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Farmhouse Addition Meets Passive House Standards

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Feb 5, 2016 11:02:21 AM

This home, built onto an old farmhouse, meets the rigorous standards of Germany’s Passivhaus program.

LOCATED 30 MILES north of Prague, Czech Republic, this project is an energy-efficient 1,200-square-foot residence. The client requested a place to retreat: a private yet open space, full of light. The house was to be strikingly modern yet contextual. Built upon an abandoned single-story structure for housing pigs and chickens, it is an extension of an 18th-century farmhouse. In a dense rural context, the home re-interprets the traditional stone and timber house and translates it into modern form. Local artisans contracted to build the timber construction employed traditional techniques.

PROJECT STATS

NAME: House for a Writer in Bohemia, 30 miles north of Prague, Czech Republic DEVELOPER: Channa Newman
BUILDER: Karel Zikmund, Zikmund Hriste
ARCHITECT/DESIGNER: Elan Neuman Fessler, Emergenative Architecture
INTERIOR DESIGNER: Elan Neuman Fessler, Emergenative Architecture
PHOTOS: Emergenative Architecture

The house has an airtight envelope with low heat loss (less than .15W/m2K), electrical on-demand hot water and triple glazing. The new construction achieves the challenging performance requirements of a German passive house, and it exceeds LEED Platinum standards. The existing sandstone and brick masonry was mostly preserved or reused. New materials were selected for their low carbon footprints and longevity; these include locally harvested timber, bamboo flooring and white aluminum roofing. High-efficiency building systems recycle and retain heat energy.

The House is oriented south and west for natural daylighting and cross-ventilation. In winter, solar energy warms the northern wall, which acts as a passive thermal mass. Radiant heating transfers heat passively to the other masonry walls, and the thermal equilibrium between floors is maintained with an HRV unit. New wall assemblies are “open” to both sides, have low permeability, are without thermal bridges and are insulated with hydrophobic insulation. Natural and forced air circulation on both sides prevent the settling of moisture within the assembly. This thoroughly modern home features efficient appliances from Bosch, Siemens and Miele, plumbing fixtures from Franke and Kludi and LED lighting from Philips.

Combining the old and the new was a cost-effective strategy for creating a cozy, healthy home. At $115 per square foot, it attains high standards at a low cost.

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Sustainable Strategies Abound in this Case Study House

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Feb 3, 2016 5:32:39 PM

A house in Bellingham, Washington, demonstrates innovative water and energy systems that meet the standards of the Living Building Challenge.

THE BIRCH CASE STUDY HOUSE was developed using the Living Building Challenge as a guide. The primary goal of this project was to implement numerous sustainable strategies, highlighting the successes and failures when designing, permitting and constructing Living Buildings.

To help realize the project, [bundle] design studio partnered with non-profits and building product manufacturers. Throughout construction, [bundle] hosted a workshop series with Sustainable Connections to present green materials and strategies to the local building community. [bundle] also partnered with Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) for the NextStep Homes program and with WSU to field test a CO2 heat pump that is used for domestic hot water and radiant floor heating.

PROJECT STATS

NAME: Birch Case Study House, Bellingham, WA
BUILDER: Chris Tretwold, Tretwold Construction, LLC
ARCHITECT/DESIGNER: Dan Welch, [bundle] design studio
PHOTOS: [bundle] design studio

The Birch Case Study house has proved successful at demonstrating a number of pathways towards Living Buildings. Among the highlights, it is the first within the Bellingham city limits to choose not to hook up city water and sewer. Instead, the project achieves net-zero water usage through the use of onsite rainwater catchment, composting toilets and graywater reuse.

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Fine Footprint

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Jan 20, 2016 6:50:39 PM

Built to withstand tough New England storms, this custom home also achieves a -23 HERS Index score.

THIS TRADITIONAL LOOKING New England home was designed by homeowners Elizabeth Wegner and Carl Benker with three goals in mind: durability, energy efficiency and health. The home reflects the couple’s desire to substantially reduce their negative environmental impact on the world. It was built by Glastonbury Housesmith, which constructed the first LEED certified Gold house in Connecticut.  The house was constructed to meet the most up-to-date residential building codes (2012 IRC, 2012 IECC) rather than those which are required in the state. The most notable requirements of the new codes are a stronger structure to withstand high hurricane winds and exterior insulation outside of the wall sheathing to prevent condensation—and subsequently, mold and/or rot—within the walls. An Uponor fire sprinkler system was also integrated with the domestic cold water plumbing.

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Inspiring Infill

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Jan 18, 2016 1:30:55 PM

This modern Seattle home effectively combines repurposed building materials and energy-efficient technology.

EVERY HOME BUILT by Dwell Development is designed with the goal of net-zero energy use. The Reclaimed Modern home, built on an infill lot in Seattle, is no exception. The lot lines were adjusted to maximize solar siting, and an existing home was also renovated. “We use a holistic approach at Dwell Development similar to the farm-to-table idea, where we incorporate local materials into our homes that are natural, recycled or repurposed. It’s about making conscious choices,” says Anthony Maschmedt, owner of Dwell Development.

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Generation Green

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Jan 15, 2016 12:02:40 PM

Set into a mature Boston-area neighborhood, this sophisticated home offers efficient use of space, expression through form and a myriad of green features.

DESIGNED TO ACCOMMODATE two or three family generations, this 2,900-square-foot home features paired living spaces on the first and second levels, each with separate kitchens and living rooms. These are highlighted on the front façade by window systems that wrap the corners of the house. An open stair with acrylic treads and glass rails winds from the basement to the third floor, channeling natural light down through the home and connecting all the levels.

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