Cost of Building a Net-Zero Home

There’s no denying that there is an increased cost of building a Net-Zero home. At Teass Warren Architects, we believe the payback more than justifies the initial investment. This is the third post in our Net-Zero series, addressing the question of costs.  The final post will focus on how to recoup the costs, as well as measuring the performance of the house and systems.

HERS Index of Individual High Performance Elements

HERS Index of Individual High Performance Elements

During the design phase, we worked with a high performance building consultant to determine which strategies would not only be most effective, but also most cost effective.  Options were evaluated by impact on the Home Energy Rating Score (HERS) Index as well as payback costs.  The options were the bundled to assist in the decision making process.  While some of the costs associated with upgrades was accurate (for example the solar panel), other cost estimates were significantly different due to to building during the COVID pandemic and general construction inflation. Read More

Universal Design for Aging-in-Place, Before the Need Arises

It’s an undeniable fact of life: We’re all getting older. So planning ahead for the inevitable is wise during any new construction or renovation. And it won’t break the bank, either. Admittedly, discussing issues of age and accessibility isn’t always comfortable. Yet, frank conversations early in the design process are key. Incorporating Universal Design for aging-in-place and anticipatory components will ensure that your home supports you and your loved ones, whatever the future may bring.

Aging in Place Doesn’t Equate to Geriatric

If the term “aging-in-place” conjures images of unsightly, institutional spaces, think again. Many universal design strategies can be embedded in new-build or renovation plans, without compromising the design (or impacting the budget). In fact, as you’ll see below, some have become hallmarks of modern, high-end design.  Read More

Designing For Net Zero

In Part 1 of our Net Zero series, we defined “net zero” and delineated the advantages of taking the sustainable approach. This second post looks at Designing for Net Zero, using the thoughtful renovation of firm co-founder’s own Capitol Hill rowhouse as a case study. In designing or retrofitting a net-zero home, the goals are to maximize energy production and minimize energy consumption (check out our guide here: Your Very Good Home).  We worked closely with a Jay Hall and Associates to perform an energy model to develop a solution for each side of the equation.  The first steps are to estimate the home’s energy consumption and evaluate sustainable strategies for matching it.  A cost-benefit analysis helps us identify the optimal set of improvements that minimize costs and maximize pay-back, while still getting us to the goal line.  The ideal bundle looks a little different for each project.

Designing for net zero utilizing Energy model analyses

Energy model analysis

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Building a Net-Zero Home Makes Sense

Many of us want to contribute to a more sustainable future, but we aren’t sure how to make a meaningful impact. Building a net-zero home is the best place to start.  When we meet with clients to discuss building a custom home or renovating an existing one, their sustainability goals are an important part of the conversation. Pursuing net-zero energy makes sense for myriad reasons, and we encourage clients to consider it. Founding principal Will Teass, with the help of our team, walked the talk in the recent renovation of his own Capitol Hill rowhouse. Over a four-part series, we will explore what goes into creating a net-zero home, as well as some key takeaways from Will’s successful project.  Download our guide here. Read More

Renovating a mid-century modern home amid the pandemic

Undertaking a major renovation of a mid-century modern home to create a couples forever home can be a difficult task in the best of times.  Layer on the global pandemic and you have an almost impossible task.  From having to order everything online because showrooms were closed, to major delays getting products and materials, a longer construction timeline was inevitable.  We all adapted and made adjustments to the workflow to bring this house to life.  We incorporated into the design many of their must-haves to suit their current and future needs all while maintaining the building’s simple lines. Read more about the process and see more images of the house in this article in the Washington Post Real Estate Section.

Modern Kitchen Update – This Maryland Pair’s Dreamy Renovation

modern kitchen update with age in place elements


Read about our approach to kitchen design and aging in place strategies we utilized on this mid-century modern kitchen update.  It’s the perfect space to age in place and host the client’s four adult children and grandkids.  We utilized a U-Shaped center island with wide aisles all around that allow for comfortable circulation.  This is for ease of use, but also allows for universal access if mobility of the owners becomes more limited over time.   Check out the full article over at AD Clever.

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