Thermally Boring: Ductless Heating and Cooling

Advantages of Ductless Heating and Cooling

Peckham Architecture’s LEED Platinum home headquarters in Columbia, Missouri, uses ductless heating and cooling and HRV (heat recovery ventilation) to maintain clean, comfortable indoor air. These tools contribute to net-positive energy: Our green building produces more energy than it consumes. During the hottest May on record (2016), we earned a negative electric bill (-$176)! Yet many Americans still don’t know about these technologies.

This green building in Columbia, Missouri, uses ductless heating and cooling and other sustainable technologies to achieve net-positive energy.

Ductless heating and cooling is, by definition, far more efficient and flexible than typical ducted systems. In the video below, Jamie Callahan of Columbia-based Air & Water Solutions talks about our Mitsubishi Electric ductless heating and cooling system, also known as a mini split.

“The United States is the only place that uses duct work,” Callahan says. “Everywhere else in the world has been using mini splits for over 40 years. So we’re just behind on the technology.”

Ventilating a Green Building

Our green building is sealed and insulated to the point of being airtight, which poses unique ventilation challenges. The Zehnder HRV system was custom designed for the needs of this house.

“With this house being so tight, you have to control moisture, smells, VOCs,” Callahan says.

The HRV system replaces the stale, humid indoor air with fresh air from outside. Inside the energy recovery core, energy from the “old” air heats the incoming “new” air to nearly the same temperature before distributing it in the home. This creates constant indoor climate stability.

“It’s complete comfort control, as well as energy savings,” Callahan says. “So we’re far above and beyond a standard construction home on efficiencies.”

Thermally Boring means Energy Efficient

In the video below, green building expert Dave Horton uses a thermal imaging system to detect heat transfer in our eco house. Buildings are full of thermal bridges, or areas where energy typically escapes: the slab foundation, doors and windows, walls and ceiling, and the roof. Luckily, green building insulation can dramatically reduce heat transfer. This is one time when boring is best—Horton’s thermal imager showed very little activity.

“There’s not a whole lot that looks thermally different,” Horton said. “If it’s thermally boring like that, that’s what you want. You want it to all just look the same.”

Horton says this project “could very well be the greenest house that I’ve ever worked on, if not the greenest house anyone has ever worked on.”

Get a closer look here:

Make your new construction or renovation deep green. Peckham Architecture offers prospective clients a free initial meeting of up to 1 hour.

Contact us today to see what’s possible: 573-777-4444

PREVIOUSLY: Insulating your green building with liquid house wrap and blown in cellulose:

Green Building Insulation: Liquid House Wrap and Blown In Cellulose

Tiny House Design: Summer Course on Green Building with Nick Peckham

Summer Course Announcement: Tiny House Design and Small Dwellings with Nick Peckham

Tiny house design offers eco-friendly solutions to housing shortages and alternative spaces for your home, office, art studio, yoga studio, popup shop or retail store. Thursdays in June, join Peckham Architecture founder Nick Peckham for a course on tiny house design and green building through the University of Missouri Extension and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Columbia, Missouri.

Nick Peckham, FAIA, of Peckham Architecture will Teach on Tiny House Design Thursdays in June 2018 for the University of Missouri Extension in Columbia, Missouri

Learn Deep Green Building Tips from an Expert

Nick will cover the design of “small” houses (under 800 square feet) as well as “tiny” houses (set on wheels and up to 400 square feet). He will also teach about programming, construction and regulation of tiny houses and small dwellings. In just four sessions, you’ll learn the logistics and economics of considering energy savings, water conservation, healthy interiors, recycled materials, sustainability and accessibility in a small dwelling or tiny house design.

If you’ve followed Peckham Architecture’s Green Building Series, you’ve likely noticed Nick’s passion for sharing the green building techniques he’s learned over more than 40 years as a deep green architect. Nick learned from the finest, including mentor and world-renowned inventor and visionary Buckminster Fuller. His deep green design expertise and relentless pursuit of a sustainable future are sure to educate and inspire you.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers courses geared toward adults over 50. However, Nick’s vision and the topic of tiny house design speak to people of all ages. We strongly encourage any interested adult to attend. Please join us! 

