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Sandswept: Net Zero Energy Efficient Home in Virginia

Sandswept was designed by local architect, Herbert Smith,  inspired by the Norfolk residency of  Frank Lloyd Wright in 1953. It was engineered for 140 mph winds by owner Mason Johnson, who grew up two blocks away and was best friends with Herbert Smith in high school. Constructed February to August 1955, the front house embodied the mid-century futuristic ideals of post-war America. Sixty years later, it still looks ultra modern. Inside some of the original furnishings and paintings make it feel like a step back in time. The front house is currently creating fond memories for many families as a green vacation rental.

In 2006 the front house was lovingly renovated to its former glory but with the latest in energy efficiency and green building per Energy Star and LEED standards.

The Frank Lloyd Wrightian features include:

  • Wide horizontal design with large windows to bring the outdoors in. Large overhangs keep the summer sun out & let the winter sun in.
  • Patios on the east and west create transitional spaces from outside to indoors, with the slate floor continuing into the entry hallway.
  • Features loved by FLW such as cork floors and a prominent fireplace. Original birch window & door trim, paneling, knotty pine cabinets, iron hinges & interior doors were restored & reused.

Sandswept is listed on the City of Virginia Beach Historic Register.

Achieving Net Zero Energy012 photo (11)

Sandswept is a proud adopter of the 2030 Challenge and aims to be a model for the community on how to achieve net zero energy in Tidewater Virginia. A garage apartment built by Mason’s sister-in-law has been renovated and has achieved net zero energy.

  • Achieving net zero energy: producing enough solar electric energy in the spring & fall to offset energy needed for heat and AC in the winter & summer
  • Drastically reduced energy and water use
  • Superior air sealing that makes the home more comfortable with less use of heating and air conditioning
  • Durable materials that have a longer, more cost effective life span, reducing construction waste in the next fifty years
  • Improved indoor air quality by preventing mold in the crawlspace, by leaving outdoor shoes by the front door, & by choosing interior finishes that have no VOCs
  • Reduced negative environmental impact made by the renovations by choosing environmentally preferable building materials.

In March 2016 the garage apartment received Emerald Certification, the highest rating given by the National Green Building Standard.