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Christian Gladu Design connects people with their environment by creating sustainable, energy efficient homes designed to complement and elevate their clients’ daily lives. Our creative discovery process reveals the design elements that will make your home functional, inspirational and delight you every day. When you choose Christian Gladu Design, you get more than a home for living. You get a home for life.


Christian Gladu Design Is Moving
2013-12-18 21:52:54
Christian Gladu Design has a new home! On December 20th we will open our doors in the St. Clair Place Building located in Downtown Bend, Oregon. Our new studio is centrally located and designed to accommodate clients who would like to meet in-person with a state of the art conference room and public reception area.

Please update your contact information to:

Custom Home Design

920 NW Bond St.
Suite 203
Bend, OR 97701

Office: 541.848.4523
Toll Free: 888.945.9206

We are looking forward to visiting and collaborating with you in the new year.
High Desert Lodge: Modern Home Design
2013-09-05 00:59:08
Custom Home DesignLocated in Shevlin Commons in Bend Oregon, this modern home project was conceived for an active, newly retired couple. The neighborhood sits on 76 acres and has 66 home sites. The project occupies the northwest corner of the development and is bordered by a walking trail on one side and nature conservancy easements on the other two. The site allows direct access to Shevlin Park and is nestled in a grove of ponderosa pines. There are filtered views of the Cascades to the northwest and the second floor has southern territorial views of the neighborhood.

The custom home's exterior is clad with a combination of sage green Custom home interiorstucco, accent timber, and stained cedar which complement the natural environment. The metal roofs are positioned to allow placement of solar thermal and photovoltaic panels. The main floor plan is sheltered by a collection of low sloped shed roofs and the second floor is enclosed beneath a gable roof structure. A xeriscape courtyard is located at the entrance of the house and is surrounded by a low height, indigenous rock wall; and a two car garage is included for for daily use with a separate single bay workshop for projects and recreational equipment.

Inside, the family room is organized around a pellet burning stove and views to the north west. The kitchen and dining room are integrated spaces lit by natural light that filters from both the stair above and to the southern entry. The master suite is privately located at the northeast corner of the site. The family room, kitchen, dining room, master suite, laundry, and music room are all located on the main floor ensuring that the client can enjoy an extended retirement at home.

Find out more about this project here
Building Permits in Hand: Two Projects Begin Construction
2013-09-03 23:12:59
Custom Home Design This Craftsman Lodge Style project is located on Broken Top with High Timber Construction as the builder.

Two of our projects in Bend are soon to be under construction.  With building permits in hand and site prep out of the way, Woodhill Homes and High Timber Construction are ready to begin building. Woodhill Homes' project is located in Awbrey Butte and High Timber Constructions' project is a beautiful craftsman style home
with lodge inspired elements located in Broken Top.

Custom Home Design This Contemporary Craftsman style home is going up on Aubrey Butte with Woodhill Homes managing the building.

Custom Home Design: High Desert Modern Exterior
2013-09-03 21:11:25
Custom Home Design: Coastal Shingle Style
2013-09-03 21:03:26
Custom Home Design
Custom Home Design: Incredibly Green
2013-09-03 20:59:21
Custom Home Design
Custom Home: High Desert Modern
2013-09-03 20:35:27
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Designing Custom Homes: An Urban Infill Project
2013-08-09 17:23:28
Custom Homes Urban Infill Elgin 1 (1351 Elgin) & Elgin 2 (1352 Elgin), present an excellent example of a successful urban infill project in Bend, Oregon.

Originally a small, failing mill cottage straddling the center property line between 1352 Elgin (Elgin 2) and 1351 Elgin (Elgin 1); the 1352 Elgin Street Project is the second phase of a two piece urban infill, custom homes design project. The Elgin Street property is bordered by an alley to the north and Elgin Street to the south, and initially contained a large old growth ponderosa pine to to the south west.

Fourteen months ago, Builder and developer Jay Campbell of Woodhill Homes, purchased and razed the dilapidated mill cottage which straddled two 50 x 100’ single family lots in the heart of Bend’s diverse westside neighborhood. The alley access to the north and the tree filter southern exposure suggested that we park the cars in the rear of the property and orient the  primary living areas to the southern portion of the lot.  The unique opportunity to design two abutting custom homes in an existing neighborhood allowed us to orient the houses in a manner that created an informal court yard between the two properties.

Urban Infill 1351 Elgin.

Both homes involved in this urban infill project, were designed with living areas to the front of the house in an effort capitalize on the southern exposure and a connection to the diverse west side  neighborhood . The lots sloped down from west to east and allowed us  to tuck the garages inconspicuously under the  rear of the house both de-emphasizing the garage and reducing lot coverage. We then raised the floor level of the home 6 steps above the street level in the front of the property, allowing us to create a vertical level of separation from the street and pedestrian while creating outdoor porches and patios that connect with the neighborhood.

Urban Infill 1352 Elgin

Diagrammatically, both 1351 and 1352 Elgin share similar public living areas,  however; 1352 has been mirrored to create an implied and informal courtyard between the two custom homes which is enhanced with a water feature that acoustically  softens the experience of being at either house and identifies the projects as a unique place .

Architecturally, the goals for this particular urban infill project were to borrow from the original bungalow character that is prevalent in much of e Bend’s west side, while acknowledging that Elgin street is a combination of architectural styles that have evolved over the last 75 to 100 years. Traditional building forms and architectural elements were used carefully to create homes that were in scale and character of the neighborhood while acknowledging that these were new custom homes that reflect the demands of today's lifestyle.

Custom Homes The kitchen and living room connect to outdoor rooms.

The first and second floors of each house have a common layout that connects the kitchen to the rear outdoor rooms (the patio and porch), while the living room and dining rooms connect and relate to the front porch and yard.  The living room is treated as a single story building within the house creating a visual layering from the street, softening the front facade.  The unique orientation of the living room allows for an outdoor living space that can be accessed from both the dining and living room, producing both an internal and external flow between the kitchen, living, and dining room.

Custom Homes Urban Infill The den doubles as a guest space in both plans and provides a layer of privacy and intimate space.

