Designing for Sustainability
Sustainable design extends beyond energy savings, as one homeowner in Coralville can attest. Her home on Flintshire View is built to last, both because of the materials used and because it meets the needs of its residents and those with disabilities. It is comfortable and convenient: wide hallways, zero-step entries, and a full bathroom on every level make the home a welcoming space for everyone.
Influenced by Sarah Susanka’s building philosophy from The Not So Big House, the home’s design creates a sense of space without adding square footage, with sight lines between rooms and well-placed windows. The open concept living area is flooded with daylight, and it flows seamlessly to a deck with sweeping views of a wooded area and pond. Built-ins minimize the need for extra furniture, and a dedicated “away room” provides a quiet, personal space for guests or projects.
Local builder Don Otto, of DPO Construction, constructed the residence with integrated energy saving features. The home is oriented to minimize environmental impact—both inside and out. It is designed for passive solar heating, and its south-facing windows allow for natural heat gain in winter. In the summer, deck overhangs provide shade, reducing the need for air conditioning. The home includes triple-pane windows, a geothermal heating system, and structural insulated panels (SIPs) for a tight building “envelope.” An energy recovery ventilation (ERV) system ensures easier breathing with fresh, filtered air, while radiant in-floor heating keeps residents and guests comfortable on the lower level.
The homeowner says she can’t choose a favorite among this house’s many energy-saving features. “The building itself is green, air-tight from the foundation to the sprayed foam insulation in the attic,” she explains. “The geothermal heating and cooling system is a big energy saver, and so quiet inside the home and outside because there is no noisy outdoor air conditioner.” She adds, “Imagine having your heating and cooling bill bring a smile to your face when it arrives.”
For this local resident, sustainability meant designing a home flexible enough to serve its residents’ varied needs and “smart” enough to minimize its impact on the environment.
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Verne Folkmann, | REALTOR®