Modest + Sustainable Ski Chalet is A Rebuke to Ostentatious Neighbors | Home Design Find
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Modest + Sustainable Ski Chalet is A Rebuke to Ostentatious Neighbors

Wee Ski Chalet1 architecture
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.
Wee Ski Chalet2 architecture
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.  “There’s no power, no water, no road to speak of,” 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.

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After looking into converting shipping containers, the team was persuaded by Barrett to use SIPs construction for the exteriors instead. “You want to keep shipping containers’ exteriors intact, because they’re waterproof and bombproof. But by the time you insulate the interior, you have no space left,” 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.

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The simple construction extends to the stairs that lead from the living room/dining room – kitchen area to the two attic bedrooms.

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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 the  installation of a solar thermal system, that will replace most of the propane boiler’s hot water once installed.

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Strangely, local laws forbid rainwater collection, in the state that has seen its famous Colorado river diverted to feed half the desert-state lawns in the US.

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These huge double-glazed south windows let in the warmth of the sunshine from between 10am and 3pm, and soaks the sun’s passively stored heat into a poured concrete floor boosted by radiant flooring.

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.

Source: Greensource
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2 Comments so far to “Modest + Sustainable Ski Chalet is A Rebuke to Ostentatious Neighbors”
  1. Frank Hanlan Says:

    Since I live in a 1040 sq. ft. mid 1950s house calling this a "wee ski chalet" for a strictly part-time recreation cottage I seriously question how this can be seen as green or sustainable. In the bedroom picture it appears that the roof has no insulation, no mention is made of sealing the building envelope or the insulation values of the SIPs. Complaining about the illegality of rain water collection but not using a composting toilet seems shortsighted.

  2. mydivabydesign Says:

    I like this little house. My husband and I are so against development and yet we are conservative. Surprise! We live out in the 'country' and like the privacy. But even we are getting more neighbors. Big McMansions. It's very annoying since the land was supposed to be restricted to lots no smaller than 5 acres. We plan on eventually getting our home as far off the grid as possible.

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