Roseburg Oregon Custom Home Builder

19lWq6.AuSt.76-1   …and a Healthy Home

Imagine the home of the future: a smart house that takes advantage of integrated design elements, advanced technologies, and intelligent systems to enhance the home’s performance. Indoor and outdoor living spaces are nurturing and comfortable. Durable green products keep the home healthy and safe. The house is regenerative, returning energy to the grid, adding value to its neighborhood, and replenishing its surrounding natural environment. This home of the future lends itself to joyful, connected, sustainable living.I am proud to be an educated green builder. 

I will be graduating with a Masters degree this summer from the San Francisco Institute of architecture with a Masters of Science in Green Building.  Too many people talk green building and sell green building products but it’s important for all systems to be balanced and work together.  Building Green is not only about saving the environment but it’s about building a better cleaner healthier house that is less expensive in the long run.  Yes that’s right, green should mean money to you!  With every house in every budget there is a balance to be obtained and that is what I am here to do for you. The outline below lists some of the basic categories that are involved with building a better home for you.

The practice of green building expands the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability and comfort to include a broader spectrum of criteria including its impact on the natural environment and human health. There are a vast array of tools, technologies & methods used to support the goals of green building.  Some of them are:

General Methods

  • Custom Site Design
  • Use of Infill Lots
  • Minimal Site Disturbance
  • Construction Debris Recyling
  • Deconstruction & Reuse or Recycling

Heating & Cooling

  • Heat Pumps (Below)
  • Radiant Floor Heating  (Below
  • Geothermal
  • Masonry Stoves
  • Passive & Active Solar Designs
  • Wind
  • Hydro

Building Materials

  • Composite Exterior Trim
  • Composite Decking
  • Fibercement Siding
  • Forest Stewardship (FSC) Certified wood materials
  • Reclaimed materials
  • Recycled materials
  • Recyclable materials

Air Quality

  • Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV’s)
  • Whole House Air Filters
  • Low VOC materials
  • Hard surface flooring

Framing

  • Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF)
  • Advanced stick framing
  • Structural Insulated Panels (SIP)
  • Cobb
  • Rammed Earth
  • Straw Bale
  • Ferro cement

Energy Efficiency

  • Tight Buildings
  • Polar Blanket Insulation
  • Spray Foam Insulation
  • Sealed Ducts
  • Positive Pressurization
  • Energy Star appliances
  • Zonal Heating
  • Programmable Thermostats
  • Compact Fluorescent Lights
  • LED Lights
  • Automatic Closet & Pantry Switching
  • High-Efficiency Water Heating Systems
  • Maximizing natural lighting
  • Solar electric and hot water systems

Water Conservation

  • Conserving Toilets & Appliances
  • Graywater systems
  • Rainwater catchment systems
  • Bioswales
  • Permeable pavement and other technologies that allow water infiltration

Heat Pumps

An air-source heat pump can deliver one-and-a-half to three times more heat energy to a home than the electrical energy it consumes. Unlike furnaces that burn natural gas or heating oil, heat pumps are powered by electricity and move heat rather than converting it from fuel. Because there’s no combustion or air pollution produced at your home, heat pumps save energy, greenhouse gas emissions, and air pollution.  Heat pumps have some impact on the environment as they need electricity to run, but the heat they extract from the ground, air, or water is constantly being renewed naturally. They are also extremely efficient, low maintenance, and have low operating costs.

Air-Source Heat Pumps
Winter1summerA heat pump draws heat from the air or earth and uses that energy to heat or cool a house. The traditional air-source heat pump extracts heat from the outside air during the heating season and releases it to the outside air during the cooling season. Heating and cooling is accomplished by moving a refrigerant through the heat pump’s indoor and outdoor coils. Like in a refrigerator, a compressor, condenser, expansion valve and evaporator are used to change states of the refrigerant between a cold liquid and a hot gas. Similarly, heat pumps can also operate in a cooling mode where the cold refrigerant is moved through the indoor coils to cool the room air.

Ground-Source/Geothermal Heat Pumps
GeoThermHeatPumpsGeoThermSlinkyGround-source heat pumps are similar to ordinary heat pumps, but use the ground instead of outside air to provide heating, air conditioning and, in most cases, hot water. Beneath the surface, the ground stays at a constant temperature, so a ground source heat pump can be used year-round.

A ground source heat pump circulates a mixture of water and antifreeze around a loop of pipe – called a ground loop – which is buried underground. Heat from the ground is absorbed into this fluid and is pumped through a heat exchanger in the heat pump.  Low grade heat is then extracted by the refrigeration system and,  after passing through the heat pump compressor, is concentrated into a higher temperature useful heat capable of heating water for the heating and hot water circuits of the house. Ground loop fluid, now cooler, passes back into the ground where it absorbs further energy from the ground in a continuous process while heating is required. The length of the ground loop depends on the size of your home and the amount of heat you need – longer loops can draw more heat from the ground.

SEER Rating
The Department of Energy requires all air-conditioning and heating equipment manufacturers to evaluate and rate the efficiency of their equipment on a seasonal basis. These ratings are known as the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) and the HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor). The higher the SEER or HSPF rating, the more efficient the heat pump. High-efficiency units cost more, but since operating costs are lower, the payback period may be shorter than you realize. A high SEER/HSPF heat pump also can add value to your home which is important to today’s energy-conscious home buyers.

Federal Tax Credit
Through December 31, 2016 homeowners who install ENERGY STAR qualified geothermal heat pumps may be eligible for a 30% federal tax credit.