The den doubles as a  guest space in both plans and provides a layer of privacy and intimate space on the main floor. In both designs the stairway connects the main floor to sleeping areas and the “u” shaped stair creates an opportunity to introduce natural light to the internal core of the building with windows from above the stairs.

Both of the custom homes differ when it comes to the orientation of the bedrooms. Two bedrooms , a bath, and the master suite are located on the second floor in Elgin 1352; while  the master bedroom is on the main floor and the daylight basement is composed of two bedrooms, a bath, and a common area in 1351 Elgin. The stair location promotes family interaction by directing all traffic back to the common areas of the house in both plans.

Environmentally, both houses were designed to sun temper the primary living spaces using a passive solar approach to the orientation of the rooms which additionally provides

The stair location promotes family interaction. "The stair location promotes family interaction."

abundant natural light to all main floor living spaces. Both custom homes were built to Earth Advantage standards with all ductwork located within conditioned space and constructed out of durable materials that respond favorably to the harsh Central Oregon climate.

Successful urban infill projects demand that we understand the history of a neighborhood and make decisions around design that leverages the clues left by the existing urban fabric. This does not mean we need to recreate or match existing housing styles but it  does suggest we understand the scale and orientation of the neighborhood and create projects that work in those context.

High End Appliances Can Come At Higher Price.
2011-11-27 00:38:00
Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas is on the horizon friends and families are spending large amounts of time preparing meals indoors. The trend over the past 10 years has been large stainless steel restaurant inspired kitchen ranges that produce a tremendous amount of heat. No commercial style kitchen range is complete without a range hood that will stand you hair on end. Well, before you run out and buy a huge kitchen hood make sure that the hood is designed to work with the other appliances and HVAC system in your home. As green building becomes more mainstream and houses have become tighter all of the ventilation requirements of a house need to be designed to work as a system.


A powerful kitchen vent can de-pressurizing a house and pull exhaust fumes from wood stoves, fireplaces, hot water heaters, and furnaces into the house. These fumes do not just reduce indoor air quality but can be potential lethal to the inhabitants. Until recently the building code did not do an adequate job identifying this issue and the manufactures of the equipment generally did not direct the installer, contractor or home owner on how to integrate the hood ventilation with the overall mechanical system of the house.

Basically if a kitchen hood is strong enough and the house is tight enough and the kitchen fan is turned on air will be extracted from chimneys and vents. To correct this as the hood is turned on there needs to simultaneously be a duct that supplies make-up air from the outside into the house; this will keep the house from de-pressurizing and pulling air down the chimneys and vents. There are make up air systems available however they are expensive and can consume large amount of energy. Introducing 1200 cfm of cold air into an energy efficient home is definitely counter intuitive. Using hoods that are lower cfm(150 to 250 cfm) will reduce the need for make-up air. Additionally using  charcoal air filtration in lieu of exhaust may be and option. If using a charcoal filter I would make sure the house had and ERV or HRV  to provide a fresh air exchange to the house. Please read the attached Green Building Advisor article for an in depth look at trials and tribulations of make up air.
What is a Passive Home?
2011-11-25 23:51:25
The attached video is a great primer for the principals that define the Passive House movement. I attended the Passive House consultants training and certification process in search of a workflow that would help create Net Zero homes. There is a lot of emphasis for on-site renewable energy on the road to Net Zero but the low hanging fruit is first in conservation.

Passive House is diligent in quantifying how much energy a house will need, maximizing the performance of the building shell and as part of the design process orienting the house to take full advantage of the passive and active solar opportunities of the site.

Net Zero strategies need to work in all climates so we cannot always lean on high photovoltaic or thermal panel usage in lieu of a super insulated shell. I am a strong advocate of passive and active solar strategies when building a house therefore a low calorie energy approach to the building is the first step making Net Zero buildings the standard.

Photovoltaic and thermal solar are highly subsidized by utilities and the federal and state governments. The building shell is not subsidized to the same extent so the emphasis has been on creation of energy not the conservation. Ironically in real unsubsidized dollars it is much less expensive build a super insulated building than to try and heat and cool a less efficient building shell with on-site renewables.

The strength in Passive House is that it is clear path to Net Zero and will require less photovoltaic and thermal panels to achieve a Net Zero energy balance.

What is a Passive Home
What is a Passive Home
2011-11-25 23:44:48

Manufacturing in Housing
2011-11-19 15:43:39
Manufacturing is in my mind is a key player in the future of green building. The waste can be better managed; the houses can be built in a controlled environment with constant inspection while being tested for energy efficiency prior to delivery. The manufacturing environment can be safer, well organized work place. Travel to job sites can be reduced as well as the inefficiencies associated with site built buildings. It will be easier to provide craftsmen with the training and education it takes to build a green building. Reinventing how we manufacture and deliver housing and what building systems are used in the construction of new homes is key to the success of the manufactured product. Currently most of the manufacturing systems in this country are similar to the systems used in site built houses, which are structurally redundant and inefficient. Overbuilding affects resources and energy efficiency therefore creating an engineered system can leverage the efficient use of materials and energy. Developing a lifecycle plan and upgrade system for houses would help create buildings that lasted longer and a system to recycle the houses at the end of their technical cycle.  We need to find the “Fordism “in the building industry.

As Americans debate whether prefab is a greener way to build, those active in the discussion should not be surprised when their dialogue receives puzzled looks from their European counterparts. In Europe, this very question was asked and answered nearly two decades ago. The resounding findings were that prefabrication creates higher-quality structures that reduce both the embodied energy content and the amount of carbon produced annually during the operation of traditional onsite-built homes. The reduction in carbon emissions can be as much as 40 to 60 percent. Today prefabrication accounts for more than 30% of the new homes built in the U.K. and Ireland and nearly 70% of new homes in Scotland, up from less than 1% during the early 1990s. During that same period, my former company, Century Homes, which later became Kingspan Century, grew from a start-up operation of four employees into Europe’s largest manufacturer of offsite-built structures, producing 8,000 units a year at five manufacturing facilities. Click Here to read more.
2011-11-19 15:42:46
NW Green Building Industry Summit
2011-09-19 12:37:03
Christian Gladu Design recently lectured at NW Green Building Industry Summit

hosted by the Central Oregon Builder Association at the River House Convention Center in Bend Oregon.

