Meditch Murphey Architects : Marcie Meditch - Principle Architect
Developed in cooperation with Meditch Murphey Architects, Bethesda Zero was designed and built by that firm on speculation (it was not commissioned by a client). The goal was to prove that a sustainable net-zero energy house could be built and sold at a competitive market rate price. The house earned a Platinum rating under the USGBC's LEED for Homes program.
The house was carefully crafted for energy efficiency - the walls include R-7 rigid foam insulation and cross-bracing in lieu of plywood sheathing, and a soy-based spray foam insulation in the cavity (R-33 total). The roof supports a 9.5 kW solar array, as well as solar thermal collectors capable of providing 85% of the homes normal domestic hot water needs. A ground-source (geothermal) heat pump and energy-recovery ventilator make the mechanical system ultra-efficient. Rainwater is collected for irrigation, though the landscaping is also drought-tolerant. A rooftop terrace with modular green roof system helps insulate the house and control rainwater run-off. Recycled, sustainably harvested and low-VOC materials are used throughout the home's interior.
The home sold in 2008, even before construction was complete, demonstrating that there is a viable market for sustainable housing in the Washington DC market.