The recently-completed Pond House at Ten Oaks Farm is located on a large rural plot in Southeast Louisiana, USA. Created by Louisianan firm Holly & Smith Architects, the stunning home boasts an enviable blend of luxury and energy-efficient design in a bid to reach net zero energy consumption.

Pond House comprises a total floorspace of 1,250 sq ft (116 sq m) spread over three floors, and is defined by an angular form and two protruding volumes. The home is clad in limestone-textured stucco and polycarbonate panels, and when the lights are on at night produces an effect aptly likened to a glowing lantern by the architects.

The interior layout is interesting. The first floor features an outdoor space with fireplace and outdoor kitchen, while the second floor includes a living room, kitchen, and dining room. The home is topped by a master bedroom and terrace. A high-end finish is installed throughout, and the uncovered aluminum and glazing contrasts nicely with the wood and utilitarian polycarbonate panels.

Pond House's 14-degree sloping roof serves a practical purpose, channeling rainwater runoff into the pond below and ensuring that maximum sunlight reaches the roof-based solar array. Other nods to energy-efficiency include a geothermal heat pump, LED lighting, spray foam insulation, and operable windows that are situated at strategic points to promote cross-ventilation.

Holly & Smith Architects told Gizmag that while the goal is energy net zero (that is, the total amount of energy used by the building yearly is approximately equal to the renewable energy produced on the site), Pond House isn't quite there yet. However, over 10 months of usage, the home only racked up a total of US$250 in electricity charges – or 870 kWh over net zero – so it's getting close.

On sunny days, Pond House produces an excess of electricity, which is fed back into the grid, while on cloudy days or at night, it draws juice from the grid. Holly & Smith Architects continue to tweak the home's temperature settings and lighting controls, and are confident it will reach full net zero in time.

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