Christian Gladu owner of Christian Gladu Design and The Bungalow Company reviewed the advantages of constructing a BIM model in lieu of the conventional two dimensional design process.

The BIM model allows the designer to build the building virtually,checking for conflicts and errors before construction begins. Constructing a virtual model allows the designer to share the three dimensional model with the contractor and sub contractors in the earliest phases of design.

BIM models are not just another pretty picture, an intelligent BIM model can measure and predict energy consumption, quantify building materials and assist in the coordination of building systems. To successfully design sustainable green buildings projects must be designed as a system where all of the parts and processes are coordinated and designed to work together.

The use of BIM fosters a collaborative environment where the design team can leverage the collective experience of all the trades and consultants and incorporate this information into the project from the beginning.

Designer Patrick May of CGD  Demonstrated  by working with a BIM model the design team could quickly explore energy and construction scenarios early on in the design process; sharing this information with the design team is a key factor in quantitatively evaluating if the goals of the project are being accomplished.

The days of simply designing a building ,calling it “Green” or “Sustainable” because it looks an feels the part are over.The tools are available to quantify building materials, enhance visualization, measure energy consumption,  and carbon footprint.
Ground Breaking at Fox Island
2011-09-01 14:09:39
Well I am thinking that summer is over and I have been avoiding my duties as chief blogger here at Christian GladuDesign so I thought I

would share with you  a quick post of a project that broke ground today in Washington State.

We Just finished this design for Mac and Megan Stanton and their three children.This project is located on Fox Island which is  in the South Puget Sound.

This Arts & Crafts inspired house is gracefully tucks into  a down sloped lot that has allowed us to create a drive under garage and walk out basement. All main floor public spaces open on the waterside covered porch which protects the rooms from the summer sun and the wet Pacific Northwest winters. On the second floor all but one bedroom has sweeping views of the Puget sound .

The basement entry is cover by the porch above which provides a sheltered opening to the playroom that  runs along the day lighted portion of the basement. Additional storage for outdoor furniture and gear is located adjacent to the sheltered basement entry.

Waterfront lots always provide regulatory and site challenges but I think this one seamlessly integrates into the land. Stay tuned for more updates.
Energy modeling for the real world
2011-06-08 17:43:50
During some research on energy modeling, I found this article that I have attached below. I am not sure about the authors bow tie, but the disparity in energy modeling and performance is an ongoing problem with new buildings. There are certainly outside forces at work here, for example; how does the owner interact with the building? How many people are living or working in the building? And how was the building constructed? Just to name a few.

As I have stated before on my blog, the LEED rating system does not put enough emphasis on energy efficiency. In the United States there are very few manufacturers making high-efficiency windows or mechanical equipment that are equal to our European neighbors.

The focus is on creating new ways of generating energy. Which is great however, conserving energy should be our first line of defence.

In a country that is held hostage by its relationship with foreign oil it seems that we should be  focusing on creating building systems and components that reduce our need for energy first. Conservation would make a renewable strategy much more viable solution while moving to the goal of Net -Zero by 2030.

Energy programs such as Passive House  have proven that consistent  high-efficiency modeling and results are  possible. However, the process is much more involved than the traditional american approach. To take our buildings to the next level of efficiency  we need to retrain our workforce  of designers, architects and builders. At the same time, entice our manufacturer's to make more efficient building products and systems.

by Christian Gladu

Energy Modeling for the real world 

by Steven Straus

As design and construction teams work to achieve increasingly higher LEED ratings, they are pushing the envelope of energy efficiency with new uses for recycled and renewable materials within the building. Unfortunately, many projects have fallen short of the team’s original intentions.

The most significant concern for a finished building is the difference between the modeled and the actual energy consumption. Energy modelers are pressured by the design and construction teams to demonstrate significant energy savings in order to help earn a higher LEED rating for the finished project. However, when owners see that first-year energy consumption costs are substantially higher than what the model predicted, they can claim they have been misled into making inappropriate investments that did not result in the payback they expected.

Click here to read more.
Fact or Fiction? Andrea Rossi and the Energy Catalyzer
2011-06-06 17:58:34

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Ok, I am going to take a different tack on this blog; I need your help. I have been reading about  E-Catalyzer and Andrea Rossi all over the internet and I am stumped.Is this for real? The dramatic presentations, the secret undertone and to be blunt technology that I don't understand makes me skeptical, however I would be lying if didn't say that I have hope for the silver bullet solution to the world energy crisis.

Please view this v-blog, search it on the internet and let me know what you think.


River Front Eco House
2011-06-02 14:23:04
I am excited to announce the Duey Brothers Construction of Sisters, Oregon have started construction on a project we designed at  400 NW Columbia Street , Bend Oregon. Trevin Duey  and I worked on a project next door several years ago and have been collaborating on this project over the past few years. Trevin has been great to work with on the front end of this project and I am excited for the build.

Here are some renderings of our new exterior materials pallet. We have replaced the hardi plank lap siding with stucco. The dark brown siding is stained cedar channel siding and the accent panels are a reclaimed douglas fir.

This is a great site over looking the Deschutes River in Bend Oregon. The foundation is Constructed with Rewards Insulated Concrete Forms  and all of the wall framing is 2x8 plate with double.

2x4 staggered stud walls. The staggered stud walls are to help eliminate thermal bridging while the 2x8 wall cavity allows for extra wall insulation. The cavity insulation is approx. 3" of closed cell spray foam on the back side exterior sheathing and the balance of the cavity insulation is blown cellulose. The foam is higher in r-value  and most importantly is extremely effective in creating an air tight envelope. The blown cellulose is a great insulator and is more cost-effective than the high density foam.

The window package is a fiberglass framed window with low e coating and argon fill between the panes.Fiberglass windows are becoming more prevalent in the market and are one of the best choices for energy efficiency available in the United States.Some fiberglass windows are available with insulated frames and  the fiberglass comes in some nice exterior color choices and are even available with wood interiors as an option. I am a big fan of the fiberglass frames and am excited to see other manufactures step in to the market with more finish choices and energy-efficient glazing options. This house will either use Milgard  Fiberglass or the Marvin Integrity we are still waiting on final pricing and availability.

