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Joaquin Karcher

Joaquin was born in Germany and graduated in 1988 with a master’s degree and the title Dipl. Ing. Architekt from the Hochschule fuer Bildende Kuenste (HfBK) in Hamburg, Germany. His career spans many phases in which he focused on various aspects of ecological design and construction. All of them find expression in today’s projects.

At a time when the term Green Building did not exist he got involved in earth architecture and Bau- Biologie (healthy house). He 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).

In Germany he worked with several architecture firms on environmental design projects before he came to the US in 1991 and for the next 15 years his office ONE EARTH DESIGN planned custom passive solar/ adobe residences. The work of this period was rewarded by a design award from the River Wired Blog, the US Green Building Council and his projects were published in many national and international publications.

During that time he was co- author of the Adobe, Compressed Earth Block and Rammed Earth Code, called Earthen Materials Building Code which has been adopted by the State of New Mexico and IBC (International Building Code) and he got elected to the board of the US Green Building Council New Mexico Chapter, which he helped to establish.

In 2006, before the Passive House was known in the US, Joaquin studied this new energy standard in Germany and his office entered yet into a new phase when it developed and adapted this concept for the cold climate, materials and construction practices of the Southwest.

With a new name and a new focus, Zero E Design has been planning projects that break through to new dimensions of efficiency while incorporating especially healthy house and natural materials qualities. His experience, design quality and service make him the first address when it comes to Zero Energy Homes in Santa Fe or Taos.

Steve Mc Cormick

Steve is a licensed architect in New Mexico with a master’s degree from UNM and a part time teacher of architecture at the Santa Fe Community College.

He is intrigued with beautiful, efficient and uncomplicated design and his work is always a thoughtful response to our clients and their site.

Steve’s love for hands on construction gave him an extensive background as a designer/ builder, both in San Francisco and in Santa Fe where he realized a number of custom homes.

When he is not planning you might find him picking a tune and perform with his band in one of the Santa Fe venues.

Michael Tarleton

Michael is a registered professional electrical and mechanical engineer in New Mexico and eight additional states. He is also a licensed general, electrical, and mechanical contractor in New Mexico.

His professional affiliations include membership in ASHRAE and ASPE. He has more than 35 years working experience as an electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, experience in residential and commercial HVAC, plumbing, solar thermal, photovoltaic, and lighting design.

His expertise is in design, implementation and code requirements of highly efficient heating and plumbing systems.

Dylan Lamar

Dylan is equal parts architect, building scientist, and author. He is among the most experienced Passive House consultants in the country, having designed and consulted on many of the “firsts” among Passive Houses in the US. Dylan was instrumental when our office took a sabbatical to adapt and develop the Passive House Standard to the climate, materials and construction practices of the Southwest.

He translated the Passive House energy modeling software (PHPP) from metric to US customary units enabling widespread use of the tool by US practitioners.

In 2010 he published the manifesto, Urbanize & Insulate: The Development of a Fossil-Fuel Exit Strategy, which bridges the disciplines of planning and architecture. Dylan holds degrees in civil/structural engineering and architecture, and has worked with building-energy research labs at the University of Illinois and University of Oregon.

Dipl. Ing Architekt Manfred Brausem

A pioneer of the Passive House movement since 17 years ago when it was first introduced in Germany he has realized over 100 projects and is one of the most experienced professionals worldwide in this field. He is the Spiritus Rector (guiding spirit), advisor and mentor of the team.

Manfred’s work was instrumental that this standard is hugely successful in Europe. Soon 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 commitments to curb Climate Change.

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 brings many years of solid contracting experience to the table. Ben has built all of our Passive House projects in the Taos area and has solid experience with their special needs, requirements and details.

Ben also designs and installs solar thermal systems and is skilled in engineering mechanical and electrical systems. Together with our mechanical engineer Michael Tarleton he has refined a highly efficient solar- thermal- drain- back system.

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 and happy clients is truly impressive.

Contact Us

Joaquin Karcher

Dipl. Ing. Architekt


Taos office:

57 Cielo Dulce