In Ann Arbor, Michigan, a new style of energy-efficient housing has been built. In August 2021, the 730 sq ft living space was finished, offering excellent insulation and energy efficiency to the occupants within. The accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is built on a site that is 0.19 acres.
The building is one of the first of this type to be built in the area. ADUs are becoming increasingly popular in communities with housing shortages as they take up significantly less space than traditional dwellings. These can also be built on the same plot as existing residences by utilising the space within the area that is more conventionally used as a garden.
The build makes use of structural insulated panels (SIPS), low-maintenance, low-waste cladding materials and takes inspiration from the highly insulated shallow foundation technology used in Scandinavia. This in turn allows the structure to be built faster, less labour-intensive and reduces the overall CO2 impact.
Utilising high R-value insulation ensures that the building remains energy efficient and maintains the heat on cold days. The use of heated floors ensures that there are no unnecessary radiator fittings in a space where every inch matters.
With clever use of space, a single bedroom sits over the kitchen and many of the joints and brackets have been painted to blend in with the walls. Windows are located in strategically placed locations to ensure privacy for the residents while also allowing for airflow throughout.