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Sustainable Green Design

Eco-friendly innovative architecture by Kenneth J. Wertheim, Architect


Eco-Friendly Homes

Kenneth J. Wertheim, Architect is a firm founded on the core values of sustainable design. For over 25 years Ken has been committed to design principles known today as “Green Building."

Sustainable design or green building refers to using resources more efficiently while creating healthier buildings. Green Building practices reduce the impact on the environment by incorporating design principles which make conscious decisions about energy, water and building materials.

Ken believes taking a whole building design approach results in “Responsive Architecture”. Whole building design draws on the concept of “Integrated Design” where all the parts contribute to the whole, and where each component becomes part of a system.  This approach is applied throughout the entire design process: from identifying project goals early on so design objectives are in concert and balance with each other, to evaluating the building systems inter-connections thereby achieving a truly high performance building.

Sustainable (green) building designs are often designed to meet Green Building Performance standards. Our firm’s projects are designed to meet the Energy Star program as a base standard.

Homes can also be designed to meet the guidelines of other more advanced “Green Building” program standards such as Green Built NC or LEED for Homes.  Other green professionals (such as energy raters, energy modelers, HVAC engineers, etc.) can be consulted if certification is desired.

If you have an interest in Net Zero Energy homes, contact us for more information about our newly introduced EcoSmartHaus which incorporates design principles and construction techniques based on years of experience designing sustainable Eco-friendly homes (see below).


Achieving specific green certifications, as well as tax credits and incentives, are not guaranteed. Third party consultants such as energy modelers, energy raters and other industry professionals are required to achieve performance goals.



The Eco-friendly EcoSmartHaus concept came about through decades of education and research, knowledge and experience, then distilling this information to create a new home design for the 21st century.

From an architectural standpoint, the EcoSmartHaus is first and foremost “Sustainable”; incorporating high performance and advanced technology.  EcoSmartHaus means building for long term sustainability using design principles and construction techniques which are forward thinking and Energy Smart.  Homes for the 21st century require smart design, durable materials and quality craftsmanship to last for generations.

For the homeowner the EcoSmartHaus provides a home which is extremely energy-efficient. Designs are adaptive to lifestyles, flexible in use, and compatible to different family types. These homes are appealing to the Baby Boomers, Millennium and GenXer’s with designs offering transitional spaces and providing interconnectivity between indoor spaces, outdoor living areas and nature. With structure exposed on the interior using non-bearing walls to create open spaces, smaller homes give the perception of being larger and roomier. 

A 21st Century EcoSmartHaus may be the right home for you. To learn more, please contact us for a free consultation.


Design Principles

Responsive Architecture           

  • Integrated Design Process

  • Whole Building Design Approach

  • Innovative Best Practices

  • Creative Design Solutions

  • Collaborative Project Team

  • Streamlined Client Centered Process

 Sustainable Principles                


  • Passive Solar Design (Tromb Walls, Thermal Mass, Phase Change)

  • Energy Efficiency

  • Active Solar Systems (PV, Thermal)

  • Solar Electric w/Net Metering

  • Net Zero Energy / (Nearly Zero) Goals

  • Renewable Energies Strategy

Building Science (State of the Art) 

          IAQ (Indoor Air Quality)

  • HRV/ERV (Heat or Energy Recovery Ventilation)

  • Advanced Ventilation Technology

  • Low/No VOC Paints

  • HEPA/MERV Air Filters

  • Air Review Drywall

  • Natural Healthy Interior Non-Toxic Materials/Products

  • Interior Plantings

Thermal / Moisture Protection

  • Exterior Drainage Plain

  • Air Sealing Techniques

  • Air-tightness (Blower Door Tested)

  • Minimize Thermal Bridging

  • Thermal Barrior

Green Products/Materials          


  • Green Guard Certified Adhesives & Sealants

  • Earth Friendly Prod


Building Techniques

High Performance Buildings              

  • State of the Art Building Envelope

  • Super Insulation (POLYISO, XPS, EPS & Icynene)

  • Energy Saving Windows – Thermal Shell

Advanced Technologies                    

  • State of the Art HVAC

          -15 -20 Seer High Efficiency

  • Geo-Thermal Heat Pumps

           - Ground / Water Source

  • Radiant Floors (Heat & Cool)

           - Warmboard System

  • Solar Electric (PV)

  • Solar Thermal

  • Wind/ Micro Hydro Power Systems

  • Home Automation

         - Information Systems, Monitoring,


  • Electric Car 220V Charging Station

  • Energy Saving Technologies     

          - Auto Timers, Sensors, Light Dimmers

  • Energy Modeling (50%–85% Savings)

           - Power Consumption Reduction 

Integrated Engineered Building Systems

  • Timber Frame Structures (CNC Technology)

  • SIPS (Structural Insulated Panels)

  • ICF (Insulated Concrete Foundation)

  • Superior Walls (Precast Concrete Foundation)

  • Integrated Systems Built

  • Engineered Lumber (TJI, Trusses)

  • Controlled Off-Site Production

Energy/ Natural Resources Conservation

  • Renewables

  • Energy Star Rated Appliances (Energy Smart Controls, Sensors, Models)

  • Natural Lighting (Sola-tubes, Skylights, Clerestory)

  • Rainwater Harvesting Cistern System

  • Shading Devices

  • Water Conserving Devices (Dual-Flush, Airator, Low-Flow)

  • Cool Roof Shingles

  • CFL (Compact Flourescent Lights) or LED

  • Pre-Insulated Rim Joists & Headers

  • Finger Jointed Trim / Lumber

  • Recycling Center & Storage Pantries

  • Induction Heated Cook Tops

  • On Demand Hot Water Heaters (Tankless)

  • Wood Pellet Stoves

  • Waste Management


  • Environmentally Responsible

  • Eco-Friendly Land Stewardship

  • Sustainable Design Principles

  • Natural Building Techniques

  • High Performance Building Design

  • Integrated Design Process

  • Building Systems Approach

  • Whole Building Design

  • Healthy House Concepts

  • Energy Efficient Design

  • Advanced Technologies

  • Green Design Practices

  • Reduced Environmental Impact

  • Resource Conservation

  • Alternative Energy (Solar, Geothermal)


  • Energy Star® / Home Advantage

  • NC Healthy Built Homes

  • LEED for Homes

  • WNC Green Building Council

  • NC Sustainable Energy Association

  • NC Solar Center


  • AIA Global Challenge 2030

  • Energy Star Challenge 2015

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