The phrase “tract housing” calls to mind visions of suburban sameness; row after row of nearly identical suburban dwellings promising the dream of home ownership for all who dwell there.
In Austin, TX, designer-developer-builder David Martin is turning tract housing literally on its head at Las Casas Verdes by aiming to create one of the most environmentally responsible single family communities in the South. Andersen® windows play a big role in this transformation.
At first glance, the neighborhood looks a lot like any other suburb. But, when you drive down the street, it quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary development.
Averaging 1,800 square feet, with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, the homes in Las Casas Verdes face different directions to maximize each home’s use of solar energy. Window placement is carefully calculated to optimize energy efficiency and provide privacy from neighbors. And, according to Martin, Andersen 400 Series windows give each home the best efficiency their money can buy.
The windows promote energy efficiency while enhancing the beauty of each home. The larger glass area on the 400 Series windows lets in more light, making the most of every window placement. Features include Low-E high-performance glass to help boost energy efficiency and low-maintenance exterior, to save time and cost of upkeep. Plus, windows can be ordered in custom sizes to fit the needs of any project.
In addition to energy efficient Andersen® 400 Series windows, Martin incorporated a number of other energy efficient and sustainable features into the homes at Las Casas Verdes. A 3 kilowat solar photovoltaic system is standard, as are solar thermal panels for heating water. A high-capacity rainwater collection system helps supply the household with water for toilets and the irrigation system. To help maintain an even temperature throughout the home, heat chimneys with operable windows move air through and help with ventilation. A multi-zone HVAC system uses multi-speed fans and duct controllers to cool or heat specified portions of the home, while passive solar design features, including deep roof overhangs, awnings and porches, leverage the best of old-world wisdom — good old-fashioned shade — to help regulate a home’s temperature.
Does all that mindfulness pay off? Martin, who lives with his wife in the model home, says his monthly energy bills average between $25 and $30 – about 10 percent of the average energy cost for a similarly sized, conventional home. That’s living the responsible way.