We designed this Positive NRG Triplex™ in response to a design contest for student designers sponsored by Dow Chemical. We are not students, so we did not enter the contest, but were intrigued by the challenge: Design an affordable and sustainable multi-family-attached home, to house three families. One unit is for a couple, one for a typical family of four, and one for an extended family of six, with at least one handicapped or elderly person. The building should be near zero-energy, yet built in an affordable price range, and it had to fit on a particular lot size, shape, and with shading restrictions placed on it by certain surrounding buildings.
We asked ourselves why only near zero-energy? Why not WAY below net zero-energy? We can build this multi family building to also power the occupant’s vehicles. So we did. The small unit will provide up to 12,000 miles per year of vehicle operation, the largest about double that, and the middle-sized unit is somewhere in between, depending on your specific climate zone. We energy modeled this townhome style building in Seattle, Washington.
One of the beauties of this design is that any one of the units can be uesd by itself, in tandem with others like it, or in any combination with any of the other units. The three-bedroom shown here on the West end of the building has been designed with its entry on the west end of the building, but the over-all design works best with all the entries on the North. This change was made only to fit the particular lot requirements of the contest. Similar changes can be made to either of the other units, if the individual site demands end-unit entries. This plan will be the zero-energy developer’s dream!
Since this plan was posted on our website, we have been asked to use it as the basis for several other townhome projects, and it is becoming the benchmark for how townhomes will be built in the future!