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Green and ‘Nutritious’ Affordable Housing?

Enterprise Green Communities encourages access to local agriculture — fresh fruits and vegetables — in its 2011 Criteria

Posted on Apr 19 2011 by Peter Yost

Guest blogger: Emily Mitchell, Enterprise Green Communities


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Image Credits:

  1. ©Mithun

Greening the HOME Rochester Program

Rochester, NY

Apr 20 2010 By Peter Yost | 0 comments

General Specs and Team

Location: Rochester, NY
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Living Space : 1500 sqf
Cost (USD/sq. ft.): $36/sqf

Homes in the program vary from 1,000 to 2,600 square feet, but average around 1500 square feet. After high performance retrofits, the 50 green homes in the program range in market price to qualified buyers from approximately $50,000 to $60,000.

Team
- Enterprise Community Partners Upstate New York
- Greater Rochester Housing Partnership
- NCS Community Development Corporation
- Rural Opportunities, Inc
- Livable Housing, Inc.

Energy

- 90+ AFUE sealed combustion Trane or Rheem sealed combustion furnace
- .62 EF power-vented 40-gallon AO Smith or State tank water heater
- Energy Star lighting throughout interior and exterior
- Air tightness: Post-retrofit 100% testing at 1500 cfm50 or less
- Low-e insert replacement windows: MI 1550 Seriesl U-value = 0.30; SHGC =0.29 ; VT =0.53

Water Efficiency

- Toilets – 1.6 GPF or better
- Showerheads – 2.0 GPM or better
- Kitchen faucets if replaced – 2.0 GPM or better
- Bathroom faucets if replaced – 2.0 GPM or better

Indoor Air Quality

- Low VOC paints, caulks and sealants
- Low VOC floor finish
- Seal carpet and pad
- Edge seal of all kitchen and bath cabinetry
- 80 cfm bath fans, 100 - 150 cfm kitchen exhaust (all to the exterior)
- Skuttle-based central fan-integrated supply ventilation system

From vacancy to vibrancy in the City of Rochester, NY

How HOME Rochester works
The HOME Rochester Program acquires vacant single-family homes in Rochester NY, typically foreclosures, and rehabilitates them for resale to qualifying first-time homebuyers earning less than 80% of area median income. The program began in 2001 and is recognized as an effective neighborhood stabilization model.

Lessons Learned

The original Green Design and Development Team continues to meet and review program successes and challenges.

Mechanical equipment
HOME Rochester has long-standing success with Trane sealed-combustion furnaces and both State and AO Smith power-vented water heaters. Recently, in an uncharacteristic slab-on-grade home with a very tight utility room, HOME Rochester installed for the first time a sealed combustionCombustion system for space heating or water heating in which outside combustion air is fed directly into the combustion chamber and flue gasses are exhausted directly outside., wall-hung, tankless water heater by Baxi (distributed by Marathon International) that serves both domestic hot water and space heating. Stay tuned for how this unit works out.

Low-VOCVolatile organic compound. An organic compound that evaporates readily into the atmosphere; as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs are organic compounds that volatize and then become involved in photochemical smog production. paints
This has been an easy change; both Glidden and Behr have complying product, locally distributed, with performance more than comparable to the conventional paints specified by HOME Rochester in the past.

Carpet and carpet pad
Although some on the development team would have liked to move away from wall-to-wall carpet and pad use in their green homes, it simply was not possible for cost and customer expectation reasons. However, CRI-certified, Green Label carpet and pad from Shaw Industries, locally distributed, is being used with great success.

Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. fluorescent lighting
Both realtors and homeowners have expressed disappointment with some of the fluorescent fixtures and compact bulbs: they take too long to “warm up,” the quality of the light is not the same as incandescent, and the replacement costs are too high. Armand Magnelli puts it this way: "It’s an unfortunate reality that a few bad apples can spoil the barrel when it comes to Energy Star lighting products. There have been issues with the quality of both flight fixtures and the fluorescent lamps. The cost of the lamps has also created resistance on the part of some homeowners."

Low-VOC floor finishes
Homeowners have expressed concern over the lack of gloss and overall durability of the water-based polyurethane finish used in the 50 homes. HOME Rochester is working with Livable Housing to identify water-based floor finish products that have shorter drying times, better coverage, and greater service life.

