The Hi`ilani EcoHouse sits on the precipice of a hilltop overlooking the Pacific near historic Waipi'o Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii. Here, powerful elements converge – the raw power of nature, the dancing spectacle of ever-changing weather, and now the brilliance of innovative design. The Hi`ilani EcoHouse is a sustainable 4,000 square foot carbon-neutral two-family residence, ready for grid independence and slated for LEED Platinum certification.
For the people who consider themselves stewards of this land, sustainability means using resources in a way that leaves abundance for future generations. Carbon Neutrality, taking as much carbon out of the air as we put in, is an essential part of that equation of sustainability.
The design team, lead by Robert Mechielsen and Studio RMA, was challenged to create a carbon-neutral, yet “fully loaded” house with recording studio, offices and media capabilities for the owners’ professional needs, plus facilities for civic and social gatherings and guests. Two separate families are fostering a new wave of `ohana (Hawaiian for “family”), reducing each person's ecological footprint while enhancing quality of life by sharing resources, land, and community.
Carbon-neutral design takes a holistic approach that creates an environment where all the house’s energy and functionality are derived from sustainable sources, so that the process of the house’s construction and its operation will not burden the earth’s atmosphere with more carbon dioxide.
The groundbreaking carbon-neutral design by Robert Mechielsen is durable and efficient, and it collaborates with nature. The signature “butterfly” roofs harvest sun for electricity, rain for household and irrigation use. Airflow over the roof generates negative air pressure which energizes an innovative and energy saving “eco air conditioning” system.