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Campus Crusader

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Jan 26, 2015 9:49:00 AM

IN MARCH 2014, American Honda unveiled Honda Smart Home US, located on the West Village campus of the University of California, Davis. The energy-efficient home can produce enough electricity onsite from renewable sources to meet all of its annual energy demand, including electricity to power a Honda Fit EV for daily commuting.

The home showcases several innovative technologies. In the backyard, eight 20-foot-deep boreholes allow a ground-source heat pump to harness the Earth’s relatively stable thermal sink to provide radiant heating and cooling through the home’s floors and ceiling.

Electricity generated from a 9.5-kW solar photovoltaic (PV) array mounted on the roof is intelligently distributed throughout the home’s microgrid by Honda’s home energy management system (HEMS). Honda Smart Home optimizes energy use by taking into account local weather conditions, sun direction and the home’s outer shell. South-facing windows are optimized for heating and cooling, while north-facing windows maximize natural light and ventilation. Double-stud walls, cool roofing material and a fully insulated concrete slab all contribute to the home’s energy efficiency.

Sustainable materials were used throughout the construction process. All lumber was sustainably harvested from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), while advanced framing techniques reduced the amount of material needed. Nearly all (96 percent) of the construction waste associated with the project—including drywall, brick, plastics and lumber—was recycled. Outside, xeriscaping reduces irrigation demand. Besides rain, filtered graywater recycled from the home is the only source of irrigation water.

In addition to showcasing Honda’s vision for sustainable, zero-carbon living, the home will function as a living laboratory where the company, along with researchers from UC Davis and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), will evaluate new technologies and business opportunities at the intersection of housing, transportation, energy and the environment. In July 2014, Honda released all of the home’s architectural and mechanical plans, as well as building materials, to inspire others to take action.
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Topics: solar, electric vehicle charging, water saving, Sustainable Building Materials, radiant heating systems, LED Lighting, 2014 Green Home of the Year

Modern Marvel

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Jan 21, 2015 5:04:16 PM

THE OWNER OF KARUNA HOUSE wanted to build a home that could serve both as a model of green building and a case study comparing some of the world’s most demanding green building certifications. Designed by Holst Architecture and built by Hammer & Hand, it is the first building to earn Passive House, Minergie-ECO and LEED Platinum certification. Minergie is a Swiss certification with a holistic approach, including standards for non-toxic materials (similar to the Living Building Challenge Red List), protections for installer health, provisions for quiet building operation and ease of building disassembly.

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Topics: LEED, solar, Passive design, Building Envelope, Building Science, passive house, 2014 Green Home of the Year

Holistic Homes

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Jan 20, 2015 3:55:11 PM

WHEN PLANNING THE GROW COMMUNITY, an intentional community on Washington’s Bainbridge Island, architect Jonathan Davis says the team searched for a way to “package” sustainability. That’s when they discovered the One Planet Living Community program, a holistic certification program organized around 10 principles.

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Topics: High-Performance Windows, 1500 square feet or less, solar, outdoor living, edible gardens, 2014 Green Home of the Year, eco-landscaping

Earthen Elegance

Posted by Sarah Lozanova

Nov 5, 2014 10:29:27 AM

WHEN THE JENNINGS FAMILY prepared to build a family home on Bowen Island, British Columbia, sustainability was a top concern. “The homeowners wanted a home that would represent something that was more ecologically conscious, so that their children would grow up in that type of environment and recognize that it doesn’t take that much to achieve it,” explains Arno Schmidt, owner of Ecosol Design and Construction and a member of the North American Rammed Earth Builders Association (NAREBA).

Although Schmidt may be at the forefront of rammed earth innovations, this method has been used for many centuries. Even parts of the Great Wall of China were constructed using this technique, and the wall still stands after 2,000 years. Rammed earth has been regaining popularity since the 1970s, particularly in the American Southwest and Australia.
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Topics: durability, solar, passive solar, rammed earth, Resilient Housing

Solar Power House

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Sep 22, 2014 1:48:18 PM

WHEN ILLINOIS RESIDENTS Dennis Kruepke and his wife decided to purchase a second home in Arizona to be closer to their daughter and grandkids in California, they were instantly intrigued by a gated 55+ community which guarantees “no electric bill.” Shea Homes in Peoria, Arizona offers net-zero-energy homes, which the builder dubbed “SheaXero,” in its Trilogy community of 2,400 homes. Once the Kruepkes settled on specific features of the Veritas Genova model they had chosen, the 2-bedroom, 2.5-bath, 2,180-square-foot home took about six months to build.

All homes within the Trilogy community are now built with a solar array, but at the time of the Kruepkes’ purchase, the couple was given an option to lease the solar power generation system. Excited by the prospect of having an eco-friendly home that would also save them money, Dennis agreed to a 20-year lease. As part of the agreement, SolarCity, the company installing the solar array, guaranteed the amount of solar energy the system would provide.

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Topics: net-zero energy, solar, 2600 to 3400 square feet

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