Modest + Sustainable Ski Chalet is A Rebuke to Ostentatious Neighbors
The skiing industry is one that is threatened by climate change, as many of the regions previously known for great skiing are already losing their snow cover. (Other ski areas in other regions will actually have increased snowfall as some regions have been predicted to see heavier precipitation, as climate change adds more water vapor into the atmosphere, which loads the cloud cover regionally, which will fall as more snow.)
But to look at many of the huge and irresponsible fossil-fuel-wasting luxury ski chalets being built, you’d not think that this change mattered at all to those skiers and the architects enabling them.
Here’s a simple, modest rebuke to that careless ethos, in the foothills just west of Boulder, Colorado. This off-grid ski chalet for a young family supplies 100% of its own electricity from its solar panels. And that’s just the beginning.
Even getting there is also a zero carbon activity.
Even the littlest kids in this family cross-country ski to get to its very remote location, that has only a ski lift and a lodge.Â â€œThereâ€™s no power, no water, no road to speak of,â€ says the architect, David Barrett, AIA.
Size itself was the first sustainable consideration for the young family, that did not have unlimited funds to invest. The Wee Ski Chalet encompasses a mere 1,103 square feet. Materials are spare and economical. Wheatboard is used inside instead of gypsum-based sheet rock or drywall that is extremely energy intensive to mine.
After looking into converting shipping containers, the team was persuaded by Barrett to use SIPs construction for the exteriors instead. â€œYou want to keep shipping containersâ€™ exteriors intact, because theyâ€™re waterproof and bombproof. But by the time you insulate the interior, you have no space left,â€ Barrett says.
At approximately 10,000 feet above sea level, the convenience of shipping up entire sections of the HardiPanel (a ground wood waste and lightweight cement) exterior, like in commercial construction, made for a lower impact building than conventional construction.
The simply appointed kitchen area has its hot water fueled by – for now, a propane boiler. But both the plumbing and the standing-seam metal roofs have been designed to allow theÂ installation of a solar thermal system, that will replace most of the propane boiler’s hot water once installed.
These are parents who want the best for their children’s future and are prepared to act on it, to build a heartwarming home that protects it.