Window placement was carefully considered to optimize and control the hot desert sun while silhouetting the jaw-dropping views. Marten placed tall picture windows on the north side to reveal nearby Red Mountain and low, wide windows on the south side to take in the open range and far-off horizon.
“We have 360-degree views here, so we have to be selective of the ones we take advantage of,” Marten says. “Even if it’s a small window, we make sure it’s in just the right place to frame a specific view.”
A two-car garage, a bike garage, and a recessed front entry make up most of the western side of the house, which contains no windows, shielding the rest of the dwelling from the sun during the hottest part of the day. To the north and south, respectively, patio doors provide access to a courtyard and a covered patio, which further reinforce the home’s connection to the outdoors and bring in cross breezes during the milder months of the year.
Water conservation was also a top priority. Low-flow faucets and showerheads, low-gpf toilets, and a high-efficiency washing machine and dishwasher keep water use low inside while the landscape design employs drought-tolerant native plants, a drip irrigation system, and a permeable crushed sandstone and gravel driveway.
Terra Numa is Joines’ second NGBS-certified project, a detail the homeowners insisted on. “They saw value in having the certification, especially for resale,” he says, adding that the Southern Utah Home Builders Association’s Southwest Green Build Council (of which he is chairman) is working with area Realtors to help add green features to the local MLS, an initiative that will help owners get an optimum return on their investment when they sell a green home.
Building such a one-of-a-kind home put Joines at a disadvantage with the NGBS rating system, which requires higher point totals within each category as higher certification levels are sought. He struggled to achieve a Silver-level rating in the program’s Resource Efficiency division, even though he achieved much higher levels—equivalent to Gold and Emerald—in all other areas. “My homes are pretty custom, so I can’t get any points for prefab panelized framing or for keeping everything on 2-foot centers that minimize how much lumber you use,” he explains.
The three-bedroom, three-bath home is located in the 2,000-acre master-planned Kayenta community, which enforces strict design covenants to ensure homes blend in with the austere environment. Marten and Joines had to maintain and preserve much of the site’s natural vegetation and limit the building footprint to less than 30% of the 0.75-acre lot. They also had to abide by a 13-foot height restriction, a flat-roof requirement, night-sky restrictions, and an extremely limited brown color palette for exterior materials.
“The key is actually to downplay the architecture so we don’t lose the natural park-like setting,” Marten says. “The one factor that is common to all Kayenta residents is living in and respecting the natural landscape.”
Jennifer Goodman is managing editor of EcoHome.