Low flow toilets
Magnelli would like to move HOME Rochester to EPA WaterSense labeled toilets, all of which are at least as low as 1.3 gallons per flush (GPFGallons per flush. Measurement of water use in toilets. Since 1992, toilets sold in the United States have been restricted to 1.6 gpf or less. The standard for high-efficiency toilets (HETs) is 1.28 gpf.) and performance-tested using the MaP test. “My personal choice would be American Standard’s Compact Cadet 3 because I know it works well, is reasonably priced, and widely available,” says Armand Magnelli. (NOTE: There are many AS Cadet 3 models; use the EPA WaterSense toilet search tool to verify WaterSense labeling.)

Mechanical ventilation
The new green Home Rochester homes are sufficiently airtight to require mechanical ventilation. The program has been using the Skuttle system, a type of central fan integrated supply (CFIS) ventilation system, but is considering a switch to a continuous exhaust system using Panasonic’s Whisper Green unit to more appropriately slightly depressurize Rochester’s cold climate homes.

Construction waste management
The HOME Rochester program currently recycles all of its cardboard. Given the quantity of tear-out carpet in the program, they are investigating what it would take to get a carpet recycling outlet set up in the greater Rochester area (under the CARE program, the closest carpet recycling center is in Buffalo, NY).

One closing lesson learned
It is going to be hard for HOME Rochester to document and then fully capture just how much better performing their green homes are. Without any history of water and energy utility bills or arrangements with their homebuyers to share their utility bills after their first year in the home, both Alma and Armand feel that a big part of their Step 7 evaluation and adjustment process will be hindered. "We need to work with our homeowners and perhaps the local utilities to close the loop on this issue. Performance numbers will help just about all stages of our process, from product specification to our homeowner's manual and training."


Peter Yost

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Image Credits:

  1. Armand Magnelli
  2. Alma Balonon-Rosen

Production Platinum Homes

Las Vegas, NV

May 5 2009 By Rob Wotzak | 1 comments

General Specs and Team

Location: Las Vegas, NV
Bedrooms: 3

Living space: 1,487—1,960 sq.ft.
Completed: 2008
These are the first four of 185 planned LEED Platinum homes.

Builder/designer: Pulte Homes

Construction

Foundation: post-tensioned slabs; uninsulated
Floors: open-web trusses
Walls: 2x4 studs at 24-in. o.c.; blown-in cellulose (R-13)
Windows: low-e (U-factor = 0.36, SHGC = 0.31)
Roof: trusses at 24-in. o.c.; blown-in cellulose (R-22)

Energy

Heating/cooling: 15.0 SEER air conditioner (York)
Water heating: gas instant water heater, 0.87 EF (Rinnai)
HERS index: 44
Annual energy use: To come

Photovoltaic: roof-integrated tiles (1.76kW, SunPower SunTile)

  • In-home energy and water monitoring system (ecoConcierge)
  • Energy Star appliances and fan
  • CFL lighting
  • Sealed ducts, insulated attic

Water Efficiency

  • Dual-flush toilets
  • Low-flow faucets
  • Drought-tolerant landscaping

Indoor Air Quality

  • Pressure-balancing ducts in bedrooms
  • Low-VOC finishes and adhesives

Green Materials and Resource Efficiency

  • Cellulose insulation
  • Advanced framing
  • Precut framing packages

Certification

LEED for Homes: platinum
Energy Star rating: 5+ stars
Environments For Living: certified

Four Model Homes Plot the Future Production of 185 Green Homes in the Southwest

Villa Trieste is Pulte Homes' response to a number of things—an overtaxed regional infrastructure; a challenging real estate market; and consumer demand for more durable and energy-efficient homes.

Lessons Learned

Balancing sustainable strategies and cost is a big stumbling block for any builder these days. This issue is tough enough when your design team is writing specs for one neighborhood—imagine what it's like setting standards for multiple neighborhoods in multiple states. This was the impetus for adopting a theme of simplicity in Pulte's designs. The resulting efficiency would pay off for any builder, but it's especially valuable when you have many different crews building similar homes.

Getting the word out
Although educating consumers might be easier with the growing knowledge base for green home building, it's still a challenge to actually show potential buyers more than bamboo flooring, Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. labels, 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. lighting. Pulte addresses this challenge with a Quality Construction Room in each of its model homes. Here, thermometers verify the cool attic temperatures, interactive displays let you see and feel how low-eLow-emissivity coating. Very thin metallic coating on glass or plastic window glazing that permits most of the sun’s short-wave (light) radiation to enter, while blocking up to 90% of the long-wave (heat) radiation. Low-e coatings boost a window’s R-value and reduce its U-factor. windows work, and transparent panels reveal the normally hidden insulation, framing, and ductwork.