The roof  is a standing seam metal roof over adhesive ice and water shield. The roof is a conventionally framed 2x12 roof insulated with 10" of open cell spray foam.

The heating and cooling system will be duct less minis split system. Ductless mini split heat pumps are very efficient and require little to no duct work. Efficiency of these ductless systems have dramatically increased in the last few years. We installed a Mitsubishi ductless mini split heat pump in our studio last year and have been amazed how efficient the system is and how quiet the equipment is while running. Ductless mini splits are still a little awkward looking  so you have to think about where to place them. The only significant ductwork we are using is for our heat recovery ventilation system which provides fresh air to the building while recouping 90 percent of the heat extracted from the space. Simply put the HRV extracts warm air from the building and runs it cross a heat exchanger while it pulls fresh air in from the  outside and heats the air  on the other side of the heat exchanger. All houses should have some type heat recovery or energy recovery systems to provide fresh with recouping as much heat as possible to promote good indoor air quality. We will blog more on the heating cooling and ventilation system as we develop our final equipment specifications.

The domestic hot water system will a tankless gas-fired hot water heater. Tank less systems are a great energy saver because they do not store large amounts of  hot water that are not being used. Hot water is made instantly as needed reducing all energy usage associated with storage. Additionally tankless hot water heaters are small and can easily fit in a closet of small mechanical area.

The river facade faces east, the street faces west and north and south elevations are very close to the property lines. The north elevation has very few windows and their primary use is for ventilation and peek-a-boo views. The southern elevation is obstructed by the adjacent  house and trees, so we have done what we can to maximize the southern windows that are not obstructed. The southern roof does have good solar  exposure and has been designed for future solar photovoltaic array. The western elevation is well protected  by trees, so it will not be at risk for summer over heating. The water front is to the east and the views extend from the south and all along the east and to the north. All of the public spaces and bedrooms face the river and either a north or south wall which helps provide  natural light from at least two to their sides of each room. The good connection to natural light daylight  helps smaller rooms live larger.Above and beyond energy efficiency the homeowner  is dedicated to using interior finishes that are health and non toxic and has selected local interior designer Jeannie Legum to lead the interior design effort on this project.We are excited to work with Jeanie and will share the interior selections as the project moves forward.

William McDonough on cradle to cradle design
2011-05-27 21:11:35

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This is a great video by Architect William McDonough. McDonough is a principal in William McDonough +Partners and the author of Cradle to Cradle .This video was published in 2007 but the content is timeless. I am inspired by his message and intrigued by his solutions.

Recognizing the damage we have done to the environment as a design problem gives us the ability to re-think and re-design how we make things and live our lives. I would highly recommend reading Cradle to Cradle ; this book is not a book by Architects for Architect; this book deals with the ecology and science of how we coexist with nature  and other species.

After watching this video please share your ideas and thoughts.

Bolivia Set to Pass Historic 'Law of Mother Earth' Which Will Grant Nature Equal Rights to Humans
2011-05-27 14:06:31
As I was looking at my face book account this morning I came across this article a friend posted. This may appear like an obscure hard to regulate law but I am struck with the intention this law represents. We need to realize what is at stake and be willing to protect Mother Earth. 

Written by Keph Senett
With the cooperation of politicians and grassroots organizations, Bolivia is set to pass the Law of Mother Earth which will grant nature the same rights and protections as humans. The piece of legislation, called la Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra, is intended to encourage a radical shift in conservation attitudes and actions, to enforce new control measures on industry, and to reduce environmental destruction.

The law redefines natural resources as blessings and confers the same rights to nature as to human beings, including: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered. Perhaps the most controversial point is the right "to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities".

Click Here to Read More.

Senate Legislation Calls for Zero-Net-Energy Buildings by 2030
2011-05-14 04:08:17
This is great news but we have a lot of work to do to make this happen! Time for American Companies to step it up and build windows , doors, insulation and heating systems that rival our European neighbors.

A Bi-Partisan Congressional Effort Lands the 2030 Challenge Targets Back on the Senate Floor

The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011 was introduced yesterday by Senators
Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). The bill places meeting the 2030 Challenge target of zero-net-energy for new buildings by 2030 as the first item in a comprehensive strategy for U.S. energy reductions in the building and industrial sectors.

Specifically, Sec. 101 of the legislation, Greater Energy Efficiency in Building Codes, directs the Secretary of Energy to “establish targets for specific years” with each target “higher than the preceding target” on a “path to achieving zero-net-energy” by the year 2030.

The baselines for incremental updates of the codes are the 2009 IECC for residential buildings and ASHRAE Standard 90.1–2010 for commercial buildings. The first code update, the 2012 IECC, which will be released in about a month, meets the initial 50% reduction target of the 2030 Challenge.

The 2030 Challenge has been included in numerous other federalstate, and local pieces of legislation. This most recent bill offers another opportunity for the U.S. to realize the energy reduction targets of the 2030 Challenge.

Click here for more.
Inside the New American Home
2011-05-01 14:56:51
By Jill Krasny, MainStreet

Apr 29, 2011

While housing, and homebuilding in particular, have taken a massive hit due to the Great Recession, many housing experts do not expect this trend to continue long term as more unemployed Americans get back to work, empty-nesters begin to downsize or build their dream homes, and 'boomerang kids' who were “doubling-up,” or living with their extended family, decide to move out of Mom and Dad’s basement and strike out on their own.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, this “pent-up demand” for new homes is expected to increase only slightly in the coming months, but the new homes to enter the market will be tailor-made to fit Americans’ changing needs and desires in the post-recession years.

“What’s driving it all is affordability,” says John McIlwain, senior fellow for housing at the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C., who notes that high unemployment, credit and student loan debt, stricter mortgage rules and a surplus of foreclosed homes will likely continue to scare many first-time buyers from the housing market and keep new home construction relatively slow.

The McMansion home of pre-recession years is on the way out, but a quality home with “well-designed bones” that is relatively inexpensive to operate has become more desirable, says McIlwain.

