Study: Seiler Residence
Elizabeth and Richard Seiler
wanted to build a comfortable, healthy and energy-efficient
home without sacrificing aesthetics. The Southwestern design
and materials were compatible with green building principles,
and also provided the beautiful elements they desired. Their
goal was to design and build a house that met all these requirements
within the constraints of their budget.
Sunset Canyon Subdivision
Dripping Springs, Texas
This elegant, yet simple, southwestern-inspired
home is the fulfillment of landscape designer/owner Elizabeth
Seiler and husband Richard Seiler's dreams.
Together with architect Elliot Johnson and
builder Robert Zirkel, Elizabeth incorporated numerous green
features including "total fill" insulation, standing
seam metal roof, 16 SEER dual-phase HVAC, no-voc interior
paint, and salvaged building materials to make this livable
home a 5-star gem.
Elizabeth found the Mexican carved front
porch columns in Laredo, and the front door was custom made
by Laredo craftsmen.
The Seilers are providing innovative landscaping
around the home, utilizing native species, and creative placement
of the rocks left over from the site excavation and septic
Recycled longleaf pine was used to create
exterior decorative window trim around the kitchen window.
Window sills are made from old fir 2x4's that Elizabeth found
at the Austin
Bio-based foam insulation in the walls and
underneath the roof decking creates an insulated envelope
of the entire house. Air conditioning ducts are within this
envelope, and the unvented attic space stays within 8-10 degrees
of the conditioned space year-round.
The floors are stained and scored concrete.
Integral color stucco allows the exterior walls to breathe
which reduces moisture build-up within the walls.
The drywall is finished to the floor, with
metal J-molding wrapping the bottom edges of the sheets, eliminating
the need for baseboards.
Two 10,000 gallon tanks hold collected rainwater,
which is filtered for household use. Rainwater is the only
water source for the residence.
An "on-demand" water heater supplies
the master bathroom. The master bath shower has a gray-water
The house is located on approximately 8
acres that support a great diversity of tree and wildflower
75% of lighting is compact fluorescent
Energy Star appliances
Bio-Base foam insulation in walls
and under roof deck, HVAC and ducts in unvented
Instantaneous Water Heater
16.0 seer heat pump with two speed
HVAC unit and ductwork in insulated
System tested: blower door, supply
air, duct pressure, combustion air
Standing seam metal roof
Engineered wood materials: roof
Walls framed with finger-joint studs
Integral color stucco
Stained & scored concrete floors
Recycled materials: Longleaf pine
lintels and beams, interior trim milled from salvage
Salvaged materials: Kitchen door,
mantel, patio tiles, 6 light fixtures, 2 exterior
20,000-gallon rainwater collection
system is the sole water source for residence
Gray water drain from master bath
Aerobic septic system, spray irrigation
in wildflower meadow
Health and Safety:
Termi-mesh shields on all plumbing
penetrations (non toxic termite treatments)
Tim-Bor borate termite treatment
Bio-Shield beeswax and linseed oil
finish on concrete floors
Non-toxic interior paint: Chemsafe,
no VOC first coat paint
SafeCoat latex paint (exterior windows
and second color coats inside)
Velvit Oil wood stains
- Member and co-founder Dripping Springs Ranch Wildlife
Management Cooperative, a cooperative of adjacent
landowners who collaborate to implement wildlife management
strategies to enhance wildlife compatibility and sustainability.
- Commissioning and Testing
Minimal air infiltration through the building envelope
was verified by the blower door test: 0.15 air changes
per hour. Since all duct work is within building envelope,
duct leakage test not was required.
- A charming, aesthetically pleasing residence with
a comfortable and healthy living space and with beautiful
visual elements. The owners will realize long-term
paybacks resulting from multiple energy efficient
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