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The Built Green Home at Suncadia
Built Green Rating: 5 Star
Built by custom homebuilder CMI Homes, the Built Green™ Home at Suncadia meets the highest standards of the Built Green program. As a 5-Star Built Green-certified home, it meets rigorous site protection, energy efficiency, indoor air quality and materials efficiency standards. Additionally the home has been designated as an Energy Star® Home by Energy Star Homes Northwest. It is designed to use at least 30 percent less energy than a typical new home, which is double the required amount by Energy Star. In order to achieve a 5-Star certification, the home was inspected regularly throughout construction by an independent third-party verifier.
The Built Green Home at Suncadia incorporates many green features across all categories in the Built Green Home Builder Checklist. The building site was carefully considered and was planned to manage rainwater runoff in natural ways instead of using costly end-of-pipe facilities. To achieve Energy Star Home status, the home was required to use high levels of insulation to minimize heat loss and air infiltration, as well as use energy-efficient compact fluorescents for 50 percent of all lighting. The Built Green Home at Suncadia incorporates many features to ensure healthy indoor air quality. For example, there is no carpeting in the house, since carpet can harbor dust, allergens, mold, or harmful bacteria. To save resources, over 90 percent of the waste produced during the construction process was separated on site and recycled. Additionally, a wide array of durable, long-lasting products were used, many of which were made from recycled materials and renewable resources.
See the categories below for a listing of other green features included in the home:
Site and Water Protection
- Porous Paving System: This innovative paving system creates drainage openings in the driveway and the rear patio, thus allowing both rainwater and snow melt to drain and percolate into the ground naturally. The interlocking concrete pavers are strong enough to support vehicles and other heavy loads. Additionally, the pavers used are durable, long-lasting, and easily recyclable.
- Drought-Tolerant Landscaping: Like all the homes at Suncadia, this home has no traditional grass lawn. The landscaping uses plants that are native to the area. Because the plants are drought-tolerant, the landscaping requires minimal maintenance and will require irrigation only while the plants are getting established.
- Use of Reclaimed Timber: When the site was cleared for this house, several trees were salvaged, sent to a local mill, and were reborn as part of the home’s interior. One of those trees became the mantle over the fireplace; others were turned into vanities in the upstairs bathrooms.
Use Energy Wisely
- Energy-Efficient Windows and Doors: The windows are aluminum-clad units with low-E glazing and argon-gas-filled insulating glass. The finishes were all applied off-site for healthier indoor air quality.
- Energy-Efficient Lighting: Compact fluorescent lighting uses up to 75 percent less energy than conventional, or incandescent, lighting. It also lasts up to ten times longer than incandescent lighting. Any fixtures which are not made as fluorescent fixtures have been equipped with compact fluorescent bulbs whenever possible. If conventional, incandescent bulbs are used, the fixture has been equipped with a dimmer switch to save energy.
- Spray Foam Insulation: This sprayed-in insulation virtually eliminates air infiltration, one of the largest sources of home heat loss. It also prevents mold and moisture problems. Because it’s water-based, there’s no chemical off-gassing. All roof structures, walls, floors, crawl spaces and interior sound walls were insulated with spray foam insulation.
- Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs): Insulated concrete forms, or ICFs, are extremely energy-efficient and result in stronger, quieter walls than concrete poured in conventional forms. ICFs were used for the walls of the wine cellar and mechanical room in this home, to ensure consistent temperatures.
- Sealed Crawl Space: Sealing the crawl space beneath the home reduces heat loss through ducts and pipes and eliminates the risk of frozen pipes in winter. In addition to increasing the energy efficiency of the home, this reduces contaminants, mold, and allergens for improved air quality.
- On-Demand Tankless Water Heater: These compact units use up to 25 percent less energy than traditional water heaters and have a 25-year life span. Water is heated as needed when a faucet is turned on, and then shut off automatically when not in use.
- Ground Source Geothermal Heat Pump: This system reduces energy use by up to 70 percent and utilizes the earth’s temperature (typically 54 degrees) to heat and cool the home, depending on the season.
- Energy Star® Qualified Appliances: The drawer dishwasher in the home uses 25 percent less energy than Federal guidelines. The built-in refrigerator uses 15 percent less energy than Federal guidelines. The loft apartment features a drawer dishwasher that uses 33 percent less energy than Federal guidelines and a compact refrigerator that allows temperature adjustment without opening the door.
