Green Design with Breathtaking Views

Leicester House Marvin Windows - exterior

This is the last installment in our series called Energy-Efficient Windows 101 made possible by Marvin Windows and Doors.  Last time I discussed how Marvin windows contribute towards LEED certification, and today want to wrap it up with this showcase of an award-winning home in Leicester, North Carolina.  Designed by Eric Gartner of New York-based SPG Architects, the energy-efficient home has a custom configuration of Marvin windows providing expansive southern and western views.

Leicester House Marvin Windows - interior

It’s hard to explain how digging the water well in 2008 influenced what ultimately was built, but that’s what happened, according to Gartner, SPG Architects.  Due to drought conditions, the well had to be dug much deeper than expected, and the housing economy basically crashed at about the same time.  When these two things happened, the owner reassessed plans and worked with Gartner on a more environmentally friendly home while still keeping a tight construction budget.

The result is a 3,000 square-foot abode with three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms, split between two levels.  The upper level has the living and master suite, while the lower level has the guest wing and can be zoned off when not in use to save energy.

A key feature of the Leicester home is an engineered window wall overlooking a green roof with sunset views of the west and also toward the south.  This was accomplished with the custom configuration of Marvin windows and doors explained below.

Leicester House Marvin Windows - windows

Contemporary and Green

Leicester collects about 80% of the water that falls on the house and diverts it to two tanks that hold a total of 3,400 gallons.  The non-potable resource is used for landscape irrigation and in the water-conserving toilets.  Also, the green roof reduces water runoff and the heat-island effect and insulates the guest wing below.

As for the construction, Leicester has a basic insulation package with R19 fiberglass in the walls, an insulated foam in the basement, and an R38+ roof with a combination of R19 fiberglass and closed-cell urethane foam.  The HVAC system has three zones – again, these can be shut down when an area of the house isn’t being used – powered by a geothermal system with a field of horizontal loops.

To conserve energy, the owner installed Energy Star appliances, Energy Star Marvin windows, and low-consumption lighting, and Gartner’s design includes massive overhangs for summer shade and winter warmth.  These windows facilitate stunning views and also provide for cross-ventilation.

Leicester House Cross Ventilation

About the Windows

The window package from Marvin works overtime to minimize unwanted heat gain from the west.  Gartner said the UV rating is really high, and, specifically, the windows have low-E2 glass filled with argon.

Marvin’s team was able to sync with the design team to deliver a mostly continuous view using steel bars engineered for structural support, connections, and an arrangement of the Ultimate Swinging French Door, Ultimate Casement Window, and Ultimate Awning Window.  And Gartner was honored as one of Marvin’s 2012 Architect’s Challenge winners.

If you’ve ever thought about having stunning views like this from your home, find a Marvin dealer near you to bring your vision to life.

Leicester House Marvin Windows - architecture

Courtesy: SPG Architects; credits: Daniel Levin Photography.

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How to Read a Home Window Label

This is the beginning of our series called Energy-Efficient Windows 101 made possible by Marvin Windows and Doors.  For this first article, I want to talk about the various acronyms you might see on a home window label, or in window specification materials, so you’ll know more about what you’re reading.  When evaluating energy-efficient window options, Marvin suggests that you understand the basics of the following words and acronyms:

AL – the Air Leakage rating expresses the cubic feet of air which passes through a square foot of window area by way of leaks or cracks in the window assembly.  The lower the AL number, the less air will pass through the window assembly.

CR – Condensation Resistance is expressed in a number from 0 to 100 to indicate the ability of the window to potentially resist the formation of condensation on the interior surface.  The higher the CR number, the better the product will be at resisting interior condensation.

Energy Staris a joint program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) which proscribes energy performance standards for products, including appliances, light bulbs, windows, and even homes.

Energy Star zones – in order to qualify as an Energy Star product, windows and skylights must meet certain U-factor and, if applicable, SHGC requirements based on a climate zone.  There are four zones in the United States: northern, north-central, south-central, and southern.  You can find out the Energy Star requirements for your climate zone on the Energy Star website.

Fenestration – this is an opening in the envelope of a building.  It’s a fancy word that may be used to reference the design or placement of windows and other openings in a structure.

NFRC – the National Fenestration Rating Council is a non-profit organization that administers a rating and labeling system for the energy performance of windows, doors, skylights, and attachment products.  NFRC certifies data and testing of windows, so it’s easy to compare two window products with NFRC values.

SHGC – the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient ranges from 0 to 1 and indicates how well a window blocks heat caused by sunlight.  The lower the SHGC, the less solar heat transmits through the window; the higher the SHGC, the more solar heat will transmit through the window.

U-factor – this is a measure of heat transfer through the whole window (including the frame and glass).  Think about U-factor as the opposite of insulation R-values where the higher the R-value, the better the insulation.  The lower the U-factor, the better the window is at preventing heat transfer through the window.

VT – Visible Transmittance also ranges from 0 to 1 and indicates the amount of total visible light that the window will transmit.  The higher the VT, the more visible light will pass through the window.

Tripane glazing, available with argon or kryton gas, provides excellent energy performance. It’s available with LoĒ2-272 on both panes, with LoĒ-179® on both panes for high SHGC, or with LoĒ3-366® on the exterior pane and LoĒ-179 on the interior pane for low SHGC.

Some window manufacturers use their own ratings based on their own testing standards, and their information is hard to judge or compare.  Marvin uses third-party rating information from NFRC, so homeowners can perform an apples-to-apples comparison of what’s available on the market.

Also, meeting the Energy Star threshold with energy-efficient windows may reduce energy consumption by about 7-15%, according to the Energy Star website.  Marvin has more than 150,000 options for meeting Energy Star requirements, and, if a project is pursuing higher performance territory, Marvin can exceed Energy Star requirements, too.

By the way, right now Marvin is kicking off a fall energy efficiency program with the Smart Performance Promotion giving one lucky homeowner $5,000 toward the purchase of new Marvin windows and doors.  In connection with the promotion, Marvin has a collection of energy efficiency and other home improvement tips from Lou Manfredini, a homebuilder, contributor to the Today Show, and host of HouseSmarts TV.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Energy Efficient Windows with Marvin
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  3. Ingenious PV Glass Window Hits Chicago

Read more here: How to Read a Home Window Label

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Prefab Living Structures in North Carolina

If in a pinch for extra living space at home, a detached structure could be just the solution.  Especially if an addition isn’t an option, there are companies all over the country that provide prefabricated structures that can be used for a home office, studio, in-law suite, or cabana, etc.  North Carolina-based Outdoor Environs is one of these companies with a backyard shed from about $40,000.

A 251-square-foot Outdoor Environs is delivered in four to six weeks, though pricing doesn’t include things like foundation, delivery, assembly costs, etc.

The prefab shed by Outdoor Environs is built with Marvin Integrity windows and doors, a galvanized metal roof, the Open-Built Wall System by Bensonwood with dense-pack cellulose (R22), roof panels by Bensonwood with dense-pack cellulose (R32), and HardiePanel siding, etc.

[+] More about prefab living structures by Outdoor Environs.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Tiny Harbinger House in North Carolina
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  3. Passive Makes Perfect in North Carolina

More: Prefab Living Structures in North Carolina