Project Team

Peter Yost's picture

Peter Yost's picture

Peter Yost is a Principal and Vice President of Technical Services for BuildingGreen, Inc. in Brattleboro, Vermont. He is also the Technical Director for Taunton Press’s He has been building, researching, teaching, writing, and consulting on high performance homes for nearly 30 years.

Other Team Member

Other Team Members

Ann Edminster, Design AVEnues LLC -- owner/designer
John Fordice, Other Fish Architect -- architect of record
Bill Dakin, Davis Energy Group -- ME/HVAC designer
Bill Wilson -- living roof designer

Ratings, Awards and Recognition

Other Awards:

Sustainable San Mateo County Green Building Award

Ten years in, we're still happy with what we did, though several improvements are still on the wish list.


The project was driven by the confluence of several environmental goals, along with a specific problem to be solved. The principal environmental goals were to improve the home’s overall energy performance and durability; additional environmental goals were to improve daylighting and ventilation while enhancing comfort and aesthetics. The specific problem we needed to solve was a wood-framed pony wall that extended below grade, representing a long-term durability risk.


  • Project scope and initial goals
    • Resolve durability risks, particularly below-grade wood-framed wall.
    • Improve energy efficiency.
    • Improve thermal comfort.
    • Improve aesthetics, solar access, and relationship to the outdoors.
    • Produce energy on site (install PVs).
    • Enlarge living room.
    • Accomplish all of the above in as resource-efficient a manner as possible and using environmentally preferable materials and methods.
  • Deconstruction/Demolition – Recyclable materials (primarily wood scrap, cardboard, and metals) were source-separated and recycled. Non-recyclable waste (primarily roofing that was well past its life expectancy, and leaky single-paned windows) were landfilled. Usable wood scraps were retained for future projects. The old water heater was donated to another project.

  • Material Selection
  • Roofing: steel in sloped areas, highly durable five-ply built-up roofing under living roof in flat area
  • Interior wall finishes: low-VOC paints and earth plasters
  • Decking: FSC-certified, highly durable tropical Machiche
  • Windows: energy-efficient, durable, steel-clad wood


  • Indoor Environmental Quality – Low-VOC finishes used throughout. Forced air ducting removed, reducing blowing particulates. High-efficiency fans installed in baths and kitchen. 

Quick Facts


Location Pacifica, California
Project Type
Basis of Performance Claim Verified
Bedrooms 3
Bathrooms 2.5
Conditioned Floor Area 1,600 sq ft

Energy Summary

Energy Data Type Verified
Renewable Energy System Type(s)
Net electricity usage (purchased) 4,080 kWh/year
Natural gas amount (purchased) 16,642 kWh/year

Envelope and Mechanicals

Foundation wall assembly

poured-in place concrete

Door Assembly

3 sets of double-paned patio doors, hinged; 2 sets wood, 1 set wood clad. 1 old single-paned half-glazed door, 1 new top-light wood entry door. Steel insulated door from house to garage.

Air Changes per hour, ACH50 8.20 ACH50