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Solar Suburbs of the Future

Posted by Marc Gunther

Feb 8, 2017 11:15:34 AM

Imagine a truly green suburb, one in which energy-efficient homes are powered by rooftop solar panels, and electric cars glide quietly down the streets.

Businesses, energy experts and scholars say low-carbon suburban living is not only possible, but on its way—though not in the short run. Some glimpses of the future:

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Options for Community Living

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Sep 2, 2016 12:11:08 PM

This renovated 1,436-square-foot 1970s ranch earns a HERS score of 40—lower than most new builds.

When most people think efficiency, they think of newly built houses. In this case, the United Way of Long Island Housing Development Corporation completely renovated a 1,436-square-foot, three-bedroom 1970s ranch in Patchogue, N.Y., on Long Island. The home now earns a HERS score of 40—a lower score than most new builds.

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Affordable, High-Performance House: Bates Avenue

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Aug 30, 2016 10:53:04 AM

This 1,104-square-foot home achieves a HERS score of 57.

As a landlord leasing affordable homes built in the 1970s and 1980s, Scott Willemsen of Sunroc Builders in Lakeland, Fla., watched his tenants pay hundreds of dollars each month on electric bills. He decided to take matters into his own hands, and build affordable, energy-efficient homes that were not available in his market. He used SIPs on the 1,104-square-foot home on Bates Avenue, which has a HERS score of 57.

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Making Zero Energy Homes a Mainstream Option

Posted by Christina B. Farnsworth

Feb 15, 2016 10:50:57 AM

Solar shingles and an attractive rebate program are making net-zero homes from Addison Homes appeal to buyers in this South Carolina market.

Addison Homes is committed to making zero energy a mainstream option, modeling a vision of sustainable construction that’s attractive, affordable and attainable for homeowners. Its 2,700­-square-­foot InVision Zero SC is not only the first zero­-energy home in Greenville, S.C., it is also the first area’s first Active House.

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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.


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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