The Willowbrook House, located in an established central neighborhood, is only a few steps from the live-work-play amenities in Mueller, Austin’s largest green-built community. 

The original home, built in the 1950s, was designed with good passive design features - deep overhangs, thermal mass in the form of concrete block construction and ideal orientation for solar PV and thermal. The home also came with features typical of the era – drafty windows, minimal insulation, an inadequate HVAC system and questionable ductwork.  The previous owner, a professional in sustainable design and construction, remodeled the home to meet the Net Zero Energy certification requirements of the Living Building Challenge, a program of the Living Future Institute, an international organization devoted to rigorous design and building performance standards. 

The reconstruction of this home honors historical building stock and shows what can be achieved through thoughtful remodeling, including the reuse of building materials from local sources. The house is now a Net Zero Energy building, powered by 4.5 kW solar PV. The homeowners subscribe to Austin Energy Green Choice and heat their water with a solar thermal system. Per the Living Building Challenge requirements, no fossil fuels are used for power. The home also contributes energy data to Pecan Street’s Smart Grid Project.

Jim And Cathy Walker

Truehome Design.Build
Shiloh Travis

Lighthouse Solar
Jay Bramble
512.476.5555 or 512.648.4946

Austin Energy Program Participant
5-Star Austin Energy Green Building rating
Green Choice
Solar Photovoltaics (PV) Incentive