If you are interested in high-performance building for hot and humid climates, you probably have heard of Austin, Texas-based architect Peter Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer is an environmentalist, a building scientist, and an AIA fellow recognized for “his achievements in mainstreaming green building in America over the past three decades.” He’s been recognized by the National Association of Home Builders for his advocacy of green building and by Fine Homebuilding magazine for designing “The Greenest Home in America” in 2003. He was involved in the development of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes program, has helped manufacturers develop innovative building materials including radiant barrier sheathing, has long been involved with Austin Energy’s green building program, and is a member of the city’s “Zero Energy Capable Homes Task Force.” A regular speaker at architecture and building conferences across the country, Peter is outspoken, opinionated, and sometimes controversial.
If you are interested in residential architecture and spend some time in Austin, you’ll soon be able to spot a Barley/Pfeiffer home. Barley/Pfeiffer Architecture is the firm Pfeiffer started with his partner Alan Barley in 1987. From the beginning, their intention was to build homes that conserve energy and water, maximize passive cooling strategies in their hot and humid climate, and offer owners healthy and comfortable indoor living. Barley/Pfeiffer homes are commonly sided with a combination of metal, fiber-cement lap siding, and native-stone veneer. They have metal roofing, deep roof overhangs, awnings, and other shading devices, which are all part of their distinctive style. Barley/Pfeiffer homes are not necessarily modest in size, though they are not shy about explaining to clients that their lifestyle is just as important as the performance of their home when it comes to environmental impact.