Radiant Floor Heat

Radiant heating has a number of advantages: it is more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air heating because no energy is lost through ducts. The lack of moving air can also be advantageous to people with severe allergies. Hydronic (liquid-based) systems use little electricity, a benefit for homes off the power grid or in areas with high electricity prices. The hydronic systems can also be heated with a wide variety of energy sources, including standard gas- or oil-fired boilers, wood-fired boilers, solar water heaters, or some combination of these heat sources.

Types of Radiant Floor Heat
Electric Radiant Floors: Electric radiant floors typically consist of electric cables built into the floor. Systems that feature mats of electrically conductive plastic are also available, and are mounted onto the subfloor below a floor covering. Because of the relatively high cost of electricity, electric radiant floors are usually only cost-effective if they include a significant thermal mass, such as a thick concrete floor, and your electric utility company offers time-of-use rates. Time-of-use rates allow you to “charge” the concrete floor with heat during off-peak hours (approximately 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.). If the floor’s thermal mass is large enough, the heat stored in it will keep the house comfortable for eight to ten hours, without any further electrical input (particularly when daytime temperatures are significantly warmer than nighttime temperatures). This saves a considerable number of energy dollars compared to heating at peak electric rates during the day.

Hydronic Radient FloorsHydronic Radiant Floors: Hydronic (liquid) systems are the most popular and cost-effective radiant heating systems for heating-dominated climates. Hydronic radiant floor systems pump heated water from a boiler through tubing laid in a pattern underneath the floor. In some systems, the temperature in each room is controlled by regulating the flow of hot water through each tubing loop. This is done by a system of zoning valves or pumps and thermostats. The cost of installing a hydronic radiant floor varies by location and also depends on the size of the home, the type of installation, the floor covering, remoteness of the site, and the cost of labor.

Air-Heated Radiant Floors: Because air cannot hold large amounts of heat, radiant air floors are not cost-effective in residential applications, and are seldom installed. Because of the inefficiency of trying to heat a home with a conventional furnace by pumping air through the floors, the benefits of using solar heat during the day are outweighed by the disadvantages of using the conventional system at night.

FloorCovering2FloorCoveringFloor Coverings
Ceramic tile is the most common and effective floor covering for radiant floor heating, as it conducts heat well from the floor and adds thermal storage because of its high heat capacity. Common floor coverings like vinyl and linoleum sheet goods, carpeting, or wood can also be used, but any covering that helps to insulate the floor from the room will decrease the efficiency of the system.

Heat Recovery Ventilators

HeatRecoveryVentilatorsWhen creating an energy-efficient, airtight home it’s very important to consider ventilation. Your home needs the exchange of indoor air with outdoor air to reduce indoor pollutants, moisture, and odors. Buildings today are intentionally made increasingly airtight, which results in less ventilation. An ideal solution for tightly sealed homes, an HRV system exchanges stale air from inside with fresher outdoor air. To ensure absolute comfort, the system also captures heat from contaminated air before it is moved outdoors.

An HRV unit is not a heating system, it’s a ventilation system that works independently of a heating system. It recovers heat from warm air inside the home that would ordinarily be lost through natural draught ventilation, wall grilles and trickle vents etc.

Benefits of Heat Recovery Ventilators

  • Constant supply of fresh air with higher comfort levels
  • Overall air quality within the house is significantly increased which is of benefit to all occupants especially Asthma & Hay Fever sufferers
  • No condensation
  • No fungal growth in bathrooms
  • Fresh smelling bathrooms (air is constantly being changed no need for air freshener)
  • Less dust and fewer spiders as they feed on dust mites
  • Extra security having all windows closed at all times
  • Quieter house, less outside noise as windows are closed
  • Lower heating bills. While the unit does use a small amount of electricity, the amount of energy saved greatly out-weighs the amount used.

HRV units should be checked every year. Basic servicing can be carried out by the owner and the main component of maintenance is changing the filters.

Insulated Concrete Forms

Insulated concrete forms (ICF construction) are hollow foam blocks which are stacked into the shape of the exterior walls of a building, reinforced with steel rebar and then filled with concrete. This innovative technology provides superior R-values,  superior strength, straighter walls, less maintenance, provides excellent insulating qualities, prevents the growth of mold and mildew, prevents pests in wall cavities, lasts longer than wood, and requires less energy to heat and cool than traditional wood framing.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is an alternative to the commonly used fiberglass insulation that has been an industry standard for many years. Spray-applied foam plastic is installed as a liquid and then expands many times its original size.

Applications:

  • Commercial and residential insulation in walls, ceilings, attics and basements
  • Roofing
  • Air barriers
  • Industrial insulation for pipes and tanks, cold storage facilities, freezers, walk-in coolers, and climate controlled buildings such as produce storage and clean rooms
  • Flotation for boats, ships, barges, floating docks, etc.
  • Higher density spray polyurethane foam has been used to increase the structural strength of wings in airplanes

Benefits of Spray Foam:

  • Saves our clients money by dramatically reducing heating and cooling usage
  • Contains no formaldehyde or ozone-depleting chemicals
  • Maintains a consistent temperature throughout the building, from room to room and floor to floor
  • Helps control moisture and condensation
  • Reduces drafts, outside pollutants, allergens and noise to help maintain comfortable indoor air quality
  • Proven as an effective application, in use for over 25 years in commercial, industrial and residential buildings
  • Environmentally durable; maintains its physical properties over time, a single product can take the place of three other products including insulation, air barriers, sealants, vapor retarders, and weather barriers (depending on the formula and project)

 

Helpful Links

 

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