Site Sustainability

architects, cleveland, washington, sustainability, residential designThe site is located on Cleveland’s near westside within the historic neighborhood called Ohio City, across the Cuyahoga River from Cleveland’s Public Square. It is 37 blocks west and 22 blocks south of Cleveland’s geographic center. The site is within two city blocks of bus transportation that connects to Cleveland’s light rail transportation, providing transportation throughout the city and directly to the city’s international airport. It is also located within a seven-block radius of four interstate highways and within two miles of the great inland sea named Lake Erie.

The Ohio City neighborhood is a city within a city. In addition to its wide range of housing options, it has its own “downtown” complete with retail, restaurants, and businesses. The site is within easy walking distance of over three dozen “neighborhood” amenities including parks, banks, retail stores, dry cleaners, schools, churches, a library, restaurants, business establishments, one of the country’s largest urban farms, and grocery stores including the world renowned Westside Market. This neighborhood is also very bicycle friendly. With almost everything I need and desire within walking distance or an easy bicycle ride, my reliance on the automobile greatly diminished. We all know how that translates into leaving it better.

The site itself is conducive to an east-west orientation allowing for maximum sun and prevailing wind exposure. Its soil is sandy loam providing excellent drainage and the ability to be easily sculpted.

This design sculpts the manmade and the natural worlds as one. The house becomes “of the Earth, not on the Earth” allowing it to easily incorporate natural phenomena for heating, cooling, insulation, and ventilation. The specific site conditions, naturally occurring phenomena, the neighborhood’s historic architectural “character”, local construction methods, and my “dreams” have influenced the form, scale, sustainability, and cost of this geometrically simple structure. Although the final calculations have yet to be completed, it is estimated this house will consume approximately 50% less energy than consumed by a conventional house built using current standards.

The home’s exterior materials are renewable, recyclable, and virtually maintenance free. The paved surfaces are porous and the vegetation is native. Storm water is collected and used for irrigation.  In addition to saving me money on utilities and maintenance, this house also protects our great Lake Erie.

Take a moment to imagine living in a home that does not need to be painted, the lawn cut, or the garden watered. What do you do with all of this spare time and money? Got any ideas?