Contact Us

Cedar House HOTEL

Site characteristics or focus during construction or remodel: 

When the Bairds purchased the property, it had an existing, partially completed foundation by a previous owner. They modified the existing foundation, enlarging it to integrate the old design with the new.

When the Bairds initially purchased property in the 1980s, there was a building moratorium in the area and it wasn’t nearly as affluent as it is today. The original intention was to have a “European hostel-like” structure where young people could congregate. Once the moratorium was lifted and the area began attracting a higher-end clientele, they decided to raise the caliber of the hotel.

The Bairds’ long history of building development has always centered upon green building, including a conscious effort to incorporate energy and water-saving features and measures into their projects.

Building Construction Type:

Stick frame construction with fiberglass insulation.

Site Use and Protection Measures Before & During Construction (LEED Cat I):

One year before construction, the owners completed grading, drainage and construction of a retention pond in front of the structure, guaranteeing all run-off water would be retained on-site.

Outdoor & Indoor Water Efficiency Measures in Project (LEED Cat II): 

Water drains off the green roof, traveling through gutters down a hanging chain to the landscaping below. The landscaping is sloped so runoff helps water the landscaping assisted by an outward facing slope.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Measures Used in Project (LEED Cat III):

  • Wood–framed Low-E and solar tinted
  • All light fixture on property are fluorescent or low voltage; no incandescent lights were used
  • All lights are equipped with photo sensors and timers
  • Cellulose insulation in ceilings and blown-in fiberglass in walls

Space & Water Heating Systems:

The structures are designed with centralized functionality. As a result, there is no plumbing on exterior walls, saving energy and eliminating freezing.

The hotel utilizes a Rinnai tankless boiler system. The design of the building has resulted in very short footage runs from each hot water heater to each showerhead. Each building features three instantaneous hot water heaters for the potable water system, and one Bideras instantaneous heater for the hydronic space heating system.

There was initially concern when designing the system that the instantaneous hot water heaters might not keep up with customer hot water demand, considering the extremely cold water coming into the system. To assist the instantaneous domestic hot water heaters, the system was designed to enter through a water jacket on the hydronic floor system holding tank before proceeding to the hot water heaters. This design allowed the temperature of incoming water to reach luke-warm before entering the Rinnai instantaneous heaters, minimizing the temperature extremes the heaters would experience. The Rinnai system allows each tankless water heater to “talk” to each other as demand increases or decreases. This is an extremely energy efficient system which currently runs off natural gas, but at any time can be converted to solar hydronic.

The hydronic in-floor heating system provides a minimum level of heating for both the hallways and individual rooms. If a customer would like more heat, a secondary ceiling mounted fan-powered hydronic system picks up the slack. Within moments of turning up the in-room thermostat, the secondary system has adjusted the room temperature to desired setting.


Green Materials & Green Measures Implemented in Project (LEED Cat IV):

  • Green Roof over reception and check-in area
  • All cedar exterior siding and logs acquired from reforestation project, and milled in Camptonville, CA by Moonshine Reforestation

Indoor Environmental Considerations Used in Project (LEED Cat V):

  • All materials utilized in interior spaces were installed and the structures left open for over a month, allowing thorough outgas prior to occupation.
  • Low VOC carpeting and draperies
  • Richlite paper-based countertops
  • Exceptional plywood cabinets
  • Wall mounted toilets and free-floating cabinetry allow quick and easy cleaning of bathrooms without mold concerns.

Subjective Evaluation/Design Considerations: How well has the structure achieved its design goals? What would be done differently the next time?

All in all, it seems quite obvious that the Bairds spent considerable time on the details of this exceptional project. At present they are extremely happy with the outcome. This hotel is an exceptional display of what can be accomplished with an appropriately qualified team of designers and engineers who are allowed to spend the time required to work out all the details. The attention to detail is almost overwhelming. If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit this hotel, make time to view this benchmark example of green architecture.

PROJECT: Cedar House Hotel, Truckee, CA

OWNERS: Jeff and Patty Baird

Size: 42 Rooms, 21,000 sq ft

DESIGNER: Ken Meffin, Rough & Ready, CA


BUILDER: JB Construction, Grass Valley, CA

Tags: New Construction
Passive Solar
Water Conservation
Building Performance
Healthy Interiors (IAC)
Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating

Mail can be sent to: SiGBA P.O. Box 4245 Truckee, CA 96160

© Copyright 2019 Sierra Green Building Association