PLUShouse
East Bay, California

This new, 2,100 s.f. house is 100% sustainable. It is located in the San Francisco East Bay on a small lot with views of the S.F. Bay.

An important requirement of the PLUShouse program is that the house be on one level, with no stairs. To comply with the 'no stair' requirement, an exterior looping ramp connects the garage / street level with the entry to the house. Once inside the house, a boomerang-shaped interior ramp presents a gradual unfolding of the house, exposing Bay views as the ramp ascends 38" from entry to public spaces. The guest room, located at the entry level and separated from the public spaces by the ramp, maintains physical and acoustic privacy. The salon, at the top of the ramp, provides space for a grand piano as well as a quartet and a small audience during recitals.

Both acoustics and solar orientation were critical in the design of the salon. Bookshelves line the salon for acoustic value, and the roof was kicked up to create non-parallel planes and to admit high north light. Protected light is admitted from high windows facing east, and expansive views of the S.F.Bay and Bridges visible through the living and dining rooms.

Another important requirement was that the house be zero net energy. Photovoltaic panels on the roof (the house is 100% electric), recycled gray water, radiant heat, and rain water captured in a 16,000 gallon water tank under the driveway, exceed the zero net energy requirement. Hence, the house was named the PLUShouse.