MainStreet talked to homebuilding experts to learn more about some of the key features home shoppers can expect to find in the new American home this year. Read on to learn all about the modern-day dream home and what not to expect on your house-hunting adventure. Click Here to Read More
Building Information Modeling For NIST Net Zero Laboratory
2011-04-27 01:25:50
Today we were hired by the general contractor  Therrien Waddell Inc. to create a BIM Model (Building information Modeling) for  Nist Net Zero Lab house located at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg ,MD. Our role is to assist the contractor in coordination of the building structure with the building systems. The Building Science Corporation (BSC) has designed and engineered the project. BCS is a leading authority on building science and energy efficiency. BCS has a very informative website and has authored many books and publications on building science. I would encourage anyone with an interest in building science to take a look at the BSC website.

Many  general contractors are now hiring outside consultants to create BIM models on new construction projects in order to ensure that the project goes together as planned. When building an energy efficient building it is imperative that the systems are well planned  in order for  the building to perform as anticipated. Constructing the building  virtually allows the contractor to better understand sequencing and order of assembly prior to construction

18 month ago our firm switched from two dimensional  Autocad for drafting  and Google  Sketch Up for 3D presentations to Graphisofts Archicad product. In our old system we would have to develop the design and then create a 3D model which was very time-consuming and we were not able to leverage the value of the three-dimensional design until the project was complete. Archicad has additional software modules that allow us to determine a building's energy efficiency  during design , route mechanical systems and show the client real-time visual models of the building. Very quickly we can create sun studies or change exterior building materials or colors and this all aides in the client  fully understanding the design before they  begin construction.

I would recommend anyone who is hiring a Designer or Architect insist that their project be designed and documented using BIM software in order to totally understand the design and construction of the project.
Solar desert brings life to renewable energy
2011-04-21 14:34:51
This month Google announced it would invest $168 million dollars in a solar thermal power plant called  Ivanpah ("The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generation System") which is currently under construction in California's Mohave Desert. Ivanpah is rated to produce 392 megawatt which is enough energy to power approximately 140,000 residential homes. Ivanpah is the first in a series of 12 solar thermal plants slated for construction by  BrightSource Energy that will produce 2.6 gigawatts of electricity which is as much energy as two nuclear plants.

Ivanpah consists of  173,000 heliostats that focus the sun's energy on a single  solar receiver located on top of a 450 foot tower.Concentrated sunlight is used to produce high pressure steam  in excess of  1000 deg F to drive a turbine generator. ISEGS  use 90% to 95% less water than traditional solar generation plants and far less water than coal or nuclear power plants.

Ivanpah is the first large-scale tower project built-in the United States in twenty years and will close to double the current amount of  thermal solar  electricity produced nationally. The installation is calculated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 400,000 ton per year  and is scheduled to be online in late 2013.
Reasons to build, not buy
2011-04-19 23:56:41
Out of the ashes of the worst recession since the great depression I am seeing a glimmer of hope for new construction. There are still a lot of short sales and bank owned properties available but the real deals on nice properties seem have been picked over. Buyers are frustrated by the short sale process and are moving onto properties that are not distressed.

One of the trends we find refreshing is houses that made sense for people before the recession are not the same houses that people are looking at today. Houses of the building boom era were fueled by greed, homebuilders were encouraged to build bigger because homes were being sold by the square foot. The real estate community advised everyone to make the houses bigger and quality was traded for square footage, all on the expectation of huge financial gains when you flipped the house. Many of the houses built from 2004 to 2008 are reminiscent of the poor design and manufacturing the US car industry suffered from in the ‘70’s; Big, inefficient, poor to drive and bad to look at.

Homebuyers today are buying or building houses without expecting huge immediate financial gains and are focusing on buying homes that work for their lifestyles and finances.

We are designing for clients who are talking about raising young families or couples nearing retirement who are down-sizing and are ready to simplify their life. The unifying factor is that they are all talking about energy efficiency and green building practices as part of the requirements and program. When people are not looking at their home as a speculative venture and look at it as a home, they make sane decisions about what they are buying or building.

Speculative or “spec”  houses are beginning to bud in the market again even though it is very hard for builders and developers to obtain traditional bank financing. Most of the builders we talk to are lowering their expected profit margin and have had to obtain non-traditional financing.

Many spec homes built today are financed with “Hard Money” which is a very expensive way to finance the construction of a  project. In lieu of a bank an individual or group will lend the builder money for an up-front fee of 1-3 points on the entire loan amount and an interest rate between 12% to 21%.

Opposed to building with a conventional construction loan where you only pay interest during construction on the amount of money you have drawn on your loan a hard money loan requires you are pay interest on the full amount of the loan from day one of the project.

There are additional costs associated with buying a spec home, the builder must include in the purchase price the cost of financing until the house sells. For example, if it takes 8 month to design and build the project the builder needs to include all of the interest it takes to finance the project in the sales price plus he needs to anticipate it may take 6 month or longer to sell the house once it is finished. Finally, there is real-estate commission of 6% on the sale price of the project. For the connivence of buying a finished house that cost the builder $250,000 to construct  the consumer would pay $10,000 to $15,000 in points, between $25,000 and $50,000 in interest and $21,000 in real estate commission.This is assuming the builder would make approximately $30,000 for his work and risk if everything goes according to plan.

This method of financing is disturbing and I can’t help but think that we are in the process of creating the next real estate debacle. The disturbing part of high interest borrowing is that the builder has had to cut his cost by reducing quality, and pressuring the sub-contractors to lower their fees. The sub-contractors have been decimated during the recession and after having had very little work for the past few years they are forced to drop their rates for the work they can find.  I cannot help but see that the reduced fees to the sub-contractors are subsidizing the high interest loans the builders are paying to the hard money lenders. Lending needs to be restored to the builders in a more conventional manner so we do not continue to create our next real estate bubble and the good paying skilled labor jobs of the past return.

To financially make a spec project viable in an unstable market the builder needs to cut cost in every place that he can. The intention in building a spec house is to build a house as inexpensively as possible that works for the largest number of people as possible. In the spec scenario the builder is not your advocate, they are working for themselves and their investors. If you have the finances in place and the time to dedicate to building a custom home now is an ideal time. For qualified buyers banks are lending money and at lowest interest rates in years.

Builders and subcontractors are hungry for work and their prices are very competitive. The price of materials seem to have stayed relatively consistent over the last few years however as gas prices are trending upward so will the cost of materials.

