This new home has been designed to be exceptionally energy efficient and environmentally friendly. It will also provide a healthier living environment than conventional homes – special care has been taken to provide pristine indoor air quality and to avoid materials with toxic ingredients. In short, this house is green.
Below are some of the features that go into making this house green.
• The foundation consists of engineered, insulated concrete panels by Superior Walls with a special low water/cement-ratio 5,000 p.s.i. concrete and reinforced with steel rebar and polypropylene fibers. This creates a totally waterproof foundation of great structural integrity, providing a warm, dry basement under even the harshest conditions.
• The manufacture of concrete is highly energy-intensive and a major source of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. Superior Walls’ unique design uses 70% less concrete than a typical poured foundation. The walls arrive at the site totally dry, avoiding the excess moisture that evaporates into most homes from poured foundations.
• Engineered lumber comprises a substantial portion of the home’s framing materials. Durable, structurally superior, and dimensionally stabile, the engineered wood I-joists, Advantec® sub-flooring, and oriented-strand board (OSB) sheathing are made from small, easily harvested, fast-growing trees – a renewable resource.
• The home’s exterior is constructed of extremely durable, low-maintenance materials. Painted with Sherwin-Williams manufacturer’s lifetime guarantee, the home’s exterior will never need re-painting.
• The house is insulated with sprayed-in-place open-cell foam made without any petroleum products. This non-toxic, bio-based insulation provides high R-values and perfect air sealing. This completely eliminates small air leaks, difficult to prevent with fiberglass insulation, which can cause heat loss comparable to leaving a window open every day of the year. This home’s tight thermal envelope dramatically reduces the amount of energy required for heating and cooling.
• All attic spaces are fully insulated to eliminate heat loss through ceiling penetrations such as recessed lights, bath fans, etc. This also enhances the efficiency of the HVAC system, as all ductwork runs through insulated spaces.
• High-performance Marvin windows with argon-gas filled, insulated, Low-E glass complete the energy-efficient building envelope.
• The Elk Prestique Cool-Color™ roofing shingles are coated with special 3-M granules that reflect the sun’s heat away from the house, further reducing the amount of energy needed for cooling.
• The home’s solar orientation is calculated to capture the maximum amount of daylight, and to allow the sun’s warmth to penetrate deep into the house in winter, while preventing unwanted solar gain in summer.
• The Geothermal heating and cooling system (also known as a ground-source heat pump system) uses no fossil fuels at all and will provide outstanding comfort year-round, with zero CO2 emissions, for a fraction of the operating cost of conventional HVAC systems. Geothermal systems also have fewer moving parts than conventional systems, so they are more reliable and require less maintenance.
• All joints in ductwork are tightly sealed to eliminate air leakage and increase efficiency.
• All hot and cold water lines are fully insulated to save energy.
• An on-demand hot water recirculating system, activated by motion sensors in each bathroom, provides hot water where you need it, when you need it, without the high energy consumption of continuously running conventional recirculating systems.
• Dual-flush toilets and efficient plumbing design conserve thousands of gallons of water per year.
• EnergyStar lighting and appliances further increase the home’s energy efficiency.
• The electricity for this house is purchased from Sterling Planet (www.sterlingplanet.com), a provider of clean, renewable energy, under the CT CleanEnergyOptions program. The power comes from equal parts wind, small-scale hydro, and organic bioenergy (landfill gas).
• Special attention to the elimination of unwanted moisture inside house will prevent the growth of mold and mildew – a leading cause of asthma and allergies, especially in children.
• The central vacuum system effectively removes dust, dirt, and a host of allergens without spewing particulates back into the air like most vacuum cleaners, resulting in cleaner house with cleaner air.
• Indoor airl quality is further enhanced by the use of low VOC paints and finishes that do not off-gas toxic fumes.