Nick Peckham's Eco Schoolhouse in Columbia, Missouri. Nick will Teach on Tiny House Design Thursdays in June 2018 for the University of Missouri Extension in Columbia, Missouri.

Attend the Tiny House Design Summer Course

Dates: Thursdays, June 7, 14, 21 and 28

Time: 2:30-4:00 p.m.

Location: Columbia, Missouri, Classroom Moss A at the Waters-Moss Nature Center, located in the Waters-Moss Memorial Wildlife Preservation Area. From Stadium Blvd., drive south 1/3 mile on Old 63 to Hillcrest Drive and turn left. The Moss Building is on your left.

Registration and Fees: $25 without an Osher membership. Email or call 573-882-8189 to register by Wednesday, June 6.

Ready to begin your own green building project or tiny house design? Peckham Architecture offers prospective clients a free initial meeting of up to 1 hour.

Contact us today to see what’s possible: 573-777-4444

Green Building Insulation: Liquid House Wrap and Blown In Cellulose

Exhaustive green building insulation is critical for energy efficiency. That’s why we’ve dedicated three blog posts to insulation in our LEED Platinum home headquarters! You’ve already seen how we insulated the concrete slab foundation and used locally sourced structural insulated panels. Today, we’re revealing two new layers of green building insulation.

Exterior Liquid House Wrap

Most residential construction uses overlapping sheets of plastic house wrap. The sheeting suffers from gaps and tears and requires hardware in your exterior walls. To seamlessly protect our green building insulation, we used a liquid house wrap made of rubber. This material is effectively painted on. Because of rubber’s self-sealing properties, our liquid house wrap won’t tear and is more waterproof and airtight than conventional house wrap. In fact, this green building is so airtight that it became Missouri’s first Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) certified building.

Here’s a photo of the liquid house wrap application—expect questions from your neighbors about the color!

A construction worker applies exterior liquid house wrap to structural insulated panels on a green building.

Here’s how the liquid house wrap looked after application:

Liquid house wrap provides a seamless layer of protection to green building insulation.

Blown In Cellulose Insulation

A building’s ceiling is often one of its largest thermal bridges, or areas where heat loss occurs. To maximize energy efficiency, Peckham Architecture doubles the recommended ceiling insulation. After we insulated our concrete slab, erected SIPs and applied the house wrap, we insulated the ceiling of our green building. The 18-inch ceiling cavity contains blown in cellulose, a recycled paper product treated with borax to protect from infestations.

Learn more in Episode 5 of our Green Building Series:

Ready to begin your own deep green building or renovation? Peckham Architecture offers prospective clients a free initial meeting of up to 1 hour.

Contact us today to see what’s possible: 573-777-4444

PREVIOUSLY: Using structural insulated panels to maximize energy efficiency:

Passive House Insulation for Peak Energy Efficiency: SIPs




Passive House Insulation for Peak Energy Efficiency: SIPs

Peckham Architecture’s LEED Platinum home headquarters is Missouri’s first Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) Certified building. Our eco house is also net-positive energy, which means it produces more electricity than it consumes! We could not have achieved this level of energy efficiency without super insulation.

In addition to insulating the concrete slab foundation, we used structural insulated panels, or SIPs. Here are a few of our structural insulated panels on the job site:

It’s not enough just to use green building materials—we also source them locally as often as possible. The structural insulated panels for this green building came from Thermocore of Missouri, located just 40 miles from Columbia in Taos, Missouri.

Thermocore’s SIPs contain injected polyurethane foam insulation with a Class A Fire Rating. In addition to providing superior and fireproof insulation, injected polyurethane is incredibly dense, strong and moisture resistant. A closed cell gasket seals the gaps between the SIPs so no heat or air escapes.

This airtight method of insulation maximizes energy efficiency and makes the most of our green energy array, which includes solar panels, LED lights, ERV (energy recovery ventilation), a tankless water heater and Energy Star appliances.