Further Resources

Watch a video tour of Pulte's Quality Construction Room.
More about Pulte Homes Las Vegas: "Efficiency in the Desert"


—Rob Wotzak is associate editor at GreenBuildingAdvisor.com

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Image Credits:

  1. Dan Morrison
  2. Pulte Homes
  3. Rob Wotzak

Oregon Solar Cottage Shares a Ground-Source Heat Pump with Its Neighbors

Salem, OR

Apr 12 2009 By Jesa Damora | 6 comments

General Specs and Team

Location: Salem, OR
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Living Space : 1350 sqf
Cost (USD/sq. ft.): $320/sqf

Completed: June 2007

Architect: James Meyer, AIA LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. , Opsis Architecture
Builder: Bilyeu Homes, Inc.
Developer: Sustainable Development, Inc.
Interior designer: Jessica Helgerson Interior Design
Landscape architect: DeSantis Landscapes
Engineer: Catena Consulting Engineers
Energy analysis: Oregon Department of Energy

Construction

Foundation: short basement; 4-in. concrete slab; 6-in. poured concrete wall; 2-in. XPSExtruded polystyrene. Highly insulating, water-resistant rigid foam insulation that is widely used above and below grade, such as on exterior walls and underneath concrete floor slabs. In North America, XPS is made with ozone-depleting HCFC-142b. XPS has higher density and R-value and lower vapor permeability than EPS rigid insulation. insulation on inside (R-15)
Walls: 2x6 studs at 24 in. o.c.; vented rainscreenConstruction detail appropriate for all but the driest climates to prevent moisture entry and to extend the life of siding and sheathing materials; most commonly produced by installing thin strapping to hold the siding away from the sheathing by a quarter-inch to three-quarters of an inch. : housewrap (Tyvek), vertical XPS battens 12 in. o.c.; dense-packed blown cellulose; 1-in. R-5 foil-faced polyisocyanurate over sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. (R-28 total)

Windows: cedar-frame, double-pane, low-E2, argonInert (chemically stable) gas, which, because of its low thermal conductivity, is often used as gas fill between the panes of energy-efficient windows. -filled (U-factorMeasure of the heat conducted through a given product or material—the number of British thermal units (Btus) of heat that move through a square foot of the material in one hour for every 1 degree Fahrenheit difference in temperature across the material (Btu/ft2°F hr). U-factor is the inverse of R-value. < 0.32, SHGCSolar heat gain coefficient. The fraction of solar gain admitted through a window, expressed as a number between 0 and 1. 0.41, Jeld-Wen)
Roof: cool-color standing-seam metal roof (Taylor Metals); 3/4-in. ply sheathing, waterproofing membrane; 9 1/2-in. I-joists at 24 in. o.c., open-cell spray foam (R-36, Sealection 500)
Garage: one-car detached

Energy

Heating/cooling: vertical-loop ground-source heat-pump system, neighborhood-shared, with 2-ton heat pump (WaterFurnace), forced-air heat, and (initially) three-zone ERVs; no cooling system
Water heating: Two evacuated-tube solar collectors, two 120-gal. storage tanks, 4,500-W backup electric heating element
Annual energy use: 13.3 MMBtu/yr. (8,900 kWh gross-5,000 kWh PV production). Note: Air handler was upgraded, so current energy use could now be less.

Photovoltaic: 2-kW, grid-tied

  • Passive solar orientation
  • Building-integrated shade
  • Short, semi-conditioned basement
  • High-performance insulation
  • Reflective metal roofing
  • Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. kitchen appliances
  • CFLs throughout
  • Sealed ducts, ERVs, and whole-house fan

Water Efficiency

  • Low-flow fixtures
  • Dual-flush toilets
  • Rainwater harvesting (1,500-gal. underground tank)
  • Drought-tolerant landscaping
  • Drip irrigation

Indoor Air Quality

  • Energy-recovery ventilator (ERV)
  • Operable windows (natural ventilation)
  • Formaldehyde-free sheet goods
  • Low-VOC interior finishes, sealants, and adhesives
  • 100% wool carpeting

