archimania is the award-winning architecture firm currently ranked 8th nationally in design by ARCHITECT magazine. Based in Memphis, Tennessee, it is known for designing forward-thinking buildings across the Southeast. One of their latest residential projects is “civitas,” located in Memphis on the banks of the Mississippi River. civitas is an endeavor into reimagining what a home can be when passive and high-performance design strategies are fully integrated.
Utilizing common sense design principles, along with renewable energy technologies such as geothermal HVAC and solar PV with battery storage, this project is on track to be one of the first homes in America to be certified Zero Emissions, Zero Energy, and Reveal (AIA2030 Challenge), along with LEED Platinum certification.
“civitas will demonstrate that a home can be free of utility bills while having a more significant impact and connection with nature,” says archimania principal, Barry Alan Yoakum, FAIA. “civitas seeks to deliver an architecture that creates less waste via prefabrication with a mix of well-crafted components,” Yoakum adds.
archimania responded with a 2,800-square-foot residence with two primary rectangular, flat-roofed forms, utilizing Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) for the first time, all clad in recycled aluminum and floor-to-ceiling, operable glass. civitas will be a case study in sustainable and high-performance design, and designed by Yoakum for his own family.
“civitas was built to be uber energy efficient and comfortable while maximizing natural daylight and views of the river,” Barry says.
civitas will be the first home in Memphis to be powered by solar PV and a lithium-ion battery. LightWave Solar installed 16 LG 320-watt solar panels and an LG Chem RESU battery. During the day, the lithium-ion battery stores extra solar electricity. When the sun goes down, and the home’s consumption goes up, the battery allows the home to continue to run on solar power. In the event of a grid outage, the solar + battery system will power items in a critical loads panel including several lights, outlets, his refrigerator, freezer and garage door.
In addition to the 16 solar panels that charge the battery, civitas has another 31 LG solar panels totaling 10kW that will participate in TVA’s Green Power Providers program, and all of its solar electricity will be sold to the grid. Altogether, the home’s 15kW of solar capacity will reduce carbon dioxide emissions equal to growing 13 acres of forest. It also prevents the generation of nearly 2,500 pounds of harmful coal ash every year. Over 25 years, that’s more than 31 tons of coal ash avoided!
The home will be finished by early summer. In addition, LightWave Solar will have completed a 50kW solar system on archimania’s new office also located in Memphis. Leading by example, archimania hopes to inspire more of their clients, neighbors, and friends to incorporate energy efficient design and solar PV into their homes and workspaces.
-Grace Robertson, LightWave Solar