On July 10, 2010, in Northville, Michigan, Doug Selby of Meadowlark Builders and Michael Klement of Architectural Resource presented a Behind the Drywall Tour of Wayne County’s first home pending LEED Platinum Certification. The tours were from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., about 60 minutes long and although free, a sell out!
This home was built on The Not So Big House design developed by Sarah Susanka, which features minimizing square footage and focusing on the quality of the space. The diagonal use of space expands the space, you can see from room to room so it feels as if you are in each room.
The basement has:
- A geothermal heating & cooling system which uses the 52 degree temperature of the earth. Initially this system will cost approximately $15,000 dollars more than a fossil fuel system but it also has a 30% Federal Tax credit which makes it easier to go green.
- ICF – Insulating Concrete Form, a process of foam-concrete-foam block which is easily assembled and saves about 30% of a homes energy usage.
- Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation which will reduce energy exchange and it is also an excellent sound barrier.
- Energy and Heat Recovery Ventilators (ERV/HRV), this balances the air whereby 60-80% of the conditioned air is recaptured instead of being lost.
- The PEX Water delivery system, the tubes are resistant to punctures, the cold and calcium build up, it takes less energy and delivers hot water faster, and can save thousands of gallons of water per family each year.
- A Heat Exchanger Hot Water Tank, it is 96% more efficient and is better insulated and only loses 0.2 degrees per hour.
- Dimensional lumber, which was used for I-joists, this is old tree growth lumber that is harvested and is rapidly renewable, so it is considered green. OSB – Oriented Strand Board was used between the joists so that more of the tree is used, it also stiffens the floors to prevent creaking.
- Steel beams, which are light, yet give excellent support; they are also safer for workers to handle.
The Main Floor has:
- AFT – Advanced Framing Techniques that allows a reduction in the amount of lumber used in a home with up to 30% more insulation to replace it.
- Hot Roof technology, were polyurethane foam is used for an air tight build, making the attic warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
- Duct Work that is sealed, and also has the supply placed low and the returns placed high, this tumbles the air throughout the room.
The Upper Floor has:
- Pella windows, which are Energy Star Rated, and cost effective as well.
- Vented Roof System , this encloses the roof structure by applying drywall and flashing with foam for an air seal, cellulose can also be used in conjunction with the air seal. This is still considered a vented roof system.
Although this home appears to look just like any other home, when it is complete and LEED Platinum Certified, it will use five to six times less energy than the average home. Meadowlark Builders specialize in sustainable construction and the building of efficient, healthy and comfortable homes and the tours were successful in showing the many features that make the homes and the community a better place.
Author: Sally Bellanger