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Nearing the Home Stretch

Exterior finish work has started and insulation is coming soon

Posted on Dec 26 2016 by Carl Seville

Carl Seville and his wife are building themselves a new home in Decatur, Georgia. The first blog in this series was titled The Third Time’s the Charm. Links to all of the blogs in this series can be found in the “Related Articles” sidebar below.


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  1. All photos: Carl Seville

This Green Garage is a Powerhouse

Chicago, IL

Dec 11 2009 By Martin Holladay | 5 comments

General Specs and Team

Location: Chicago, IL
Living Space : 576 sqf
Cost (USD/sq. ft.): $208/sqf

Architect: Gerhard Zinserling
Builder: Act Development Inc.
Fly-ash concrete: Ozinga
Solar electric system: Habi-tek

Energy

  • 7.6-kW PVPhotovoltaics. Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. array, Fronius 7.5 kW inverterDevice for converting direct-current (DC) electricity into the alternating-current (AC) form required for most home uses; necessary if home-generated electricity is to be fed into the electric grid through net-metering arrangements.
  • LEDLight-emitting diode. Illumination technology that produces light by running electrical current through a semiconductor diode. LED lamps are much longer lasting and much more energy efficient than incandescent lamps; unlike fluorescent lamps, LED lamps do not contain mercury and can be readily dimmed. and CFLCompact fluorescent lamp. Fluorescent lightbulb in which the tube is folded or twisted into a spiral to concentrate the light output. CFLs are typically three to four times as efficient as incandescent lightbulbs, and last eight to ten times as long. CFLs combine the efficiency of fluorescent light with the convenience of an Edison or screw-in base, and new types have been developed that better mimic the light quality of incandescents. Not all CFLs can be dimmed, and frequent on-off cycling can shorten their life. Concerns have been raised over the mercury content of CFLs, and though they have been deemed safe, proper recycling and disposal is encouraged. lights

Water Efficiency

  • Rainwater collection system

Green Materials and Resource Efficiency

  • Fly-ash concrete
  • FSCNonprofit organization that promotes forestry practices that are sustainable from environmental and social standpoints; FSC certification on a wood product is an indicator that the wood came from a well-managed forest.-certified lumber

Fly-ash concrete and a PV array reduce this garage's environmental impact

By Thomas McGrath

With help from a photovoltaic (PV) array, this garage in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood produces far more energy than it consumes. Made from durable green materials, the garage is providing power to workers undertaking a gut rehab of the 1890s single-family home at the same address.

Lessons Learned

Fly-ash concrete: Don’t wimp out
Many builders avoid fly-ash concrete because it takes a little longer to set up. But if you are building a structure with a planned durability of 100+ years, how important is it to save a couple of weeks up front?

On our initial concrete pour (the stemwalls), we only used 35% fly-ash, the industry standard. Later, when we learned more about the multiple benefits of fly-ash, we bumped that percentage up to 50% for the slab.

Install the solar array first
Because of a deadline on a state-funded grant, we ended up building the garage before rehabbing the house. Because of this decision, all the on-site energy needed to construct the home — to run our power tools, light the space, and heat the space during construction – comes from a renewable source.

Instead of the PVPhotovoltaics. Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. array being the last thing you throw up after the project is complete, consider putting it up first. Using PV-generated electricity during construction will lower the embodied energyEnergy that goes into making a product; includes energy required for growth, extraction, and transportation of the raw material as well as manufacture, packaging, and transportation of the finished product. Embodied energy is often used to measure ecological cost. of the home even before its occupied. All projects may not allow this step, but it’s worth doing if possible.

— Thomas McGrath's construction blog is at elementalbuilding.com.


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Image Credits:

  1. Thomas McGrath

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