Green Materials and Resource Efficiency

  • Minimal site disturbance
  • All stormwater remains on-site
  • Concrete contains 35% fly ash
  • Advanced framing
  • 95% of construction waste recycled
  • Fiber-cement siding
  • 100%FSC-certified construction-grade lumber & plywood sheathing
  • Locally sourced hardwood flooring, paint, and windows
  • Biodegradable foundation form-release oil
  • Community-wide measures:
    • landscape irrigation integrated into GSHP system
    • biofiltration swales
    • permeable-surface roads, sidewalks, paths

Certification

LEED for Homes: Platinum (101 points)
Earth Advantage: platinum

This LEED Platinum-certified home is a model of sustainability on a community level

This small house on reclaimed institutional grounds in Salem, Oregon, is just the first of many to come in a project that puts equal importance on energy efficiency, environmental conservation, and quality of life.

Lessons Learned

Architect and community master planner James Meyer intended to dispel myths that thoughtful design and technology were not compatible or doable. This house came together in about four months using local contractors. Meyer says, “The technology needed for a green house already exists—all that’s needed is the will.” He feels that “the new paradigm has arrived” and that builders are willing, but they need a helping hand—they tend to stay with what they’re used to and may confuse this with responding to what the market demands. Current home buyers are alert as never before to sustainability but have tremendous confidence in what builders say, so it’s important that builders “embrace green technologies.”

The benefits of integrated design
Addressing the community's various priorities, such as aesthetics and indoor air quality, holistically rather than independently was an important design strategy. Not only did this contribute to the overall efficiency of the project, it ensured that the cottage (and the whole Pringle Creek community) would be a pleasant, durable, and healthy place to live.


—Jesa Damora is a freelance writer in Somerville, Mass.

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Image Credits:

  1. James Meyer
  2. Opsis Architecture
  3. Rob Wotzak

Green Neighborhood in North Carolina

Durham, NC

Oct 15 2008 By Rob Wotzak | 0 comments

General Specs and Team

Location: Durham, NC
Cost (USD/sq. ft.): $65/sqf

Completed: 1998-1999
Bedrooms: 2-4
Bathrooms: 21/2

Living space: 962-1,974 sq. ft.

Owner/developer: Sherri Zann Rosenthal
Builder: Craig Morrison, Cimarron Homes
Architect/designer: Jeffrey Davis
Landscape architect: Ken Coulter, Coulter Hart Jewell Thames
Engineer: Jim Thames, Coulter Hart Jewell Thames
Environmental building consultant: Arnie Katz, Advanced Energy Corp.
Geothermal contractor: Bill Evangelist, Evangelist Service Co.

Construction

Foundation: slab on grade, 1 in. EPSExpanded polystyrene. Type of rigid foam insulation that, unlike extruded polystyrene (XPS), does not contain ozone-depleting HCFCs. EPS frequently has a high recycled content. Its vapor permeability is higher and its R-value lower than XPS insulation. EPS insulation is classified by type: Type I is lowest in density and strength and Type X is highest. insulation at perimeter and extending 20 in. under slab (R-3.6)
Walls: 2x4, 16 in. o.c.; damp-spray cellulose (R-15)
Windows: low-eLow-emissivity coating. Very thin metallic coating on glass or plastic window glazing that permits most of the sun’s short-wave (light) radiation to enter, while blocking up to 90% of the long-wave (heat) radiation. Low-e coatings boost a window’s R-value and reduce its U-factor., double-pane, argonInert (chemically stable) gas, which, because of its low thermal conductivity, is often used as gas fill between the panes of energy-efficient windows. -filled on east-, west-, north-facing; south-facing, clear (not low-e), argon-filled (Caradco)
Roof: 2x8, 16 in. o.c.; vented; blown cellulose on flat ceilings, fiberglass batt in sloped ceilings (R-30)
Garage: None

Energy

Heating/cooling: closed-loop 1.5- or 2-ton GSHPs (water furnace)
Water heating: electric water heater
Annual energy use: 19 MMBtu average

Although solar hot water was not included in the initial construction, water heaters were located for future solar collectors.

