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The Karuna House was designed by Holst Architecture to meet some of the world's highest standards of sustainability and energy efficiency. Maintaining a rigorous form that responds to the owner's programmatic needs, the Karuna House is on track to be the first Minergie™ certified home in North America and is expected to be one of the few homes in the world certified by both Minergie™ and PHIUS+. Minergie is a registered quality label established in Switzerland for new and refurbished low-energy-consumption buildings. PHIUS+ certification is separate from international Passive House certification, though projects still must meet the three modeled performance metrics that define the international standard for energy efficiency in buildings. In addition, Holst will pursue a Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council LEED for Homes rating system and are anticipating net zero energy use by incorporating on-site renewable power generation.

Located on the southern slope of a mountain overlooking the Willamette Valley in Oregon, the Karuna House is rooted to the topography, communicating that connection through a sequence of spaces that step down and rise above the land. Breathtaking views of the valley and distant mountains are framed by floor -to-ceiling windows in the main living spaces and horizontal bands of windows in the bedrooms and guest areas.

The super-insulated envelope will be exceptionally air tight and constructed of sustainable materials. Solar heat gain will be controlled through the use of exterior operable venetian blinds that shade triple-glazed wood windows. Heating, cooling and hot water are supplied by an efficient heat pump system, while a heat recovery ventilator provides a continuous supply of fresh air, preheated by the waste energy of the outgoing exhaust air. The anticipated result of all these measures is a house that uses 60% less energy than the maximum allowed by code, and 68% less than a typical existing home in the region.
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