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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Prefab Norris House in Tennessee is a Living Lab for Energy and Water Use

New Norris House

Since 1933, the Tennessee Valley Authority community of Norris, Tennessee has showcased a variety of prefabricated houses with modern amenities such as electricity, heat, and indoor plumbing that were quite rare in Appalachia.

Today, the same community hosts the New Norris House, which showcases the principles of affordable sustainable living. The 1,006-square-foot prefab cottage is proudly exceeding LEED-Platinum standards by 30%, utilizing sunlight and rainwater to focus on self-reliance and conservation. The house uses 50% less energy than other homes in the area and requires no fossil fuels to run.

New Norris House

The demonstration home was created by a team of University of Tennessee-Knoxville College of Architecture + Design students and faculty members, who used passive solar design and ventilation to maintain comfortable temperatures during all seasons. Natural daylight was an important consideration for the design, and a retractable awning on the southern side controls the amount of heat distributed throughout the home in summer and winter. A solar hot water panel and tankless electric water heater work together to maintain water temperatures, and about 85% of roof runoff is used for toilet flushing, laundry, and irrigation.

Striking Modscape Prefab Point Leo Australia

Australian Modscape Prefab By The Sea at Point Leo

Australian Modscape Prefab By The Sea at Point Leo

Combining exceptional contemporary design with superior functionality, this two-
story modular prefabricated home is a striking addition to the seaside township of
Point Leo in Victoria, Australia.

Designed and constructed by Melbourne-based Modscape using seven modules, the
house comprises 1162.5 square feet of internal entertaining area, 624 square feet
of external entertaining space and 1205.6 square feet of accommodation, including
five bedrooms on the upper level. A feature of the house is a Corian kitchen bench
that continues out onto the exterior decking and incorporates a barbecue to create an
indoor/outdoor kitchen for year-round entertaining.

Externally, the house is clad in dark-stained Pacific teak plantation timber and rough
sawn Shadowclad, giving an affinity with its natural seaside environment.

All Modscape homes are based on sustainable design principles aimed at minimizing
environmental impact, maximizing year-round comfort and reducing running costs.
The upscale Point Leo house cost $AU681,000 with a build time of just 12 weeks.

The house is orientated to optimize passive heating and cooling and capture sea
breezes for natural ventilation. It incorporates high thermal insulation, double glazed
windows, a solar hot water service, 3+ star-rated water efficient fixtures and fittings,
rainwater collection for potable use, greywater recycling for toilets and irrigation and
drought-resistant landscaping.

Australian Modscape Prefab Kitchen Area

Australian Modscape Prefab Kitchen Area

All Modscape homes are constructed using fully welded steel frame modules
with structurally insulated panels. Modules can be arranged to create almost any
configuration of spaces and can be made to any size to suit the client’s site and
design. Homes are fabricated to completion prior to leaving the company’s Melbourne
factory, reducing site waste and environmental impact. All materials incorporated
are selected for sustainability, low embodied energy and minimal greenhouse gas
emissions.

Modscape are located at 430 Francis Street, Brooklyn, Victoria. For more information
visit Modscape

Australian Modscape Prefab

Australian Modscape Prefab Living Area

Modscape Bedroom

Modscape Bedroom

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Sunset Idea House Prefab in Healdsburg
  2. ClearSpace Keeps Prefab Simple in Austin
  3. Connect Homes to Reinvent Modular Prefab

Continue reading here: Striking Modscape Prefab Point Leo Australia

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Sustainable and Portable Living in The Tricycle House

Imagine that you live in a country where you can’t own land or property and all of your housing options are temporary, if you have a home at all. You just might think this Tricycle House is your perfect solution to a dwelling conundrum.

Part of the 2012 Get it Louder Exhibition and designed by the People’s Architecture Office (PAO) and the People’s Industrial Design Office (PIDO) in China, the Tricycle House is portable and can be configured with numerous options.

Constructed of translucent polypropylene plastic using a CNC router, it retains its strength during folding such that it can open up and expand for increased space and connection to other units.

Optional interior facilities include a kitchen with sink and stove, bathroom with washing tub, living areas with storage and transformable furniture, a water tank, and an outdoor garden.

Imagine affordable, sustainable living, off the grid in an urban environment or in the country, where your home goes where you go. Do you think that you could adapt to this kind of living environment?

