Clam Homes

Blue and Yellow Homes, Point Reyes Station

Home Remodel to LEED Standard and New Passive House Construction Home

Front of Blue House

In 2009 CLAM purchased its second property, on Highway One in Point Reyes Station: a 1/2-acre parcel with a 2-bedroom house and a 1-bedroom second unit. Next door to West Marin School and in walking distance to workplaces, transportation and services in downtown Point Reyes Station, the property was ideal for an a permanently affordable home for families who live or work in West Marin.

The 1920 structures were in need of significant renovation. Taking seriously our mission of creating environmentally responsible affordable homes, CLAM saw this renovation as an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change, aiming for renovations that would bring these homes close to net zero energy use.

Blue House Remodel. Renovation of the 2-bedroom main house, whose exterior was painted blue, using energy-efficient methods was completed in October 2009. Prior to renovations, the home produced approximately 7,000 pounds (3.5 tons) of CO2 emissions per year from heating use alone. With pro bono help from a local sustainable and zero-energy architectural firm, ZIA Architecture, we upgraded the energy efficiency of the house, drastically reducing its emissions. A family of three has rented the home since its completion.

Yellow passive house

New Construction Passive (Yellow) House. The 1-bedroom second unit on the property was too dilapidated to be rescued. We replaced it with the first new-construction home built to Passive House principles in California. Construction was completed in July 2010. Builders and architects came from throughout the Bay Area to learn about the techniques used in creating this zero-net energy home. A family of three resides in this home.

What is a Passive House?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, buildings are responsible for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions each year. Constructing buildings on Passive House principles is one way to cut those emissions dramatically. A Passive House is a very well-insulated, virtually air-tight building that is primarily heated by designing the house for maximum warming by sunlight and by the heat generated from people, electrical equipment, and other household operations. A constant, balanced fresh air supply is ensured through air ventilation technology. The result is a building that not only saves space-heating costs, but also provides excellent indoor air quality. The Passive House concept can be applied in both new and retrofit construction—in residential, commercial, and institutional projects.

To learn more about CLAM’s Passive House renovations, read more at CLAM’s Blue House Blog.