Cutting-Edge Award Winner a Stop on Green Home Tour
Attendees at the NAHB National Green Building Conference in Dallas on May 8-10 will have the opportunity to tour a state-of-the-art sustainable home three years after it was built and see how it continues to measure up for the architect/owner who designed it.
The home received the EnergyValue Housing Award (EVHA) in 2006, a program co-sponsored by the NAHB Research Center and the U.S. Department of Energy. It was built by Don Ferrier, a green builder for 25 years whose projects have racked up numerous awards and accolades testifying to the company’s expertise and forward-thinking business practices.
The house is one of six homes and remodeling projects in various stages of construction that will be included in a tour of green homes on Friday, May 8.
“The design represents a consciously integrated, holistic approach to energy efficiency and sustainability,” the architect/owner said in his application for the EVHA. “All aspects of the design interplay with interior functions, the movement of the sun and the variability of the seasons. The intent was to create a home design that would be sensitive to the old-growth natural setting, optimize energy efficiency, provide a high level of comfort with natural daylighting and natural ventilation, and be virtually maintenance-free. All materials chosen were selected based on the principles of sustainability, low-toxic emissions and environmental impacts.”
The home was built on a site surrounded by mature cottonwood and pecan trees — old growth that Ferrier wanted to disturb as little as possible. Then, the home was oriented to take advantage of southern exposure that maximizes this combination of natural light and solar heat gain in the winter while allowing windows to be shaded by the tree canopy in the summer.
“It’s extremely well nestled in the trees,” said Ferrier.
A seasonal creek bed, its sides eroded, meandered through the site. During site development, the creek was improved to help it maintain rainwater and a new water feature — which now attracts frogs, toads and other bug-eating creatures — constructed near the home.
There’s also a crawl space under the home — an unusual feature in the Dallas area, where most homes are slab on grade. The crawl space is sealed and conditioned, acting as a heat sink in the summer and providing radiant heat in the winter. The crawl space is also pressurized and takes the place of ducts.
The driveway is made with permeable material road base with decomposed granite for topping.
The bedrooms have an eastern exposure, while the rooms that don’t require as much lighting and don’t have windows — closets, laundry and mudroom, and general storage — are on the west side. The living areas and kitchen are in the middle.
The prototype air conditioning system features a small water-tower chiller in which a heat pump chills water to cool a forced-air system. Spraying water on the coils while drawing air across them greatly increases the cooling effect. Additives in the water keep away mold. “It’s a neat system,” he said.
A member of the Structural Insulated Panel Association for 15 years, Ferrier is a firm believer in the resource- and energy-efficiency of SIPS construction. The first floor of the tour home is constructed of insulated concrete forms while the second floor and roof are made of SIPS. “The SIP industry and the ICF industry have teamed up to get an International Code Council detail for connecting a SIP roof to a ICF wall,” creating a super-insulated, extremely air tight shell, Ferrier said.
The home is topped with an aluminum-zinc alloy standing-seam roof (Galvalume) that reflects about 75% of the sun’s heat, “a great radiant roof” for the Dallas-Fort Worth area, he said.
Four years after Ferrier Custom Homes started the project, Ferrier said he’s happy with how the home turned out. The owner has added decks and a storage shed under the carport and is working on other improvements, including a rainwater collection system to improve the home’s water efficiency. The original two-sided Rumford fireplace between the great room and dining room has since been closed up on one side after the owner realized that two sides were not as efficient.
Other than that, “it was a really very cutting-edge home,” Ferrier said.
The tour will be followed in the evening by the NAHB National Green Building Awards dinner, featuring guest speaker T. Boone Pickens.
For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.
‘National Green Building Standard’ Available at BuilderBooks.com
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The Future of Residential Construction Is Green
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Attend the National Green Building Conference in Dallas
Attend the 2009 National Green Building Conference in Dallas on May 10-13 to learn more about the critical paths to green building, and to participate in interactive sessions and be part of the driving force for the green building and remodeling markets.
For more information and to sign up to be notified when registration opens, visit www.nahb.org/GreenBuildingConference.
‘Building Greener Neighborhoods’ Available at BuilderBooks.com
“Building Greener Neighborhoods,” available through Digital Delivery at BuilderBooks.com, shows those involved in building new communities the advantages and rewards of saving, planting and transplanting more trees in their developments.
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‘Profit from Building Green’ Available at BuilderBooks.com
“Profit from Building Green — Award-Winning Tips to Build Energy Efficient Homes,” available through BuilderBooks.com, showcases what energy conscious award-winning builders are doing, provides innovative energy-efficient features and covers successful techniques for building this niche market.
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