The biggest advantage in building a custom home is that you get a house that is tailored to your needs and wants. In a custom home the builder and your designer/architect are your advocates, they are paid to represent your best interest.

A custom built home will be superior quality and the money you spend on your project will be seen in terms of features and amenities not finance charges to borrow hard money, real estate commission or holding cost on the projects. Additionally, you are able to control the money and see how and what the money is spent on. If building green and energy efficient is a priority you can be party to that process and see what the cost associated with those design features are and make your own decision on how far you will take your project. If you factor the rising cost of energy into your new home equation you can make decisions about energy efficiency that will continue to save money for as long as you live in your home.

If you love your new home and you don't find yourself moving every five years,  you are able to recognize huge interest savings over the life of your mortgage. People often forget even when you make  money on a real estate transaction if you have to get another loan to buy your new home you are starting over on a new 15 to 30 year loan where you pay primarily interest for the first 10 to 15 years of the loan. Chances are if you live in your house for 10 years and then sell and make a profit the new house you buy will be more expensive than your last and the profit may not off set the cost of your new  mortgage especially as interest rates increase.

If you are thinking of building a new home support your local economy and environment by building an environmentally friendly energy efficient home that is reflective of you and your lifestyle. Work with small local builders and tradesman in lieu of large out of town developers that come in and build poor quality track housing and leave when the market softens. Find your own path to the new green home.
Japan's deadly game of nuclear roulette
2011-04-07 20:15:57
Here is an article written in 2004. I find it  sobering, to think of that this information was available and still the people of Japan have become victims of this Nuclear tragedy. Let this be our warning those in charge do not always have our best interest in mind.If renewable energy sounds expensive what is the cost of a Nuclear catastrophe  in your backyard.


Special to The Japan Times

Of all the places in all the world where no one in their right mind would build scores of nuclear power plants, Japan would be pretty near the top of the list.

The Japanese archipelago is located on the so-called Pacific Rim of Fire, a large active volcanic and tectonic zone ringing North and South America, Asia and island arcs in Southeast Asia. The major earthquakes and active volcanoes occurring there are caused by the westward movement of the Pacific tectonic plate and other plates leading to subduction under Asia.

Japan sits on top of four tectonic plates, at the edge of the subduction zone, and is in one of the most tectonically active regions of the world. It was extreme pressures and temperatures, resulting from the violent plate movements beneath the seafloor, that created the beautiful islands and volcanoes of Japan.

Nonetheless, like many countries around the world -- where General Electric and Westinghouse designs are used in 85 percent of all commercial reactors -- Japan has turned to nuclear power as a major energy source. In fact the three top nuclear-energy countries are the United States, where the existence of 118 reactors was acknowledged by the Department of Energy in 2000, France with 72 and Japan, where 52 active reactors were cited in a December 2003 Cabinet White Paper.

Click here to read more.
"Necessity is the Mother of Invention"
2011-04-07 14:05:30
As winter in the Cascades wraps up, the sun sets later and the roads and trails come alive with whirl of human-powered transportation I am excited by the freedom and joy that riding a bike has ignited in my heart since I was a child. I am going to come right out and say it, I am junking for bicycles and that a good bicycle is an extension of your body and soul.

Yesterday I was perusing the internet for bike paraphernalia and I came across a really interesting site called Bamboo Bike Project. The Bamboo Bike Project was conceived by a group of Scientist and Engineers from Columbia University  in an effort build better bikes for rural Africa.In addition to simply making bikes the project is developing  a sustainable industry, based on a basic need for cargo movement and transportation.

I like the fact that they are building machines of necessity with local materials by local people ,for local people. I have enjoyed reading their blog and find it interesting to follow the trials and tribulations of setting up a manufacturing facility in a third world country. It will be interesting to watch the evolution of this project and see if they can develop a source for some of the components that they are currently importing from overseas.

I am intrigued  by the feel of a bamboo bicycle and cant wait to build one myself. Here in the United States the bamboo bike industry

seems to be on a much different agenda than its African counter part.The majority of Bamboo Bikes I have seen have been in the mid to high-end in price range.

There are also some companies like Bamboo Bike Studio where you can buy a kit or take a seminar to build your own bicycle which sounds like a great experience.

The great lesson in the Bamboo Bicycle is we cannot expect technology to solve all of our problems when we all know "Necessity is the Mother of Invention"
Energy Performance Score
2011-03-19 21:56:24
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Amidst the wild claims of energy efficient buildings  Energy Trust of Oregon has developed a method of rating a homes anticipated energy consumption and carbon emissions. Consumers are bombarded with outrageous claims and expectations about green and energy efficient product and services and very rarely are they given a way to measure what it is that they are buying.

There are no guarantees that that a house will perform exactly like the EPS score predicts  but by building to an improved standard and testing the house during construction we are on the right track. Yearly climatic changes, life style and number of inhabitants significantly effect a homes energy consumption.

I am excited to see how this information will effect future home valuation.If we lend on granite countertops and extra square footage you would think that energy efficiency would be at the core of the appraisal process.

Christian Gladu

To Learn more about Energy Trust of Oregon CLICK HERE.

The easy way to assess a new home's energy use, carbon impact and utility costs.

The Energy Performance Score (EPS), developed by Energy Trust, provides a clear and quantitative way to compare a home's energy use and costs. The lower the score, the better—with zero being the best. A low score means an energy-efficient home with a smaller carbon footprint and reduced utility costs.

Discover the energy efficiency of a new home.

Energy efficiency, utility costs and environmental impact are important factors to consider when buying or building a home. The EPS now gives homebuyers a way to comparison shop between homes based on these factors. It also gives homebuyers a sense of how many energy upgrades were made to the house beyond what Oregon energy code requires, and how the home compares to an average home built in Oregon.

How does a home receive an EPS?

A home's EPS is based on many factors, such as the home's size, level of insulation, air leakage, heating and cooling systems, major appliances, lighting and water heating:

  1. Improved insulation and windows—Properly installed insulation and high-performance windows help keep heat inside during winter and outside during summer.

  2. Well sealed house and ducts—A house with tight construction and ducts reduces air exchange between the house, crawl space and attic. This reduces drafts and energy use, while improving indoor air quality.

