Green Buildings and the U.N. Report on Climate Change

Green Buildings and Climate Change

Green buildings are essential for stemming the rise of global temperatures. According to the United Nations, buildings consume about 40 percent of global energy and produce nearly a third of greenhouse gas emissions.

At Peckham Architecture, we design buildings as energy efficient as science allows. Our deep green building practices create eco-friendly homes and businesses with net-positive energy: Our green buildings produce more electricity than they consume! Below is a photo of our LEED Platinum, net-positive home headquarters. Designed to be the greenest house on earth, it’s Missouri’s first Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) Certified building:

What We Know about Climate Change

You’ve probably heard about the latest landmark report on climate change**. In the report, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calls for immediate and comprehensive reductions in global emissions to keep the global temperature increase below 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels. According to the report, limiting the rise to this extent will help avert the climate disaster we will otherwise face in the next two decades.

**Because climate science denial leads to irreparable harm, we encourage you to educate yourself on this topic using reputable sources. This article from The New York Times is a place to start.

Green Buildings: Our Part of the Solution to Climate Change

At Peckham Architecture, we feel a personal responsibility to help prevent the rapidly approaching climate crisis. There’s no way around it—human action is the only solution. Cities play a central role, and green buildings and energy-saving retrofits could make a massive impact. Here’s some hopeful news: At the 2015 climate summit in Paris, mayors from 96 cities agreed to implement carbon budgets in line with the 2.7-degree target. Emissions in 27 of those C40 Cities have already peaked: They’ve begun to drop rather than continuing to rise. This article from Curbed is full of resources on the challenge these cities have taken on.

Take Action

Join Peckham Architecture in our mission to be part of the solution to climate change. If you’re considering a new construction, renovation or historic preservation project, make it as green as possible. We can help—get in touch to discuss your project and learn about our architectural design, consulting and planning services.

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: An Environmentally Conscious Cat Café in Columbia, Missouri:

Columbia’s Cat Café Goes Green

Columbia’s Cat Café Goes Green

Peckham Architecture is thrilled to share our recent collaboration with Columbia native Ryan Kennedy and Papa’s Cat Café. Located at 14 South 2nd Street, Columbia’s first cat café is also a coffee shop and bakery serving organic and vegan options.

Melissa Jane Photography

Cat cafés are for people who want their kitty fix but can’t have a cat at home due to allergies, travel, roommates or other restrictions.

“We’re offering the opportunity to come in and have cat time,” Kennedy says. “You get to come and pet them, and then you get to leave.”

Papa’s Cat Café partners with Boone County Animal Care, a foster-based rescue group, to maintain an in-house population of 20 cats. Two cats, Corde and Frankie, reside permanently at Papa’s. The other 18 are available for adoption.

View cats available for adoption at Papa’s Cat Café.

“It’s like a really big foster home for the cats to get socialized and be able to meet people in a more relaxed environment,” Kennedy says.

Melissa Jane Photography

Like everyone else at Peckham Architecture, founder Nick Peckham is a cat person. Our team was delighted to bring sustainable design elements to such an unusual project. Nick worked with Kennedy to plan energy efficient LED lighting, special ventilation to separate the coffee shop from the cat zone, double ceiling insulation to reduce heating and cooling costs, and high-quality water filtration.

To avoid the waste of buying new, we also incorporated pre-owned equipment and furniture in the design.

“I have this huge refrigerator with a worktop on it,” Kennedy says. “I got it at an auction, and we all worried about getting it into the space. Nick cut out a to-scale post-it note and moved it over the plans to make sure it would fit. If we hadn’t used that post-it note, I don’t think we would have had the confidence to make it in—it made it by the skin of our teeth!”

Read the rest of Kennedy’s experience with Peckham Architecture on our Reviews page.

Melissa Jane Photography

In name and decor, Papa’s Cat Café was inspired by Ernest Hemingway, Kennedy’s favorite author, whose Key West home is known for the dozens of cats who reside there. Papa was one of Hemingway’s nicknames and is also what Kennedy’s daughter calls him.

The cat area at Papa’s features a 600-square-foot playroom where cats climb built-in shelves and cat towers, hide in benches, lounge on tropical print cushions and sharpen their claws on a palm tree scratching post. In a separate, 100-square-foot escape room, the cats get some alone time and use the litter box in peace. If you’re allergic to cats or simply wish to keep your distance, you can watch them play through the viewing window between the coffee shop and playroom.

Melissa Jane Photography

Entry to the playroom includes a free drip coffee when you reserve online. Papa’s also offers Cat Yoga, Saturday morning Cat Academy for kids, a cat-themed book club and even gift certificates. We wish Ryan Kennedy and his crew of kitties every success. We’ll see you at Papa’s Cat Café!

Want to make your new construction or renovation more sustainable? 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: Energy-saving advantages of ductless heating and cooling:

Thermally Boring: Ductless Heating and Cooling

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.