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Pure Salvage Tiny House for Living
  2. Tiny Modern Leaf House in the Yukon
  3. Compact Souler House Finished in Maine

Here is the original post: Sustainable and Portable Living in The Tricycle House

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Top-10 Products from BuildingGreen [2013]

For the eleventh year, BuildingGreen has announced their list of Top-10 Green Building Products. BuildingGreen picks the products from additions to the GreenSpec Directory, coverage in Environmental Building News, and blogs on BuildingGreen. Make sure to keep this selection of residential-related winners on your radar:

Amorim Expanded Cork Rigid Insulation
Website // energy efficiency, avoids hazardous ingredients, sustainably harvested


Viridian Reclaimed Wood
Website // salvaged wood, certified wood


GeoSpring Hybrid Electric Water Heater by GE
Website // American-made, energy-conserving fixture


Haiku Fan by Big Ass Fans
Website // Energy-conserving product, quiet


Atlas CMU Block w- Carbon Cure
Website // reduces operational pollution; pre-consumer recycled content


Cyber Rain Smart Irrigation Control
Website // conserves water, cloud-based system


[+] See all Top-10 BuildingGreen Green Products.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Top Ten Green Building Products [2010]
  2. Top 10 Green Building Products [2011]
  3. Haiku: Most Efficient Ceiling Fan in World

Read the original: Top-10 Products from BuildingGreen [2013]

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How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Choosing the Finish (Part 5 of 5)

Last week I talked about how you can source the right reclaimed wood flooring for your project, and this week I want to conclude with some detail about choosing and installing a floor finish.  One thing to keep in mind when installing any wood floor, you should always (always!) follow the guidelines set out by the National Wood Flooring Association.  They cover every possible scenario you might encounter.  We have them posted on the Viridian Reclaimed Wood website here.

Finishes provide a layer of protection for reclaimed wood flooring, guarding it from dirt, moisture and wear. Finishes also add an attractive sheen to bring out the natural beauty of reclaimed wood flooring. There are many finish options to choose from—each with different advantages—and the finish chosen can significantly alter the look of the wood.

This information below is meant as a starting point to select what is right for your home; however, it is always best to test your choices on uninstalled material to make sure you are getting the results you want.

Wax or Wax Paste:
Wax is the oldest finishing substance for wood floors, and there are still many advantages to finishing your reclaimed wood floors with wax. It is inexpensive, easy to apply, fast drying, easy to repair and long lasting, assuming you provide the proper care. Today’s advanced waxes are also environmentally friendly and more durable than in years past.

At Viridian, we regularly use and recommend Osmo Polyx brand for durability and ease of application. Osmo has proven in tests to be as tough as polyurethane, yet it’s still a natural, repairable, low-toxicity finish that nicely complements reclaimed wood flooring. Of course, there are a few downsides to wax, as well – water will stain wax finishes and occasional buffing and reapplication of wax will be required. Chances are, your grandmother knew how to wax her wooden floors; if you are attracted to reclaimed wooden flooring for its old-world charm, wax may be the best finish for you.

Oil:
Oil is the most popular finish for wood floors around the world. Like wax, oil has long been used as a finish for centuries. Quality oil finishes are plant-based and contain no VOCs to harm the environment. Unlike other finishes, which typically look their best at the time of application and head downhill from there, oil finishes continue looking better and better every year – provided you’re willing to put in the necessary work.

Oil finishes require regular touch-ups and buffing to continue looking great. In fact, many homeowners consider the reparability of oil finishes an advantage over finishes that do not allow repairs, such as polyurethane. Oil finishes also have a low sheen many homeowners prefer, especially on rustic or antique wood flooring.  At Viridian, we routinely recommend Teak Oil and Woca Oil for their penetrating ability, hardness and overall look.  Note that depending on the application you may also need to use a paste or liquid wax to protect the finish.

Polyurethane:
Newer floors are often finished with surface sealants, such as urethane. A big advantage of urethane-based finishes is that they are stain- and water-resistant. Urethane finishes are so durable that they are often used in high-traffic areas, such as school gymnasiums. The only maintenance required for surface-sealed reclaimed wood flooring is the occasional dusting and mopping.

Urethane floor finishes are available in several forms. Oil-based urethane dries slowly and brings out a beautiful amber glow in reclaimed wood flooring. One downside to oil-modified urethane is that it is a petroleum product; if you originally purchased reclaimed wood floors for sustainability, you may not want to use a finished based on fossil fuels.

Water-based urethane has grown in popularity in recent years because it has the same positive properties as oil-based urethane, but it has very low (or no) volatile organic compounds (VOCs). There are many water-based products that are easy to apply, dry quickly, are hard enough for commercial floors and create a clear to amber tone. These are occasionally more expensive than their oil-based counterparts. Moisture-cured urethane is also available; it is extremely durable and moisture resistant, but it’s also so difficult to apply that it is best to call in a professional if you choose this finish.

Swedish Finish:
Also called a “conversion varnish,” this is an alcohol-based finish developed in Scandinavia in the 1950s and has been popular in Europe ever since. Like urethane seals, Swedish floor finishes require virtually no maintenance beyond light damp mopping, however, it is an extremely toxic process. Swedish floor finishes are notoriously smelly; the strong odor from this type of finish may linger for weeks.  For these reasons, and the fact there are so many quality alternatives, we do not recommend Swedish finish for any applications.