Learn more and watch our SIPs come together in Episode 4 of our Green Building Series:

Planning a remodel or custom home? Peckham Architecture incorporates deep green building techniques into every project to suit your budget. We offer prospective clients a FREE initial meeting of up to one hour.

Contact us today to see what’s possible: 573-777-4444

PREVIOUSLY: How we minimized the environmental impact of our concrete slab foundation:

How to Reduce Carbon Footprint & Maximize Energy Efficiency with a Concrete Slab Foundation

How to Reduce Carbon Footprint & Maximize Energy Efficiency with a Concrete Slab Foundation

Did you know concrete is a major source of greenhouse gases? Peckham Architecture puts sustainability first in every phase of design and construction, from the ground up. This includes the composition and insulation of the concrete slab foundation for our deep green home headquarters.

To reduce the carbon footprint of this LEED Platinum green building, we used a concrete slab made with 28 percent fly ash (coal residue from power plants). We also paved our front porch and walkways with repurposed, locally made bricks from an old Columbia street.

Episode 2 of our Green Building Series explains the science of fly ash concrete.

The foundation is also where we took the first step toward net-positive energy. Proper insulation of thermal bridges, or areas where energy typically escapes, is vital to establish and maintain stable indoor temperatures. The concrete slab foundation, walls, doors, windows, ceiling and roof all act as thermal bridges. To reduce heat transfer, we installed extruded polystyrene foam insulation beneath the concrete slab foundation.

Episode 3 of our Green Building Series shows how concrete slab insulation can save energy and dramatically reduce long-term costs in a green building.

This green building technique is just one reason our eco house is Missouri’s first Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) Certified building!

Considering a custom home, remodel or construction project? Leave a legacy that benefits your pocketbook, the environment and future generations when you make it deep green

Contact us today for a FREE initial meeting of up to one hour: 573-777-4444

PREVIOUSLY: The story behind our net-positive energy green building:

Living our Mission: Introducing Peckham Architecture’s Green Building Series

NEXT: Using structural insulated panels for airtight energy savings:

Passive House Insulation for Peak Energy Efficiency: SIPs


RioGen: A Run-of-River Hydroelectric Power Station

Peckham Architecture is seeking visionaries to take RioGen hydroelectric power station into the next phases of development. Contact us if you would like to purchase this renewable energy patent or collaborate with Nick to develop this technology.

Wherever rivers flow, there is renewable energy. That’s why Nick Peckham invented and patented RioGen hydroelectric power station, a 21st Century water wheel, to produce run-of-river hydroelectricity. Nick designed RioGen as part of the solution to our growing energy challenges.

Run-of-river hydroelectric generation is a low-impact alternative to conventional impoundment facilities because it harnesses the natural flow of a river rather than relying on reservoirs and dams to manage water.

Faster water has exponentially greater hydroelectric potential. RioGen’s wedge shape applies the physics of nozzle theory to maximize hydroelectric generation. Imagine the water hose in your garden. As it flows from the hose, the water travels a short distance at a slow speed. Put a nozzle on the hose, and the water sprays much farther and faster. Similarly, river water accelerates as it enters the broad opening of RioGen’s pontoons, generating more power as it hits the blades.

This dynamic makes the many existing locks and dams along the world’s great rivers promising locations for RioGen stations; positioning RioGen downstream from a lock and dam structure could dramatically increase the flow of water into the station.

RioGen also makes use of river jump—when the water enters the space between the pontoons, it jumps up, increasing contact with the blades. RioGen’s curved blades then prolong contact with the water to maximize the force extracted from the river. Watch this rendering of RioGen hydroelectric power station in action:

Are you interested in developing this patent or collaborating with Nick? Get in touch to start a conversation.

Columbia Missourian 1/15/17: Nick Peckham proves that sustainable living is attainable and cost-effective

Before he moved into his new house, Nick Peckham paid up to $200 a month for electricity.

After the first month in the new home, he owed nothing.

Instead, he earned a credit of almost $180 from Columbia Power & Light.

