Sustainability / Green Building

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LEED Silver Phoenix Executive Building (Truckee, CA)
One of MWA's primary goals is to design buildings that are responsible to the environment.

While there have been many great advances in green building design and technologies over the last 10 years, it often feels like all the new options make it harder to figure out how to be "green." MWA works with its clients to understand their goals and objectives for their project and come up with solutions that meet those goals.

We find it is best to evaluate the environmental impact of buildings using the following 5 metrics:
- Site/Community
- Materials Consumption
- Energy Consumption
- Water Consumption
- Indoor Environmental Quality
Using these five categories (as recognized by most green building programs,) we help our clients understand and evaluate the challenges and opportunities with green building and incorporate them into their projects.

Our staff is trained and experienced working with various certification programs including LEED (Leadership in energy and environmental design) for commercial projects and Build-It Green's Green Point Rated program for residences. MWA keeps current with the latest green building practices.

We are experienced in designing high-performance buildings utilizing either advanced mechanical systems including solar photovoltaics (PV), solar thermal (hot water and space heating,) ground source heat pumps, or more traditional passive design techniques. We help our clients evaluate the pros and cons of various systems and choose the most appropriate systems for their project.

In the Fall of 2009, MWA's Phoenix Executive Building (Truckee, CA) received a LEED Silver rating from the United States Green Building Council. read more

Sustainable Lakefront Home

Sustainable Lakefront Home
The living roofs provide habitat and have a greater insulation value and noise reduction properties, while protecting the lake by infiltrating rain and snow melt
This beautiful modern home with a Tahoe twist is very low maintenance, sustainable, and easy living. MWA, and principal architect Kristi Thompson, balanced comfort and luxury with high performance and efficiency. Eliminating the use of high-maintenance wood on the exterior of the home led to the creative use of metal for siding, exposed structure, and roof fascia, while utilizing color tones and roof lines typical of Tahoe. Sustainable features include a roof solar PV array, multi-panel solar-thermal hot water system, ground-source heat pump for hydronic floor heating, living green roofs, reclaimed wood throughout, and abundant natural ventilation and light. read more.

2015 CATT Award - Sustainable Building Methods Project of the Year

Efficient Casita

Efficient Casita
View of the driveway with living green roof.
This 915 square foot casita is efficient in limited square footage without sacrificing aesthetics and function.

Features include:
Ground Source Heat Pump with hydronically heated floors
Extra Insulation and High Thermal Mass
Living green roof
Ample natural light from windows and skylights
Will be connected to the main house's Solar PV array

read more

Sustainable Mountain Home

Sustainable Mountain Home
The barn houses a solar PV system that can produce up to 9.5KW, which covers most of the home’s energy needs
This Truckee home not only received the highest Build It Green GreenPoint rating (199) of any home in the Sierra Nevada, but one of the highest in the entire state of California while still expressing beautiful Tahoe mountain style. read more

Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe (CATT) awarded the home the 2013 Sustainable Building Methods Project of the Year award. Tahoe Quarterly Home Awards also named this home the winner of the 2015 Eco-Friendly Award. read article

Commercial Rebuild

Commercial Rebuild
Our environmental leadership extends far beyond participation in checklist-based certification programs. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) recognized MWA with their "Best in the Basin" award for the commercial redevelopment of Ski Run Center in South Lake Tahoe, CA.read more.

Sustainable Family Home

Sustainable Family Home
Rear of the home showing the Solar PV
Winner of the 2013 "All In the Family" Tahoe Quarterly Legacy Award (read article), this home is not only cozy and family oriented, but also incorporates many sustainable features. see photos

• SOLAR PV: 3.5kW photovoltaic array (20)-175 Watt panels
• SOLAR THERMAL: (3)Heliodyne Flat Plate collectors w/238 gallon, dual-stage storage tank and 200 kBTU/HR backup boiler.
• GROUND SOURCE HEAT PUMP: (9)-300ft deep wells with dual pumps providing both heating and cooling.
• PASSIVE SOLAR: 9% South Glazing Ratio, <3% at East & West
• Thermal Mass: Interior stonework and 1-1/2" gypcrete floors.

• Whole-house fan plus (8)-variable speed exhaust fans with occupancy sensors.
• Low VOC Cabinetry, Carpeting, and Finishes, Sealed building envelope to minimize air leakage.

• Reclaimed wood siding and flooring.

Adaptive Reuse of Old Motel

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Reception desk and bar made from reclaimed wood. 968 Park Hotel - South Lake Tahoe, CA
While green building, like other premium building practices can be significantly more expensive than traditional building practices, this doesn't have to be the case. G8 Partners worked with MWA to transform a neglected Days Inn motel into a chic and environmentally responsible hotel. The building received a total facelift, inside and out, nearly eliminating any trace of its original 1970's architecture. Throughout the building, there are hints of the original building: from the re-use of wood still painted with the building's original green, to transforming an old bed spring into a design element in the lobby. The project received a commercial merit award in the 7th Annual TQ Mountain home awards for its unique and innovative approach to environmentally responsible redevelopment. read article.
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Maria and I want to thank you for the exemplary design and architecture of our new home in Martis Camp. We love it! It has everything we asked for and more, and we feel you really captured our vision of a timeless “Old World Europe Meets Tahoe” mountain home. All the views have been beautifully framed with the view of Look Out Mountain through the front entry being particularly spectacular. The outdoor living space is abundant and functional, just as we had requested. And the bonus wine cellar off the butler's pantry is as useful and handsome as it is ingenious; our guests are amazed by your intelligent use of space.

I will say that if we had to do it over again we would contract for the full package, having every cabinet detail, towel bar, TP holder, and wall art location planned ahead of time, as well as elevations drawn for each and every room. With the benefit of hindsight we now realize that it's critical to have all these details included in a “full set” before construction begins as it is the only way to ensure, for example, that all the cabinets end towel bars we want will fit perfectly on the wall space provided and in the location most desired. Relying on an interior or cabinet designer for these details is just too late in the process, and in the end I doubt we saved any money. For any future clients wondering, we highly recommend they go the Full Monty!

Thank you again for a great job. We will enjoy our Martis Camp home for many years to come.
Eric and Maria Clothier