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European insight lowers energy use

Gail Whitney Karn, director of technical sales at RHEINZINK America Inc., Woburn, Mass., and her husband, Robert Karn, of Sudbury, Mass.-based Consilium Urban Design and Architecture, were the owners and architects for the 2,700-square-foot renovation of their 1950's bungalow in Sudbury.

Gail Whitney Karn, director of technical sales at RHEINZINK America Inc., Woburn, Mass., and her husband, Robert Karn, of Sudbury, Mass.-based Consilium Urban Design and Architecture, were the owners and architects for the 2,700-square-foot renovation of their 1950's bungalow in Sudbury.

A 1,450-square-foot vertical addition required the removal of the roof and construction of a new level that would be accessed from a pedestrian bridge at street level.

"The design is essentially an 'upside-down house' with the living room, kitchen, study and dining room on the street-level second floor and three bedrooms on the ground floor," Whitney Karn says.

Approximately 4,000 square feet of RHEINZINK PrePATINA blue-grey material was profiled as Horizontal Reveal Panels and utilized to clad the front and sides of the house. The 1-mm panels have a finished face of 7 1/2 inches plus a 1/2-inch reveal for an 8-inch, on-center module.

Horizontal Reveal Panels were rollformed by RHEINZINK distributor MetalTech-USA, Peachtree City, Ga. "With the modern, machined look of the house, I wanted to have the precision of rollformed panels," Whitney Karn says.

Fred Muldoon, of Woburn-based Oak Roofing & Sheet Metal Works Co. Inc., installed the flashing and trim formed by MetalTech-USA. Robert Karn, who has had construction experience, assisted the subcontractor during the RHEINZINK panel installation. Whitney Karn says the Reveal Panels are attached to hat channels, which is a relatively simple process. "The installation really went like clockwork," she says.

Robert Karn says the energy strategy was holistic. "We utilized the natural aspects of the site; maximized the solar heat gain in the winter via double pane low-E glazing facing south; and minimized the summer heat gain via the abundant deciduous trees and white rubber membrane roof."

Success hinged on the efficiency of the building envelope, Robert Karn says, which was insulated with R-40 walls and R-50 roof, provided by closedcell foam insulation and blown-in cellulose in the walls. "Our phone bills are higher than our utilities," Whitney Karn says.

Before the renovation, the Karns lived in Germany for 10 years and raised their three sons while working as architectural consultants to firms involved in the reconstruction of the former East Germany. They were deeply influenced by the European style of architecture that centers on a highly energy-efficient, eco-friendly design with longevity. "They build for three generations over there," Whitney Karn says. "We began to think about designing our own small yet spacious, ecologically constructed and energy-efficient home to express our position on architecture."

The back side of the house has glass on the upper floor and has views to the garden and woods. Additionally, RHEINZINK was used to clad the fireplace on the interior.

The Karns returned to Massachusetts in 2001 and purchased a 1,500-square-foot bungalow located on a sloping, narrow, 2-acre property that stretched into conservation land. "The first time I saw the house, I knew the interesting topography would be to our benefit," Robert Karn says.

RHEINZINK America Inc., www.rheinzink.us