The owner and builder of this home is an accessibility design expert of necessity because her son’s medical condition requires it, but it is also her passion. The home has barrier free showers, side mounted faucets, lowered eating bar, wider doorways and halls, lowered light switches, raised outlets, a play room that doubles as a physical therapy space, sliding doors that require less than 5 lbs. of pressure to open and that run in tracks that are recessed into the slab to allow easy passage of a wheelchair, a pool with both a lift and a wheelchair ramp into the water, ramp access to every major entrance, raised dishwashers, wheelchair use fold-out ironing board and lots of other accommodations for accessibility. All this gave their son a level of independence he has never enjoyed before in his life making it a game changer for the whole family.
It garnered a 5 star green rating from the City of Austin and is featured on the June 7th Cool House Tour sponsored by the Texas Solar Energy Society and Austin Energy Green Building. It has solar power, heat pump water heater (which has the side benefit of cooling the garage), spray foam insulation, high efficiency heat pump HVAC, reflective metal roof, rain water collection for irrigation, a family garden, all LED lighting except for a couple of decorative fixtures, energy star appliances, low flow plumbing fixtures, no VOC paints, and concrete floors.
The most important green and energy saving features though are proper orientation to the sun and porches and large roof overhangs shading windows. Those same features give the home its clean, modern Neo-prairie style Even without reading all this, you can “feel” that it’s right for this climate just by looking at it. It settles down on the land nicely with horizontal lines and rectilinear, but not too harsh, features.