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2030 Challenge

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Jul 28, 2014 5:52:00 PM

WE WANTED TO DO A project that went the whole distance in every category,” notes builder Faren Dancer. “Santa Fe has adopted the 2030 challenge—which says we need to get to zero emissions in new homes by 2030. Our intention was to show that it can be achieved now.”

The Emerald Home, as Dancer calls this project, met that goal—attaining a HERS rating of 35 before adding PV panels. After the PV, the HERS Index dropped to -2. The home goes above and beyond on almost every level, with double-wall wood framed construction to prevent thermal bridging, Solatube daylighting in several rooms, site-made compressed earth blocks (CEBs) for interior walls, and salvaged wood for beams, cabinets, pantries, and even the ceilings in the media room. A geothermal radiant floor system combined with solar hot water provides heating, and a hybrid cooling system has 40 SEER of cooling capacity at only 580 watts. Tax credits from combined geothermal and solar systems paid $56,000 of the approximate $140,000 spent on those systems.

But Dancer understands that an appealing home design is essential to spreading the gospel of green.
“When I build, I want innovative techie aspects to integrate with the design—not make a statement,” he says. “I wanted a pueblo-style design, so that as you walk up to the house, it fits with local style. If you want see all the high-tech aspects, you have to look down on it from high above.”

Dancer also feels strongly that durability should play a bigger part in a home’s green pedigree. “I’d much rather put down a limestone floor that will last the life of the home than a bamboo floor that will need to be replaced in three years,” he says. The stone may cost more up front, but which is more green?”

The Emerald Home was built as an educational showcase home—not a custom house. As such, it makes few compromises in sustainability. Despite its large (4,150 square foot) size, it achieves its net-zero goal. In fact, Dancer helped write the local building code, including a clause that insists that homes over 8,000 square freet must be built net zero. The building also captures 100% of roof rainfall—storing it in three 1,700-gallon cisterns.

The builder is using the finished home to educate both the public and design professionals on how to build sustainably. He’s well aware that when building a larger than average home, taking steps to reduce the initial construction footprint are important, both for the planet and for his credibility.

“That’s why we used immense amounts of reclaimed and recycled materials in this house,” he says. “That’s one way to reduce the impacts of construction.”
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Topics: Geothermal Heating and Cooling, HERS, natural daylighting, salvaged materials

Natural Synergy

Posted by Cati O'Keefe

Dec 1, 2013 12:53:00 PM

Green Home of the Year Awards 2013
Best Exterior Integration - Sonoma, Calif.

This LEED platinum house boasts roof gardens and thoughtful landscaping.

FARM HOUSE VERNACULAR and chicken coops were the design inspiration for the 3,960-square-foot, two-story home. Covered walkways, gardens and a pool link the simple gabled structures into a family compound.

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Topics: Geothermal Heating and Cooling, graywater, California, Green Landscaping, LEED, 1500 square feet or less, solar hot water, straw bale, Low Flow Faucets, natural daylighting, green roof, 2013 Green Home of the Year Awards, rainwater harvesting

Learning Laboratory - Educational Ecohome - Bozeman, MT

Posted by Matt Power

Dec 1, 2013 12:31:00 PM

2013 Green Home of the Year Awards
Educational Ecohome - Bozeman, Mont.

This unusual project home in Montana is being monitored to test various energy-saving strategies.

DUBBED THE REHAU® Montana ecosmart house, this project earned a HERS rating of 33—an essential feature for a 6,786-square-foot floorplan hoping to be taken seriously as a “green” project. The ecohome is being evaluated and studied by the Montana State University Creative Research Lab

(MSU CRLab).

The building envelope is built of both insulated concrete forms (ICFs) and structural insulated panels

(SIPs). The house features geothermal heat exchange and radiant cooling panels—along with solar thermal. For research purposes “the house design includes overlapping, interactive technologies [to monitor and in some cases, adjust] heating and cooling, fresh air intake and ventilation, insulation and the building envelope.”

An Internet-accessible HVAC-control system prioritizes based on likely performance, “choosing the greenest available energy first.” The radiant system and solar panels also extend to snow and ice melting.

In 2014, the homeowners will move in. Data collection, comparison and analysis will continue for several months, in order to verify conclusions reached during the research phase.



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Topics: Geothermal Heating and Cooling, SIPs, ICFs, solar, 2013 Green Home of the Year Awards

Last Stop - Best Aging-In-Place Home - Catlett, VA

Posted by Matt Power

Dec 1, 2012 11:53:00 AM

HOMES SUCH AS this one, by Golden Rule Builders, avoid the ecological impacts of remodeling a home’s cosmetic features to accommodate aging residents, at the same offering low utility and maintenance costs for the life of the structure.

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Topics: Geothermal Heating and Cooling, 3500 to 4900 square feet, Energy Recovery Ventilation, standing seam metal roof, PEX, Low-E Window glazing, 2012 Green Home of the Year Awards, ADA compliant, Paint

Clean Finish - Best Healthy House Design - Austin, TX

Posted by Matt Power

Dec 1, 2012 11:44:00 AM

ONE OF THE more unusual aspects of this sleek, modern home is its inclusion of site-built concrete countertops, locally made with the addition of recycled glass aggregate.

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Topics: Geothermal Heating and Cooling, Indoor Air Quality, hardwood flooring, FSC Certified Lumber, Low-E Window glazing, LED Lighting, 2012 Green Home of the Year Awards

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