2030

2030 commitment

Jane is one of a number of architects interviewed for this article in Architectural Digest. She talks about AIA's role in combating climate change, such as the AIA 2030.

"Some firms have been grappling with these larger questions for years, while others have yet to take them into consideration at all. In 2006, the nonprofit group Architecture 2030 issued the 2030 Challenge, which seeks to make all new buildings, developments, and renovations carbon-neutral by 2030. The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 2030 Commitment brings together firms to work toward this challenge, evaluating each reporting signatory firm’s entire portfolio and collecting data on the progress being made. According to AIA President Jane Frederick, 252 out of 600 signatory firms reported data in 2018, and the reported projects had an overall predicted energy-use reduction equivalent to avoiding 17.7 million metric tons of CO2 emissions."

In our office, we are working on getting all of our energy data reported to the design data exchange for the 2030 commitment, we will blog about those results in the near future.

If you are an architect, is your firm a signatory? Are you reporting? If not, why not? Sign up here!

Read the article in Architectural Digest here:

https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/climate-change-design-architecture

Jane is currently at Carbon Positive '20 Conference and Expo. I am sure she will come back with inspiration and knowledge that will help us continue to improve in our goal to reduce the carbon footprint across our portfolio.


roof terrace

Long Cove Club Renovation

BIG changes at this Long Cove Club house on Hilton Head Island! Slide to see the before and after transformation.

 

The front exterior was refreshed by raising the existing porch roof, replacing the existing columns with new columns, all new windows, a new front door with sidelights, cable rail on the stair rail and new landscaping.

The new stair rail, by Sean Ahern of Ahern’s Anvil is so much more elegant than the existing. And who wants the HVAC return to be the first thing you see when entering the house? Not us- relocating it definitely elevates the space.

The kitchen is much brighter and more open than before, with a huge island and beautiful cabinetry.

The old pine media center just screamed 1990’s. Here the shelving and fireplace are updated for the 21st Century. Large lift and slide doors bring lots of light in and connect the interior living to the exterior.

This is where this family is going to be spending all their time! Hilton Head Living at its finest!

New outdoor living area with roll down insect screens, new brick fireplace, new roof terrace with insane views over the marshes of Broad Creek, accessed by a new spiral stair. The pool was redone, an outdoor shower added. Replacing the existing rail with cable rail really makes a huge difference!

The team and the clients are HAPPY! Thanks to Esposito Construction and to our FAB clients! What a fun project this was!

Sometimes people think that building a new house is the only way to achieve their dream home, but we are here to tell you, that sometimes a renovation is the way to go. It can be less expensive and more sustainable to rework an existing house. This Long Cove Club renovation is proof. Check out this major renovation on Fripp Island for another example of a transformative renovation.


Palmetto Bluff: On the Boards

Remember the Kessler House in Palmetto Bluff? The master plan has always included a third building, which provides a nice balance to the house. Construction is about to begin on the final phase of this project. This building houses an art studio, bicycle storage and a bedroom. Here are the preliminary drawings…

Palmetto Bluff elevation
3d drawing
floor plan palmetto bluff

Lowcountry creek

Renovation on St. Helena

This house sits on a fabulous lot overlooking Chowan Creek on St. Helena Island, but could use some improvements. The plan is choppy and the kitchen is small. The outdoor living spaces are disjointed. Our plan opens the living, dining, kitchen areas and creates a pantry/mudroom space by adding on a master suite.

Existing First Floor Plan

New First Floor Plan

Existing Second Floor Plan

New Second Floor Plan

Site Plan


Pond at Auldbrass

Auldbrass

Auldbrass pool

We had the pleasure of attending the Beaufort County Open Land Trust’s biannual tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Auldbrass Plantation, in Yemassee, South Carolina. It was a real treat to see this property. It has been so lovingly cared for, both in restoration of the original construction and in fruition of many of Wright’s plans that were never realized by the original owner.

The property is Frank Lloyd Wright’s only “plantation,” which in this case means that it is a sprawling compound with multiple outbuildings, barns and pastures. All the buildings are unassuming from the exterior, designed to fit into the landscape of large live oaks and a cypress pond. In fact, the buildings are famously devoid of right angles, the exterior walls angled to mimic the monstrous oaks that surround them.

There are a number of other design elements that reflect the locale. The Auldbrass symbol which is cut out of the clerestories throughout the house is said to be representative of the Yemassee Indians in a boat. The copper downspouts are sculptural homages to the spanish moss that drips from the oaks all around. The plan of the main house is regionally appropriate, designed to lessen the heat gain in the hot, humid climate.

Wright’s signature Cherokee red is prevalent, from the gravel (which we were told is painted to match now!) to the custom cars that Wright commissioned.

See an older post about our visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Broad Margin” house in Greenville, South Carolina by following this link.