The home’s energy-efficient building design had given him a residence with absolutely no energy costs.

Peckham is the founder of Peckham Architecture, a company focused on sustainable design. In May, he moved into his “Deep Green House” with his wife, Diane.

The house, powered by solar energy, uses a variety of techniques to make it airtight, watertight and highly insulated.

“One of my goals when we built this house was to build the greenest building in the world,” Peckham said. “In other words, to produce more energy than we use, be ADA accessible and not have any volatile materials in the house.”

Columbia Business Times 6/6/16: Top of the Town: Top Architect

Second Place — Peckham Architecture

Owner and architect Nick Peckham specializes in comprehensive anticipatory design service and sustainable design. Peckham’s architectural career began in 1973, and he has a passion for sustainable design, recently building the most energy efficient home in Missouri, according to the Passive House Institute of the United Sates.

Columbia Business Times 3/24/16: The Greenest House on Earth

… As I pull into the long gravel drive, a small green and white sign catches my eye: “The Greenest House on Earth.”

“That’s the only thing I do,” Peckham says. “If you don’t want to do something that’s environmentally responsible, go get somebody else. It just doesn’t make sense.”

… “I wanted this to be a state-of-the-art green building,” Peckham says. “Everything I know is in here. Recycled content, water conservation, day lighting, zero energy. So many things are in this house that could be in any house. The people who built this live in Boone County.”

Peckham, owner of Peckham Architecture, used as many local vendors as possible, from Glidewell Construction to Manor Roofing and Restoration. The house, when complete, will be “net zero,” meaning it produces as much energy as it consumes, if not more. … It will be the most energy efficient home in Missouri and certainly in the top two or three in the country, according to Lisa White, certification manager at the Passive House Institute of the United States in Chicago (PHIUS).

… When I meet Peckham in person, he’s conferring with general contractor Rod Glidewell, owner of Glidewell Construction, on the insulation. … Though Glidewell has used sustainable products in his buildings before, this is his first completely “green” project.

“I was certainly glad just to have the opportunity to work with Nick,” Gildewell says. “It doesn’t matter how old you get: if you quit learning, you quit living.”

Click here to read the full story by Brenna McDermott at Columbia Business Times.

Columbia Business Times 4/17/09: Architects gain notoriety with sustainable business model

Nick Peckham moved to Columbia from Pennsylvania 35 years ago to teach architecture at Stephens College. Although the architecture program didn’t work out, Peckham has given the entire community practical lessons on sustainability and environmental stewardship in architecture.

When Peckham sought a partner who shared his vision, he found local architect Brad Wright. The two formed Peckham and Wright Architects in 1978,  and, after working on about 1,500 building projects since then, their company has been named one of the finalists for the 2009 Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award.

… Both Peckham and Wright were years ahead of the curve in designing eco-friendly buildings. … More than 30 years ago, PWArchitects designed the master plan for The Meadows, Columbia’s first Planned Unit Development (PUD). Within The Meadows, Peckham and Wright designed the Trombe Wall Townhouses. A Trombe wall is a sun-facing wall, built from metal, stone, concrete or adobe, which acts as a thermal mass. The wall collects heat during the day, and the heated air flows via convection to the interior space through one-way directional vents. The Trombe Wall Townhouses earned PWArchitects a U.S. Department of Energy Passive Solar Award in 1978.

Trombe Wall Townhouses at The Meadows, Columbia, Missouri. Peckham & Wright Architects.

A year later, PWArchitects designed a solar home for the Peckham family on Westwood Avenue in Columbia.  The home was featured in the book Passive Solar Architecture. Also in 1979, PWArchitects built a second solar home in Columbia and three other buildings that used PWArchitecture’s Passive Solar Furnace.

“A lot of what has been done by architects was based on expediency or style. Only within the last 10-15 years has a real global appreciation between built environment and natural environment taken place,” Peckham said. …

Hunt Residence, Columbia, Missouri. Designed by Nick Peckham while at Peckham & Wright Architects.

Read the full story by Bondi Wood at Columbia Business Times