Merit Award: Freshly Sustainable

A 1920s row house is transformed into a contemporary, energy- and resource-efficient building.

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Location: San Francisco
Contractor: Kenneth J. Mayer, Mayer and Co., Fairfax, Calif.
Designer: Doug Jacuzzi, Soularch Design, San Francisco

The program: Make a typical three-story, two-unit San Francisco rowhouse, circa 1920, contemporary, environmentally friendly, and energy- and resource-efficient. The team not only accomplished that but built the first permitted location in San Francisco to use a photovoltaic array as an exterior finish surface.

Mayer and Co. rebuilt the foundation, tore down the front, back, and interior walls, and the roof. “We wanted a clean slate,” remodeler Ken Mayer says. New posts in collector beams and structural steel Z-frames bolted down through the different floor levels stabilized the structure during the demolition phases. At least 70% of the demolition debris was recycled, and the home has radiant heat, high-performance glass windows, post-industrial recycled cotton insulation, recyclable thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roof and deck membranes, Energy Star appliances, an on-demand hot water system, low-VOC finishes, and bamboo flooring.

Judges liked the composition from the street and how the designer incorporated the panels into the facade, as opposed to treating it as “a back-of-house service,” as well as how the back and front play on positive and negative space.

—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.