December Construction Update

December Construction Progress

Fripp Island

The beach front house on Fripp Island is going up! Second floor walls and ceiling are being framed and the sheathing is being installed. Remember when this house was on the boards (click link to see the preliminary design)? We made some changes from that original design, which is very typical of how we work; always morphing the design to fit the clients needs, wants, and budget.

 

St. Simons Island

The house on St. Simons Island is getting pretty close to completion and is looking fantastic! Benjie visits the site once a month, since it is farther from our office than most of our projects that we visit weekly. The fireplace photo is from last month, there has been more progress, but the photo from last month was better. How gorgeous is that bookmatched quartzite stone??

 

St. Helena Island Renovation

A major renovation is under way on St. Helena's Island, see this project on the boards here.

Got to love a good dog on the job site!

 

 


3D drawing lowcountry cottage

On the Boards- Lowcountry Cottage

There is something very satisfying about a compact and efficient cottage, especially here in the lowcountry where most of us would rather be outside most of the time. This little house will serve as a guest cottage with rental potential after the owners build a bigger place on their land. It's really got everything you need though, and with all those solar panels on a house that is just over 800 square feet, you can bet it'll be net-zero!

The clients on this project are interested in using hempcrete, which is a lightweight, cementitious insulating material made from the stalks of hemp plants and lime. We are still learning about hempcrete, but it seems like a wonder-product. The raw materials are renewable, it sequesters carbon, it insulates well. We are very intrigued, and will report back about the practicality of using it.

 


Cane Island House

Our latest project on the boards is a new house on Cane Island, right down the road from our office. The clients requested a light filled spaces and clean lines. They like lowcountry style, but want a more contemporary take on the tradition. The inspiration photos they shared with us featured symmetrical elevations. Because the lot is fairly tight, we couldn't achieve perfect symmetry. We chose to bring this element in with "local symmetry" instead.

These are the drawings for the Cane Island House. The site plan is where we start, then we create floor plans and elevations, along with a large pile of balled-up tracing paper in the recycling bin.


master bathroom

Master Bath renovation

Before & After

Here is a master bath renovation that we completed a couple of years ago in the Shrimp Pond house. The Shrimp Pond house is at Spring Island, South Carolina. We designed the house in the 90's, then new owners hired us for the Shrimp Pond Studio addition and for a remodel of the master bath.

See the side-by-side comparisons in this master bath renovation:

Shower:

The addition of the round window in the shower and the new tile make it so much brighter and prettier.

Vanity:

master bath floating vanity

The floating vanity gives the space a contemporary feel. It's a cleaner aesthetic, and easier to clean too!

Tub:

free standing tub

The tub area is updated by swapping the drop in tub for a free standing tub, new tile and losing that dated brick accent wall.


Rooftop Solar in South Carolina

The state legislature passed a bill this week that signals a win for rooftop solar in South Carolina! It's called the SC Energy Freedom Act. The bill will allow the expansion of the solar market, both large scale and for residential installations.

Solar panels on custom spring island house
This house on Spring Island has a 10.50 kW solar array

In 2014, a state law passed that made South Carolina a viable market for solar power by enacting tax credits and net-metering requirements. To appease the power companies, the 2014 law included restrictions (or caps) on the amount of rooftop solar allowed in the service areas of SCE&G (now Dominion Energy) & Duke Power. These caps were reached this Spring. Without the bill that passed this week, the solar market would have collapsed in SC because net-metering would no longer have the same benefits.

What is Net-metering?

Net-metering is the process by which a home with rooftop solar sells excess energy to the utility company, and draws energy from the grid when the solar system is not producing energy (like at night). The customer will always have electricity, provided the grid is functioning properly. The new legislation requires that the utility companies buy power from customers producing excess energy at the same rate that they sell to consumers.

What about battery storage for solar energy?

Batteries like the Tesla Powerwall can be connected to solar panels to store excess energy. At times when the solar panels are not producing energy, the consumer can tap into the energy stored in the battery. These batteries are really cool, but they may not be practical for the average consumer. They are expensive and one battery probably does not have the capacity to power a whole house. The technology is rapidly advancing, and battery backup may soon be a more practical option. We have a number of clients who have installed solar connected batteries in order to keep essential appliances and lights on in the event of power failure. In our hurricane prone area, I think this approach is smart. Often, the days following a major storm are sunny, but it may take utility companies days to weeks to restore power. A house with a solar array + battery would be sitting pretty!

Two Tesla Powerwall2 batteries at a recent project
Two Tesla Powerwall2 batteries at a recent project

Net-metering is an essential piece of the growth of solar power in South Carolina. I congratulate the legislators that championed this bill. Alternative, renewable energy will continue to be a sound choice for South Carolinian's; both for our wallets and for our environment!