  3. Efficient appliances and lighting—ENERGY STAR® certified appliances use up to 50 percent less energy and water than standard models. Compact fluorescent lighting uses up to 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent lighting.

  4. Heating, cooling and ventilation—Efficient equipment, when properly installed, provides better heating, cooling and ventilation for lower energy bills, enhanced comfort and improved indoor air quality.

  5. On-site energy generation—Solar panels use the sun to heat your water or convert its rays into electricity to help meet your energy needs, reducing the amount of energy you buy from your utility.

Builders voluntarily work with us to receive our third-party assessment of their home's features and construction techniques, which determines the EPS for the home.

Look for the EPS when buying or building a new home.

Now you have the ability to shop for your new home based on features in addition to location, neighborhood and amenities. Choosing an energy-efficient home not only benefits the environment but also helps you save money.

If a new construction project you're considering does not have an EPS, ask your builder to call Energy Trust's New Homes trade ally coordinator at 1.877.283.0698, option 1, for more information about how to get the home scored. Our Real Estate Professional trade allies can also help you find newly built Oregon homes that have an EPS.

Energy Trust is currently working on expanding the EPS for both new and existing homes to make it easier for homebuyers to compare and contrast homes relative to their energy efficiency, carbon impact and utility costs.
A Handsome "Green" Foursquare
2011-03-14 18:22:59

Browsing through the magazine section at a local  book store this weekend  I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon this article featuring a house we designed  in Bethesda Maryland. Bethesda Bungalows has always built high-quality homes  that incorporated many "green" features so we encouraged them to take the next step and adopt "green building " as a standard building and business practice. This house was conceived in the middle of the housing bubble with an understanding that we needed to change how and what we do in the building industry. We worked closely with Bethesda Bungalows during this project meet the LEED Platinum Standard and develope an internal system to support sustainable building practices  within our companies.

Christian Gladu

by REGINA COLE on MARCH 2, 2011

Here’s Arts & Crafts style with sustainability for the future: a Maryland company finds inspiration for its high-quality, energy-efficient homes in the building traditions of the bungalow era.


Bethesda Bungalows, launched by two people in 2004, is a notable exception in the recent economic downturn, which hit the building industry especially hard. “We promote smaller homes, but we’re all about quality and value,” says Brad Beeson. “When our company was founded, other builders laughed at us. They were putting up McMansions, and they called ours ‘trailer park houses’. Now, they envy us.” 

Six years after a small beginning, 25 employees hustle to keep up with demand for Bethesda Bungalows’ signature product: “green” adaptations of Arts & Crafts houses. Most of them are small by today’s up-market standards, but they marry optimal energy efficiency with good looks—a combination that’scatnip to today’s homebuyers.

Click Here to Read More.

At House E.P.A. Hearing, Both Sides Claim Science
2011-03-10 13:26:33

Published: March 8, 2011

I can accept the planet is in a warming stage , however I find it insane that the Republican Party cannot believe that man is contributing to the problem. What if both are true , First the planet is naturally warming and second humans are  causing the other 50% of climate change . If this is true than it is even more important that we do what we can to reverse our negative actions because now we have 50% of the control we though we did  before.

This is no time for politics it is time for solutions. Even if you do not want to believe humans are the heart of this problem we are left here to deal with it.I ask the Republican Party , Is this the legacy you want to leave your children? We are a nation of  innovators and problem solvers, this is the legacy I choose to leave my children. There is a new economy rising out of  solutions , its time to embrace a green economy and put greed aside.

comments by Christian Gladu

WASHINGTON — Science and politics rarely play nicely together, and a House hearing Tuesday on a bill to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions proved no exception.

Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on energy and power demanded the hearing in the hope of slowing the inexorable progress of the bill, known as the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, which enjoys the near-unanimous support of the Republican House majority.

They appear to have failed. Despite some fireworks, the handful of members from both parties who attended the hearing left with the views they arrived with. The subcommittee is expected to approve the bill later this week.

The measure would overturn the E.P.A.’s finding that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases pose a threat to public health and the environment and would bar the agency from writing any regulations to control them. The bill’s sponsors say that the climate science behind the finding is dubious and that the proposed rules would have a devastating impact on the economy.

Click here to read more.

This Bungalow is not just another pretty face
2011-03-10 01:36:44
Bungalows are not the norm in Madison Connecticut, however this Bungalow is a hit with the neighbors and the builder.The builder is enjoying the change  of pace associated with building an Arts and Crafts styled house. This bungalow is not just another pretty face; owners Kelly and leif Klein are having a ground source heat pump installed to to heat ,cool and provide hot water for their new bungalow. Ground source heat pumps require no on site fossil fuel and  work by concentrating the soil temperature  in lieu of burning fossil fuel. Sustainable and  energy efficient homes do not need to be trendy or out of  architectural character for a neighborhood; we like to call this one an old soul in a new dress.

Digging Up Energy Savings Right in Your Backyard
2011-03-08 16:07:21

Published: March 7, 2011

Five years ago, my husband and I walked out of what was left of our historic house after a propane explosion. As the house caught fire, the cat jumped out to safety, too. When we rebuilt, we wanted to avoid burning fossil fuels in our new home, and I remembered reading an article about an architect who drilled geothermal wells to heat and cool his Lower Manhattan town house. Click Here to Read More.
When Psychology Trumps Logic
2011-03-05 15:05:38


Green: Living

For the past day or so, I’ve been taking a break from our offices to listen in on a “climate, mind and behavior” conference at the Garrison Institute, named for a beautiful little town up the Hudson, north of New York City.

The goal of the conference, which brings together psychologists, neurologists and behavioral economists, among others, is to discuss ways of effecting wholesale changes in people’s energy consumption to rein in greenhouse gas emissions and help stave off climate change.

For much of Wednesday afternoon, conference presenters focused on how to communicate more effectively with the public. Part of the problem, presenters said, has been the assumption that science and logic will suffice in making the case for changes in human behavior.

Click here to read more


There is no revolution without pain
2011-03-02 18:06:02
As the saying goes “sometimes it’s not what you want to hear, it’s what you need to hear.”

