Sunroom Addition in Rhode Island

Barrington, RI

Jan 21 2009 By Rob Wotzak | 0 comments

General Specs and Team

Location: Barrington, RI
Living Space : 635 sqf
Cost (USD/sq. ft.): $280/sqf

Builder: Joseph C. Cracco, CGR, CAPS, CGP, Modern Yankee Builders
Architect/designer: Katrin Boening and Sean Solley, Solleydesign

Construction

Foundation: ICFInsulated concrete form. Hollow insulated forms, usually made from expanded polystyrene (EPS), used for building walls (foundation and above-ground); after stacking and stabilizing the forms, the aligned cores are filled with concrete, which provides the wall structure. basement (R-22)
Walls: 2x6, 24in. o.c.; 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. sandwiched within headers (R-10), fiberglass batts (R-19)
Windows: double-glazed, 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. (R-2.9, SHGCSolar heat gain coefficient. The fraction of solar gain admitted through a window, expressed as a number between 0 and 1. - .29)
Roof: 2x6 T&G roof decking over exposed rafters; 4-in. polyisocyanurate foam board with taped seams(R-24); 2x sleepers and 5/8-in. plywood 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. over rigid foam

Energy

Heating/cooling: hydronic baseboard tied into existing loops on upper floor; new zone off existing furnace with programmable thermostat at main floor; no heat at basement; variable-speed air handler, condenser (13 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. ) in existing top floor

  • Bank of windows provides 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 natural cooling
  • ICFInsulated concrete form. Hollow insulated forms, usually made from expanded polystyrene (EPS), used for building walls (foundation and above-ground); after stacking and stabilizing the forms, the aligned cores are filled with concrete, which provides the wall structure. foundation
  • Continuous 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. installed above roof decking (virtually no thermal bridgingHeat flow that occurs across more conductive components in an otherwise well-insulated material, resulting in disproportionately significant heat loss. For example, steel studs in an insulated wall dramatically reduce the overall energy performance of the wall, because of thermal bridging through the steel. )
  • Rigid foam insulation built into window and door headers
  • Electronic programmable thermostat

Water Efficiency

  • Reduced lawn area (less irrigation demand)

Indoor Air Quality

  • Temporary filters covered HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. returns during construction
  • MERV 11 filters fitted to AC returns post-construction
  • All materials kept dry during construction (just-in-time delivery, tarps above and below any stored lumber)
  • FormaldehydeChemical found in many building products; most binders used for manufactured wood products are formaldehyde compounds. Reclassified by the United Nations International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2004 as a “known human carcinogen."-free Advantech OSB subfloor

Green Materials and Resource Efficiency

  • Ensured durability through meticulous detailing of drainage and ventilation
  • 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 cedar shingle siding
  • Demolished foundation ground into gravel for reuse
  • Other construction debris recycled
  • Optimal value engineering (OVE)

The goal was to raise sustainability but not costs
The owners of this traditional Rhode Island home wanted to better express their eclectic taste when upgrading their cramped porch to a sunroom addition. A better view of the river was a side benefit.

Although the plans didn't specifically focus on green building, Joseph Cracco, of Modern Yankee Builders, challenged himself to raise the project's level of sustainability without raising the cost. The result is a bright and airy family room, an expanded second-floor office, and a new basement that performs better than the family had imagined possible.

Low-impact is multifaceted
You could say that the motto of Joe's team is to tread lightly. Almost 19 tons of concrete were reclaimed by grinding the old foundation into gravel for road beds. The rest of the construction debris was hauled to New England Recycling, in Taunton, Massachusetts, where typically 82 percent of waste is separated for reuse.

After the original porch was deconstructed, the new work shared as much of the original footprint as possible. Site disturbance was kept to a minimum — existing bushes were temporarily moved, then replanted; turf was quickly re-established in some areas and replaced with planting beds in others; the new gas line was even tunneled rather than trenched in the front yard.

Sustainability extends to efficient operation
The addition doesn't just tread lightly, it uses fewer sticks. The structure is built with advanced-framing techniques on top of a thoroughly waterproofed Insulated Concrete Form (ICFInsulated concrete form. Hollow insulated forms, usually made from expanded polystyrene (EPS), used for building walls (foundation and above-ground); after stacking and stabilizing the forms, the aligned cores are filled with concrete, which provides the wall structure.) basement. To allow for the decorative rafters and 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. inside the new space, and to create a good thermal break, 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 was installed outside of the roof deck.

The whole exterior got a well-sealed drainage planePath that water would take over the building envelope. Concealed drainage-plane materials, such as building paper or housewrap, are designed to shed water that penetrates the building’s cladding. Drainage planes are installed to overlap in shingle fashion (weatherlap) so that water flows downward and away from the building envelope. and air barrierBuilding assembly components that work as a system to restrict air flow through the building envelope. Air barriers may or may not act as a vapor barrier. The air barrier can be on the exterior, the interior of the assembly, or both.. After that, a self-adhesive water shield, sleepers, CDX, and 30-year asphalt shingles created a fully vented roof surface while hard-wearing 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 cedar shingles wrapped the walls. Joe's dedication and attention to detail paid off. The homeowners got a place they can be proud of for years to come, with little added burden on the budget or the environment.

Lessons Learned

Modern Yankee's trek to the 2007 International Builders' Show left its principals pleasantly surprised at how sustainable their standard practices already were. They still logged plenty of hours of research for this addition. This not only made the results better than the clients had asked for, but further integrated green concepts into Modern Yankee's "business as usual," proving that quality, affordability, and sustainability can all go hand in hand.


Rob Wotzak is assistant editor at GreenBuildingAdvisor.com

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Image Credits:

  1. Joseph Cracco
  2. Rob Wotzak

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