The clothes washer in this home uses half the energy and half the water of a conventional clothes washer. It also saves additional water by automatically adjusting the water level to match the load.
Health and Indoor Air Quality
- Low-VOC and Green Seal Certified Paint: All interior walls were painted with Green Seal certified low-VOC paint, which results in less odor and less chemical off-gassing in the home. Green Seal is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to safeguarding the environment and transforming the marketplace by promoting the manufacture, purchase, and use of environmentally responsible products and services. You can learn more about Green Seal at www.greenseal.org.
- American Clay Earth Plaster Walls: The plaster on the walls in the wine cellar is made from clay, marble dust, borax, and earth pigments. The product is hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and mold-resistant, and was named at the Outstanding Green Product of the Year for 2004 by the National Association of Home Builders.
- Tile "Rug": The entryway to the home features a "rug" made of slate inlaid with handmade bronze tiles, which provides a durable alternative to carpets or area rugs, which can accumulate dust and pollutants.
- Heat Recovery Ventilator: The heat recovery ventilator provides a continuous supply of filtered fresh air throughout the home. It also exhausts contaminants and controls humidity. This unit recovers heat from the home’s exhaust air in winter and cools the incoming air in summer.
- HVAC System: This high-velocity system combines with the geothermal heat pump to provide energy-efficient heating and cooling for the home. It takes the fresh air brought in by the heat recovery ventilator and constantly circulates it throughout the house, resulting in superior indoor air quality and consistent room temperatures. This product also helps remove dust and allergens, and inhibit the growth of mold and harmful bacteria.
- Catalytic Air Purifier: The air purifier removes allergens electrostatically, kills germs with ultraviolet light, and eliminates odors. In addition, it filters all returned air for improved indoor air quality.
Using Materials Wisely and Reducing Waste
- House Exterior: The exterior of the house features low-maintenance, long-lasting natural cedar siding with a natural stone veneer trim. The thin, lightweight veneer is more durable and longer-lasting than manufactured stone, and requires less mining to produce and less fuel to transport. The house has a metal roof that inhibits moss growth and has a 40-year life span.
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified Wood Products: FSC certified wood was used for both decking and flooring. The Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC, is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to monitoring and promoting sustainable forestry practices. Through a carefully documented chain of custody, any FSC-labeled product can be traced back to an FSC-certified forest. For more information on FSC-certified wood products, visit www.fscus.org.
- Alder Cabinets, Bookshelves and Window Seats: Alder trees are a fast-growing, renewable resource. The alder cabinets, bookshelves and window seats were all manufactured locally and pre-finished off-site using low-VOC finishes.
- Recycled Content Tile: Many recycled content tiles were used in the home on floors, counters and walls. All the glass tiles contain 80 to 100 percent recycled content depending upon the brand. The loft apartment features ceramic wall tiles and porcelain floor tiles that contain roughly 50 percent recycled material, primarily waste material from the manufacture of other ceramic and porcelain products.
- Recycled Copper Sinks: Two sinks in the home are made from recycled copper. Copper has natural antibacterial properties that kill harmful bacteria under wet or dry conditions, making it ideal for a kitchen sink. A second sink was handmade from recycled copper that was primarily reclaimed from industrial salvage. Additionally, the manufacturer is a member of the Fair Trade Federation, which ensures that the operation benefits the local population.
- Dual-Flush Toilets: A dual-flush toilet allows the user to select a 1.6-gallon flush for solids and use just half that amount, 0.8 gallons, for liquids. It’s easy to operate and clean, and has been proven in independent studies to reduce household water usage by thousands of gallons a year.
- Cork Flooring: The floor in the upstairs bedrooms and in the basement wine cellar is made from the renewable bark of Mediterranean cork oak trees. In fact, it contains cork waste left over from the manufacture of wine corks! It features a formaldehyde-free core and low-toxic finish.
- More than 90 percent of the waste produced during the construction process was separated on site and recycled.
Built Green would like to thank the builder, developer and sponsors of this project for their generous financial support to the Built Green program and for providing the opportunity to use this home to educate the public about green building.
For more information about the home and sponsors, including a list of product suppliers, visit www.thebuiltgreenhome.com.
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