Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Green Building of The Week

Completed in 1999, this house was what most would say, ahead of its time through its use of green design techniques. However, the passive solar design, rain water collection and material re-use are age-old historic practices of vernacular design. Once again, America is returning to the correct and historic design methods of optimum site orientation to make use of the sun for heat and wind for cooling. Rather than simply adding a large and commonly oversized HVAC system, designers and homeowners are rethinking where to spend the money. In this home, the home owners splurged on high operable windows to allow the collected heat to naturally exhaust the house rather than beefing up the air conditioning system and energy cost. 10 years later, they are still happy with this decision.

Along with natural ventilation, the floor of the house was treated as a large thermal mass to collect heat throughout the day which releases during the cool night. Structural Insulated Panels replaced typical wood framing techniques and improve the air sealing of the house tremendously. SIPS panels can reduce energy consumption up to 50%, according to Energy Star.



 [photo credits]

Green Techniques:

  • Durable Materials. Fiber Cement Siding (30 yr warranty)
  • Less and Better Wood Use. The use of SIPS panels reduce the amount of lumber and increase the area of insulation. Framing lumber was sustainably harvested by the FSC.
  • Natural Light and Ventilation. Hlgh Operable windows allow captured heat, in the vaulted ceiling, to escape the house naturally.
  • Zoning of Spaces. Mechanical rooms, Utility, Bath and Service rooms were gathered to the street side of the house, allowing bedrooms and common areas to capture the warmth and daylight of the South Sun.
  • Water Collection. Roof water is collected for irrigation.
  • Recycled Materials. Reclaimed Decking.
  • Indoor Air Quality. No VOC Paint used throughout the interior of the residence to reduce off-gassing.

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