Founder and owner Dipl. Ing. Joaquin Karcher was born in Germany and graduated in 1988 with a master’s degree in Architecture from the Hochschule fuer Bildende Kuenste in Hamburg Germany.
As a student he specialized in earth architecture, green building and Bau- Biologie. He spent time in the desert cities and mountain villages of Iran to study their highly developed adobe architecture, renovated 400 year old renaissance houses in Germany and participated 1986 in an international Art and Architecture exhibit in Hamburg where he built and then fired an underground kiva and turned it into a ceramic dwelling collaborating with the renowned French group Cra- Terre (Construction d’ Architecture de Terre).
He worked in Germany with several architecture firms on environmental design projects before he came to the US in 1991 working with the Navajo tribe on a master plan for housing and economic development for a community near Canyon de Chelley, Arizona and leading “on the job training” workshops in the use of Compressed Earth Block construction for the Chinle Chapter.
After running a contracting business in Taos for many years he founded the office ONE EARTH DESIGN, specializing in planning and design of custom solar residences which were built by professional contractors. The work of this 9 year period was rewarded by a design award from the River Wired Blog and his projects were published in many national and international publications.
Joaquin holds the title Master of Architecture and calls himself an eco- designer in the US. With 20 plus years of green building history, European training and international experience, he is now one of the most experienced professionals in his field. He is co- author of the new Adobe, Compressed Earth Block ans Rammed Earth Code, called Earthen Materials Building Code which has been adopted by the State of New Mexico and IBC (International Building Code). He had been elected to the board of the US Green Building Council New Mexico Chapter which he helped to establish.
In 2006 Joaquin became a student of the German Passive House Energy Standard. In frequent visits he imported and deepened his understanding about this concept implementing more and more of its features in recent projects. He considers himself a bridge for technology and knowledge transfer between Germany and the US contributing to bringing the US up to date in switching to a super energy efficient building standard. His office is researching and developing the Passive House Energy Standard for the cold climate of the Southwest. He is giving presentations for architects, students and government officials teaching them the most economic roadmap to Zero Energy Homes.
The new direction led to a new name for the company. ZERO E DESIGN‘ s approach to energy is new and fresh, -very different to the Passive Solar approach of the nineties. The results are quantifiable deep energy savings in a magnitude that go way beyond Passive Solar. The new line of residences, called Zero E Home is breaking through to new and revolutionary dimensions of efficiency. They are designed along the German Passive House approach which is the wold’s most stringent and advanced energy standard. A Zero E Home achieves a HERS rating of 30 and below (before installing a PV system) and is by far the most energy efficient home available in the Southwest.
Dipl. Ing. Manfred Brausem
The Spiritus Rector (guiding spirit), advisor and mentor of the team. Manfred is an accomplished Passive House architect in Germany with office in Cologne. He is a pioneer of the Passive House movement since 15 years ago when it was first introduced in Germany. He has realized over 100 projects in that standard and is one of the most experienced professionals worldwide in this field. The Passive House Standard is hugely successful in Europe. Manfred’s work was instrumental that this standard is sweeping the continent. In 2015 this energy standard, an amazing 90% reduction in space conditioning energy, will be the building code in Germany and has been suggested by the European Union for adoption to their member states as part of their commitment to curb Climate Change. <http://www.passiv-haus.de/>
Dylan has studied at the Passivhaus Institute in Darmstadt, Germany and has developed and translated the official PHPP version for the US which has been approved by the Passive House Institute in Germany. He has an engineering background and is pursuing his architectural degree at the University of Oregon.
Laurie holds a Master of Architecture Degree from the University of New Mexico and is a LEED Accredited Professional. She specializes in computer applications and shares a passion for energy efficiency , healthy materials and inspiring design.
Laurie is originally from New Mexico, and now lives in the vicinity of Abiquiu between the Carson and Santa Fe National Forests.
Ben van Willigen
Ben is a licensed and very successful contractor in Taos. He has built many of the most beautiful high- end custom homes and is expanding his involvement with the Passive House Standard. He brings many years of solid contracting experience to the table, is familiar with the Passive House details and has engineering skills for mechanical and electrical systems. He also builds and designs solar thermal systems. Ben’s high professionalism, attention to details and great cost estimating skills make every project a smooth experience for the client. His track record of successful projects is truly impressive.
Building in the Sana Fe area, Klaus is a liscenced contractor who is living with his family in a home which incorporates many of the Passive House features. He combines his passion for super energy efficiency with the passion for healthy building materials and quality living environments. His first hand experience with living in a Zero E Home, with the approach, the features and details make him the first address in contracting such homes in the Santa Fe area. Klaus brings great people skills and attention to details to the jobsite and his cliets rave about their enjoyable experience with him.