It was a few years ago when city officials in Phoenix, Arizona tasked designers to come up with a solution for the need of more sustainable architecture in the city’s very hot climate. In 2016, the city showed off a road map designed to turn Phoenix into a completely carbon-neutral zero-waste city. A year later, it launched a design competition, which called on local architects to design net-zero energy homes. One among many proposals is the NZ House.

Marlene Imirzian & Associates Architects took home the crown. The studio came up with a super affordable three-bedroom home called the NZ House. The designers were rewarded $100,000 for their ingenuity, and the plan is now available for widespread use.

“[The] goal was to show how simple moves could result in significant [environmental] changes,” says Imirzian.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, most newly built homes score a HERS index of 100, the metric used to rate a household’s potential energy consumption. The NZ House scored zero. The house measures 2,100 square feet and costs only $344,000 to build. To meet the competition’s requirements, the studio analyzed how the energy “envelope” would perform by looking at materials, along with the roof, ceiling, and wall assembly.

They also considered the climate in Phoenix, which led them to use high-performance glass, which reduces heat transmission from outside. They also added retractable fabric screens for improved shade and passive cooling without resorting to AC units. The project is a fascinating look into how low can we go in terms of energy. Hit the link below to learn more.