  • Windows laid out for ample daylightingUse of sunlight for daytime lighting needs. Daylighting strategies include solar orientation of windows as well as the use of skylights, clerestory windows, solar tubes, reflective surfaces, and interior glazing to allow light to move through a structure. and cross-ventilation
  • Passive solar design, including slab floor as thermal massHeavy, high-heat-capacity material that can absorb and store a significant amount of heat; used in passive solar heating to keep the house warm at night.
  • Roof overhangs, reflective roof, and natural cross-ventilation reduce cooling load

Water Efficiency

  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures
  • Drought-tolerant, native plants

Indoor Air Quality

  • Most flooring is concrete or wood

 

Green Materials and Resource Efficiency

  • 100% recycled PET carpeting
  • Most materials locally sourced

Certification

None: (development predates most certification programs)

Twenty-two homes in a cluster made for walking

Eno Commons takes the idea of green homebuilding to another level — the community level. The Durham, North Carolina, project includes 22 energy-efficient homes that, in accordance with the community concept at the heart of Eno Commons, encircle a comfortable walking path while car traffic and parking are kept to the perimeter.

Lessons Learned

Even with such a dedicated, team effort, there are usually surprises. Because the first two horizontal loops for the ground-source heat pumps were so destructive to a site that was to be left 75 percent undisturbed, the remaining loops were inserted into drilled vertical wells at significant extra cost. On a less serious note, even though local building officials were uncomfortable with the lack of driveways, buyers were most interested in the home sites farthest from the parking area.


Rob Wotzak is assistant editor at GreenBuildingAdvisor.com

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Image Credits:

  1. Triangle J Council of Governments
  2. Robert Heinich
  3. Scott Gibson

New, Affordable, and Green in a Historic Neighborhood

Blacksburg, VA

Oct 8 2008 By Rob Wotzak | 0 comments

General Specs and Team

Location: Blacksburg, VA
Cost (USD/sq. ft.): $98/sqf

7 duplexes (14 units):

  • 2 to 3 bedrooms
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 bathrooms
  • 1,038 to 1,360 sq. ft.

Builder: Community Housing Partners Corporation
Architect/designer: Community Design Studio, LLC
Engineer: Civil - Gay & Neel, Inc

Construction

Foundation: slab on grade; XPSExtruded polystyrene. Highly insulating, water-resistant rigid foam insulation that is widely used above and below grade, such as on exterior walls and underneath concrete floor slabs. In North America, XPS is made with ozone-depleting HCFC-142b. XPS has higher density and R-value and lower vapor permeability than EPS rigid insulation. under slab and around perimeter (R-7.5)
Walls: 2x6, 24 in. o.c.; damp-sprayed cellulose insulationThermal insulation made from recycled newspaper or other wastepaper; often treated with borates for fire and insect protection. (R-19)
Roof: 2x4 engineered wood trusses 24 in. o.c.; sprayed cellulose; vented (R-38)
Windows: double-pane, low-eLow-emissivity coating. Very thin metallic coating on glass or plastic window glazing that permits most of the sun’s short-wave (light) radiation to enter, while blocking up to 90% of the long-wave (heat) radiation. Low-e coatings boost a window’s R-value and reduce its U-factor., argonInert (chemically stable) gas, which, because of its low thermal conductivity, is often used as gas fill between the panes of energy-efficient windows. -filled; SHGCSolar heat gain coefficient. The fraction of solar gain admitted through a window, expressed as a number between 0 and 1.: 0.35; U-factorMeasure of the heat conducted through a given product or material—the number of British thermal units (Btus) of heat that move through a square foot of the material in one hour for every 1 degree Fahrenheit difference in temperature across the material (Btu/ft2°F hr). U-factor is the inverse of R-value. : 0.33 (R-3)
Garage: none
Other details: insulated door and window headers (R-10)

Energy

Heating/cooling: 1.5-ton American Standard air-source heat pumpHeat pump that relies on outside air as the heat source and heat sink; not as effective in cold climates as ground-source heat pumps. with R-410A refrigerant, 18,000 Btuh, 15 SEER(SEER) The efficiency of central air conditioners is rated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the SEER rating of a unit, the more energy efficient it is. The SEER rating is Btu of cooling output during a typical hot season divided by the total electric energy in watt-hours to run the unit. For residential air conditioners, the federal minimum is 13 SEER. For an Energy Star unit, 14 SEER. Manufacturers sell 18-20 SEER units, but they are expensive. ; Water heating: electric, 50-gal. tank-style heater (0.91 EFEnergy factor. Efficiency measure for rating the energy performance of dishwashers, clothes washers, water heaters, and certain other appliances. The higher the energy factor, the greater the efficiency. In some appliances EF reflects the percentage of energy going into the appliance that is turned into useful energy. )
HERSIndex or scoring system for energy efficiency established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) that compares a given home to a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Reference Home based on the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code. A home matching the reference home has a HERS Index of 100. The lower a home’s HERS Index, the more energy efficient it is. A typical existing home has a HERS Index of 130; a net zero energy home has a HERS Index of 0. Older versions of the HERS index were based on a scale that was largely just the opposite in structure--a HERS rating of 100 represented a net zero energy home, while the reference home had a score of 80. There are issues that complicate converting old to new or new to old scores, but the basic formula is: New HERS index = (100 - Old HERS score) * 5. score: average of 75
Annual energy use: average 36.7 MMBtu per house

  • Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. dishwasher, washer, refrigerator, and bath fans
  • Energy Star 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. light fixtures
  • Exterior lighting on photocell
  • 0.91 efficiency rated water heater
  • All ducts in conditioned spaceInsulated, air-sealed part of a building that is actively heated and/or cooled for occupant comfort. and mastic sealed

Water Efficiency

  • Dual-flush toilet in ground-floor bath, low-flow toilets elsewhere
  • Low-flow faucets and showerheads
  • Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. washer
  • 65-gal. barrels to collect rainwater for irrigation

Indoor Air Quality

  • No-VOCVolatile organic compound. An organic compound that evaporates readily into the atmosphere; as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs are organic compounds that volatize and then become involved in photochemical smog production. paint
  • Ventilating range hood
  • Ductwork protected during construction
  • Underside of countertops sealed with low-VOC sealer
  • No carpets

Green Materials and Resource Efficiency

  • Advanced framingHouse-framing techniques in which lumber use is optimized, saving material and improving the energy performance of the building envelope. techniques
  • Engineered wood flooring
  • Job-site recycling
  • Fiber-cement board siding
  • 50% of the project was designed on 2-ft. modules.
  • Cellulose wall and attic insulation
  • Open-cell porous pavingA paving material that allows rainfall to percolate through and infiltrate the ground, rather than contributing to stormwater runoff; can be asphalt, concrete, or porous grid paver.
  • OSB wall and roof sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen.
  • Concrete with 15% fly ashFine particulates consisting primarily of silica, alumina, and iron that are collected from flue gases during coal combustion. Flyash is employed as a substitute for some of the portland cement used in the making of concrete, producing a denser, stronger, and slower-setting material while eliminating a portion of the energy-intensive cement required. More info recycled content
  • Composite lumberLumber, typically decking, made from plastic (often high-density polyethylene) and wood fiber or other agricultural by-products. Composite lumber often contains recycled content. Also called composite decking. for deck (Trex, reclaimed plastic and wood waste)
  • Preserved mature trees and incorporated new trees for natural shading

Certification

Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. score: 73-77 (75 average score)
NAHBNational Association of Home Builders, which awards a Model Green Home Certification. Energy Value Housing Award: silver

A Local Organization Builds Practical Homes That Fit in with Others Nearby

Over the past two years, this group of affordable two-family homes in Blacksburg, Virginia, won numerous green building awards including 2007 Home Depot Foundation Award of Excellence for Affordable Housing Built Responsibly and Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. Award for Excellence in Energy-Efficient Affordable Housing. For Community Housing Partners (CHP), a community development corporation in Southwest Virginia, this is just one step in their mission of creating more sustainable opportunities for people in the region.

Lessons Learned

Because Community Housing Partners strives for sustainability on a large scale, this project involved people from the local level on up through the regional, state and even national level. The process caused local residents and officials to gain awareness of and embrace many of the driving principles behind the Roanoke-Lee project. They saw how integrated designBuilding design in which different components of design, such as the building envelope, window placement and glazings, and mechanical systems are considered together. High-performance buildings and renovations can be created cost-effectively using integrated design, since higher costs one place can often be paid for through savings elsewhere, for example by improving the performance of the building envelope, the heating and cooling systems can be downsized, or even eliminated. can foster cooperation and efficiency and they became more aware of needs of their own community.

They also realized how strategically planned developments can preserve open space while giving people better access to resources and to each other. They now also look at buildings from the perspective of performance. The success of this neighborhood has allowed CHP to take on more ambitious projects. A larger scale development went into the planning phase shortly after these houses were built. In this new project CHP would retain 30 percent of the site as open space and adhere to the standards of Earthcraft, a well-respected regional green building program.


Rob Wotzak is assistant editor at GreenBuildingAdvisor.com

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Image Credits:

  1. Colin Arnold
  2. Toshi Woudenberg

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