The province of British Colum­bia can now boast that it has its first ENERGY STAR Qual­i­fied home, located in Nel­son, BC. Mag­no­lia 2300 (as it has been named) is the home of the own­ers of Man­dala Cus­tom Homes, Lars Chose and Rachel Ross.

There are many inter­est­ing (and green) fea­tures that make this home spe­cial. For instance, Ross and Chose rave about the ben­e­fits of liv­ing in a round home, a con­cept that is born in part from their inter­est in the green, slow home move­ment which stresses cre­at­ing homes that are healthy, com­fort­able, and gen­tle. [Note, how­ever, that it did not take them long to build the house as it is a pre-fab home, though this method ensured their impact on the local envi­ron­ment was min­i­mal.] They describe liv­ing in a round struc­ture as feel­ing embraced by the space, which com­ple­ments their cre­ative endeav­ours and feel­ings of tranquility.

The home is built with 10” thick walls, 3” of Rock­wool insu­la­tion, and highly effi­cient win­dows. And it is heated dur­ing the win­ter using a soap­stone hybrid stove made of cast iron, which is extremely clean burn­ing and pro­duces a lot of heat with very lit­tle fuel (espe­cially given the pas­sive nature of the home’s design). Plus, it burns for a long time (5 hours), and con­tin­ues to heat the home for sev­eral hours there­after for com­fort­able, even heat through­out the day and night.

The 1.5 acre prop­erty also fea­tures four Man­dalas (round build­ings). In addi­tion to the house, they have also con­structed a 300 square foot round stu­dio, a round garage, and a round green­house. And though this home doesn’t meet Pas­sive House stan­dards (which would be far more rig­or­ous than ENERGY STAR), it does use pas­sive house design con­cepts to achieve even greater energy effi­ciency for heat­ing and cooling.

Many char­ac­ter­is­tics con­tributed to this beau­ti­ful home’s ENERGY STAR Qualification:

  • Ener­Guide Rat­ing of 84
  • High per­for­mance build­ing enve­lope, includ­ing R66 ceil­ing and R34 walls
  • Domes­tic water heat­ing sys­tem approx­i­mately three times more effi­cient than a stan­dard system
  • Heat recov­ery ven­ti­la­tor for fresh air with min­i­mal heat loss
  • ENERGY STAR qual­i­fied prod­ucts, includ­ing win­dows, doors and lighting
  • Plumbed and wired solar-ready
  • Grund­fos Magna circulator pump
  • Radi­ant floor heat­ing and heat sink
  • Day­light­ing emphasized
  • Com­fort Wall sys­tem (mono­lithic air barrier)
  • Plat­inum ICF foundation
  • Ther­mal mass for heat storage

All ENERGY STAR Qual­i­fi­ca­tion fea­tures were ver­i­fied by a third party. This means that a Cer­ti­fied Energy Advi­sor did an assess­ment of the home to test and ver­ify that the home meets ENERGY STAR for New Homes spec­i­fi­ca­tions, as well as Ener­Guide Rat­ing for New Homes.

Check out their blog if you’d like more infor­ma­tion about ENERGY STAR Qualification.

by Maryruth Belsey Priebe at Yel­low Blue Designs  July 3 2012