A 37-acre historic farm site in Sonoma was redeveloped into a Platinum LEED for Homes family residential homestead and organic farm. The two-story home, studio, garage, barn, guest cabin and pool house re-constitute a vernacular farmstead model along sustainable and ecological building practices. Designed as a “green ribbon,” living roofs span the three buildings of the compound, functioning to visually and physically unite the building site into a centralized hub of the farm.
Designed and installed by SYMBIOS ecotecture, the living roofs also play a vital role along with straw-bale construction, natural lime plasters, reclaimed lumber, passive and active solar systems, thermal mass (sand-bed) storage, ground loop heat-pumps, and a variety of energy, lighting and water efficient measures to create a model of environmentally sensitive design. Various greenroof systems were used, including from Colbond (now Bonar) and Optigreen, and the dome-like roof form of the main house required a mechanical slope stabilization system since the upper portion exceeded 35 percent. The vegetative planting plan was developed to provide a high degree of biodiversity for both aesthetic and ecological values. Color, texture and form of the planting palette enriched the overall design of the roofs in conjunction with the architectural facade. Low-growing ground cover species are intermixed with herbaceous species that form a taller canopy layer. Rainwater is harvested from the standing seam metal roofs of the main house and studio. The water is stored in an underground cistern (a former swimming pool) during the winter raining season and is then utilized to irrigate the living roofs, as well as to flush the toilets within the house. The irrigation system is a satellite based weather controller which increases or decreases irrigation water use as determined by the local weather conditions.
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