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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

An Historic Home Goes Green

Posted by Christina B. Farnsworth

May 13, 2014 11:23:00 AM

JOSEPH BENNETT, an architect based in Austin, Texas, completely remodeled his own 1917 bungalow, transforming it into a 2,500-square-foot, two-story home. The remodel earned Silver LEED and Austin Energy Green Building 5 Star certifications; the bungalow’s HERS rating is 55.

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Topics: 1600 to 2500 square feet, LEED, HERS, spray foam insulation, Residential Retrofit, Texas, Recycled Products

New Florida

Posted by Matt Power

Apr 15, 2014 4:57:00 PM

Florida, one of the fastest growing states, is not known for its green housing. But this LEED Gold home in Winter Park, not far from Orlando, breaks that pattern. Its contemporary design contains many elements familiar in what you might call the “snowbird vernacular” of modern Florida architecture: large expanses of glass, an open floorplan, a back yard lanai, and an open interior with little trim. But unlike so many Florida homes--built to code but no better--nearly every aspect of this home has an energy- or water-saving purpose.  
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Topics: Green Landscaping, LEED, Energy Recovery Ventilation, HERS, 2600 to 3400 square feet, natural daylighting, green roof, 2010 Green Home of the Year Awards, LED Lighting, rainwater harvesting, salvaged materials, Florida, Recycled Products

Hidden Assets

Posted by Matt Power

Dec 1, 2013 3:14:00 PM

2013 Green Home of the Year Awards
Best Mainstream Green - Thaxton, Va.

This modest home doesn’t shout out its many green virtues, but they’re built into its bones.

WITH A HERS Index of 38, the 1,808-square-foot Specht Home is a certified PHIUS+  Passivhaus,  also built to EarthCraft Virginia standards—“a small ecological footprint” built on a 20-acre site.

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Topics: Super-insulated Envelope, High-Performance Windows, 1600 to 2500 square feet, solar, Energy Recovery Ventilation, solar hot water, Virginia, HERS, Low Flow Faucets, PHIUS+ Passivhaus, Mainstream Green, Passive design, LED Lighting, 2013 Green Home of the Year Awards

Second Chance

Posted by Matt Power

Dec 1, 2013 1:39:00 PM

2013 Green Home of the Year Awards
Best Resilient Design - Quebec, Canada

Designed for durability, this Canadian home was born of fire.

THE OWNERS OF this 2,701-square-foot Kenogami passive house by Ecohome built it after a previous home was destroyed by fire. It includes features such as water harvesting, plus careful attention to resilient exterior features, including fire-resistant landscaping.

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Topics: PV, High-Performance Windows, kitchen, solar, HERS, 2600 to 3400 square feet, Fire-Resistant Design, PHIUS+ Passivhaus, natural daylighting, Passive design, Residential Retrofit, LED Lighting, 2013 Green Home of the Year Awards, Canada

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