The truth is undeniable that we have done and continue to do significant damage to our environment and the planet is shouting back that it is time for a change. Even if you do not believe this to be true, humor me for a minute and ask yourself even if global warming was a lie, cooked up by a bunch crazy leftwing extremist, what would the harm be in valuing all creatures and taking care of our planet for future generations? I am listening.

The cost of cheap energy and disposable products is not so cheap. We are currently in multiple wars around the globe on our crusade for cheap energy cloaked in the cape of democracy meanwhile here at home we are in the infancy of our Green Renaissance. The light is just beginning to shine on the “Green” Revolution which has gone mainstream. To change the tides, we need to rethink how a product is labeled green or energy efficient. The standards for energy efficiency whether we are talking about a car, home, food or manufacturing cycle are low and need to leap frog beyond our existing standards.

Through education and innovation we can develop a new set of values  and design principals that transcend marketing and focus on the science and design of products and systems. Since the industrial revolution design has been an act of brute force, so we need to rethink the system of design and make protecting and restoring the ecology of the planet our primary design objective.

We have all the necessary tools at our disposal for this renaissance. We only need to recognize them and put them to use. To date, we have been talking about ways to be less detrimental to the environment, but being “less detrimental” is still not good and is not a lofty enough goal. We will only prolong the destruction of our environment with that design objective.

Our planet has always and will always be in some type of climate transition, so for us to coexist we need to create flexible strategies to evolve with the changing environment.

As unsettling as change can appear there is also great opportunities for a better way of life with a little revolution now and then. Greed is the fuel that has fired the engine that continues to destroy the environment. Only when we develop a global declaration of ecology, that forces governments and corporations to abide by environmental principals that are in the best interest of the planet and all species, will we be on track to reversing the damage done.

We are all left with the question; how do we begin to institute change? As part of the collective consciousness, we need to share our expertise, follow our passion and support and nurture the innovative spirit of individuals. As for me, recently I attended  Passive House Training and Certification and was inspired by the staff and student’s dedication as agents of change.

“The ultimate test of a man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard”

-Gaylord Nelson
From cranium to computer, don't forget the human touch.
2011-02-04 23:09:27

It dawned on me yesterday as I sat down with a client to present a new design for a custom home that they had no idea what to expect. They were obviously excited to see our initial concepts  but at the same time there was a nervous anticipation that filled the room.

After twenty years practicing design and presenting thousands of projects I still never know how a client will react to the first presentation of their project. I always feel a vulnerability as we expose our concepts to the client for the first time. Do they love it? Do they hate it? Are we on the right track? Did we hear them? Most importantly are they willing to tell us what they really think? I look for very little input from the client in the initial presentation and expect to hear constructive feedback after the client has had time to absorb the design in there own way.

Collaboration, honesty and shared dialogue between client and designer is the path to a successful design. Architects and designers spend a lifetime honing their skills and evolving their practice in order to fluently articulate design solutions.

Design is a series of explorations with the intent of creating solutions. I like to think of design like a like a mountain trek, the more prepared the team, the more likely you will have a successful and enjoyable experience. The truth is on any adventure worth taking,things rarely go exactly as anticipated so embrace the unexpected, throw away your preconceived notions and be present and open with your thoughts and ideas.

Synthesizing the information that you have gleaned from the client melding it with your experience and perception as well as the site, budget, and building code is a real juggling act between your right and left brain.

I have often had clients say “ don't you just load it into CAD?” insinuating the computer had a program that would provide a solution  based on a questionnaire; fortunately or unfortunately that is not how design works.People often have the idea that computer software develops the design however, the computer is just a tool like a pencil and paper that help communicate your ideas.The pencil can not write the story without the author.My firm runs very high end computer modeling software but the best tool we have in the studio is still Creativity 1.0 running on the human operating system.

During my career I have created systems to quantify the size and budget of a project, developed programming questions to asks before designing a house but the synthesis of the information and the development of the design is a human exercise fueled by experience, curiosity and a drive to make beautiful functional places that ignite and inspire the human spirit.

The back bone of energy efficiency is conservation.
2010-05-23 14:41:51

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Today is officially my first step into the blog-o-sphere.The intent of this blog is to promote and discuss ideas pertaining to green and sustainable residential architecture and design.
I have been practicing residential design since the early 90’s and have been focused on creating energy efficient homes since the inception of my practice.
Energy efficiency has been a very tough sell to the consumer over the last 20 years with abundant inexpensive energy at there finger tips but the increase in energy prices in 2008 were a catalyst for people to reconsider the possibility that energy would not always be so inexpensive. Additionally most homeowners only stay in their homes form 5-7 years so it has been difficult to make an argument for the money that one would save by investing in energy efficient strategies or renewable energy sources.
The economy of building energy efficient homes does not relate to the reality of our situation, we have built  a standard around energy efficiency that is very low and is wasting resources and contributing to global warming at an alarming rate.
The back bone of energy efficiency is conservation.In the short term we can all make adjustments in our current living situation that conserve energy and save money with little to no investment.The small changes are the low hanging fruit and can serve as a philosophy about how we use our resources.Teaching children strategies,and techniques about conservation will embed a consciousness in future generations that will force manufactures to produce more efficient and ecologically conceived products and services.


How to Hire a Custom Home Builder

Building a new home is the largest investment most people will make in their lifetime, so it is important to get it right the first time. Choosing the best custom home builder for you and your project is essential to its success. Remember, you will likely be working together for 6-12 months; so as in any relationship, there needs to be trust and clear, honest communication.


Christian Gladu Design

At Christian Gladu Design we design your home to compliment and elevate the way you live. Through a creative discovery process, we get to know you, your project and design elements that will make your home functional and inspirational while delighting you every day. 

The foundation: Discovery and research are the foundation of a creative design process. Understanding the fixed parameters, goals and context of the project will determine the form and aesthetic of your home.

Collaboration powers creativity: From the onset of each project, we work with the client and contractor to design every home with an integrated process that carefully balances aesthetics, health, durability, energy efficiency  and cost by leveraging the team's collective knowledge and experience.

Meticulous craftsmanship: As meticulous craftsmen, we pay attention to the building orientation, forms, architectural details and finishes that distinguish our work.

When you choose Christian Gladu Design, you get more than a home for living you get a home for life.

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