on maintenance and monthly utility bills if you opt for a Zero Energy Home like Gunn Cottage, which requires “no annual net energy cost at all,” Oesch says.
“The good news is that sustainable building can be affordable, and does not necessarily cost more than con-ventional construction, with careful design and workmanship,” he adds.