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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

Historic Lookalike Home in Florida Costs Only $150 a Month to Cool

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Jul 7, 2014 11:34:00 AM

THIS HOUSE IN SARASOTA, FLORIDA, WASN'T supposed to be green. In fact, the owner, who requested an energy-efficient house, cautioned: “I don’t want a green house. They look ugly, like a garage. I want a home that is a traditional design.” After some back and forth, the owner told custom home builder Josh Wynne that he could make it as green as he wanted as long as he didn’t have to make any financial or aesthetic sacrifices.
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Topics: LEED, solar, energy efficiency, salvaged materials

Island Jewel

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Jun 27, 2014 9:42:52 AM

Ellis used the short eaves space upstairs to store a single Geyser heat pump water heater. He needed to provide enough capacity for four bathrooms and an outdoor shower. So the two hot water tanks act as storage and are plumbed in line with the Geyser heat pump providing heat for the system. The heat pump runs on standard 110 volt power. As the systems use ambient hot air to heat water, they blow out colder air, cooling the “outdoor” hallway. Also in this space is the 4.5 ton 16 SEER Trane high-efficiency heat pump that conditions living areas.

PROBABLY THE GREENEST way builder Steve Ellis could have used his island property would have been to continue enjoying it as a festive site for bonfires and camping.

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Topics: 1600 to 2500 square feet, natural daylighting, housewrap, spray foam insulation, salvaged materials, Recycled Products

Small Wonder

Posted by Christina B. Farnsworth

May 14, 2014 12:47:00 PM

Photos by Neil Kelly

NEIL KELLY DESIGNER Michael Mahoney had his work cut out for him with this Bend, Oregon bath remodel.

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Topics: bathroom, Residential Retrofit, salvaged materials, Oregon, Recycled Products

Condo Kitchen Reborn

Posted by Christina B. Farnsworth

May 14, 2014 12:34:00 PM

Photos by Darren S Higgins, DH Photography

ALAN ABRAMS HAS been building green for decades, starting with a modest adobe he built by hand in New Mexico. The motto of his Maryland-based company, Abrams Design Build, is “sustainable design for intentional living.”

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Topics: kitchen, Greenguard, FSC Certified Lumber, Residential Retrofit, salvaged materials, Maryland, Recycled Products

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