Behind the Scenes: Jamestown Net-Zero House
Finding room for a fireplace in an energy-efficient home
To achieve their Jamestown Net-Zero goal, homeowners Don and Dana Powers purposely chose electric appliances for the entire house, knowing it would maximize the impact from the solar PV system installed on their barn. There was one exception: the living room fireplace.
The couple wanted to include this primal element for the nurturing effect it contributes to gatherings in the living room with family and friends, but they needed to make sure it was right for their lifestyle. They chose a sleek unit that operates on propane and offers the advantages of providing heat while also keeping the surfaces around the fireplace cool to the touch thanks to the engineering of the sealed-unit fireplace itself and its venting technology.
This means that artwork and other objects can be placed as close as desired. To complete the look of the fireplace, homeowner/architect Don Powers designed a black slate surround and a fabricated steel mantel only 6 inches deep. A stone hearth area on the floor was not needed because of the sealed-unit technology.
The family is very happy with the finished result. “It’s great to be able to gather near the fireplace,” says Don.