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Future Proof: Good Building Science Leads to Net Zero

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Sep 4, 2014 1:46:37 PM

"FROM THE OUTSET we designed this house to maximize south facing roof space,” notes architect Bruce Coldham. “We modeled the site digitally, and look at trees and sun angles. From the get-go full on solar power was the first priority.”

Wright Builders of Northampton, Mass., framed the house with double 2” x 4” walls, a decision influenced by Building America’s years of research on wall efficiency. Coldham says most of the homes his firm designs now—even affordable ones—are framed this way, with either double 4” studs or with 2” x 6” studs that have a layer of rigid foam acting as a thermal break on the home’s exterior.

This house is exceptional by any standards, in part because the team conducted blower door tests at intervals during construction, using a theatrical smoke machine to help pinpoint unwanted air infiltration.
“Buildings are gonna last a long time,” notes Coldham. “But if you build like this you don’t have to try to predict when energy costs will rise.  You’ve already sealed the envelope completely. That way when costs do rise—which is inevitable—these owners will be ready.”
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Topics: net-zero energy, HERS, Building Science, 2011 Green Home of the Year Awards

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.”

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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


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