Finally: How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – The Conclusion

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – The Benefits (Part 1 of 5)
  2. How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Know Wood Trends (Part 3 of 5)
  3. How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Sourcing the Wood (Part 4 of 5)

More here: How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Choosing the Finish (Part 5 of 5)

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The Greenest Home in the World [Video]

I was noodling some recent journalist potshots about headlines for “the greenest …” when I landed on this video piece from the Nightly News. NBC’s Kiko Itasaki wonders if this home in Unst, one of the northern Shetland Islands of Scotland, is the greenest in the world. Everyone knows the question has no answer, but I think Michael and Dorothy Rea have accomplished something worth noticing that’s for sure.

The aim of their project, according to the Reas’ website, was to “pilot an approach to carbon-neutral living that can be replicated across the UK and elsewhere.

They built a home from an off-the-shelf kit from Scotframe Timber Frame Engineering (water-tight assembly in 4.5 days by three men). Systems for the home include an air-to-water heat pump with a custom water battery, a heat recovery ventilator, LED lights, solar panels, small wind turbines, and fuel cells that store power for use with a refitted electric Toyota Yaris.

Additionally, the Reas have a 1,000 square-foot, hydroponic greenhouse where they grow food to sustain a vegetarian diet. Apparently some of the food is maintained by minerals and rainwater harvested from the roof, too.

[+] More about the Zero Carbon House in Shetland.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Students Build Greenest Home in Canada
  2. BioSIPs in the Greenest Home in Canada
  3. Living in a Zero-Waste Home [Video]

Excerpt from: The Greenest Home in the World [Video]

Zero-VOC Paint Colorant by Sherwin Williams

This year Sherwin Williams introduced ColorCast EcoToner, which is a new tinting system that won’t add VOCs to paints.  The new colorants “maintain the paint’s full body after tinting, delivering thick, rich coats for maximum performance,” according to a company press release.  The ColorCast EcoToner system is available for any hue in the Sherwin Williams color palette (as well as custom color matches, too).  ColorCast EcoToner colorants are now used for Emerald paints and all other Sherwin Williams latex and water-based coatings as of July 1, 2012.  Perhaps you’ve already used paints with this system — thoughts?

[+] More about the ColorCast EcoToner tint system by Sherwin Williams.

Credits: Sherwin Williams; noticed at Residential Architect.

Original post: Zero-VOC Paint Colorant by Sherwin Williams

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LEED Platinum Passive House in Taos

I’ve seen several projects pursue both LEED Platinum and Passive House certification, but I can’t think of any that actually went through with the aim other than this Passive House, Platinum-certified home in Taos, New Mexico.  The 2,400 square-foot home has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a garage, and 1.1 acres of land with a serene, scenic view of Taos Mountain to the east, Truchas Peaks to the South, and pasture land to the west.

Construction of this home was with 12″ walls filled with cellulose and covered with 2″ of rigid foam (R52) and a roof of loose-fill cellulose to approximately R102.  The windows and doors, Serious Windows, have double-glazing and a third heat-shield layer in the middle.

In addition, the home has LEDs and CFLs, a radon mitigation system, an ERV for ventilation, and rainwater harvesting for the garden and landscape.

Interior walls were finished with a custom plaster mix of Kaolin Clay, Mica, flour, sand, straw, and coloring, while the exterior is finished with a cement plaster base coat covered by cementitious stucco.

There’s powered generated from a 2.8 kW photovoltaic array connected to the grid and a five-panel drainback solar thermal system with a 650-gallon solar water storage tank for most of the home’s domestic hot water needs.

The Passive House residence was built by Ben van Willigen, BvW Inc Construction; Joaquin Karcher of Zero E Design; Michael Tarleton of Tarleton Engineering; and Wolfgang Meller of Energy Consulting in Shokan, New York.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Zevon Platinum Passive House in Utah
  2. Passive House Retrofit in California
  3. Menlo Park Passive House Hits the Market

Visit link: LEED Platinum Passive House in Taos

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Reclaimed Getaway Cabin on the Hillside

Imre Kovacs, a reader of Jetson Green and architect/builder of this weekend getaway cabin, shared his project with us recently, saying it cost $4,350 to build, including labor for one worker.  Located in Pomaz, Hungary, the 107-square-foot cabin was built with mostly materials reclaimed from demolition sites (timber, bricks, roof tile, rocks, etc), as well as new roof insulation, two pieces of glass, and linseed oil to treat the wood.  Kovacs owns the cabin with his wife, and they use the place to escape the city.  There’s a composting toilet, but water is provided from a well downhill and lighting is from candles.

[+] More about Imre Kovacs and his reclaimed wood furnishings.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Cedar-Slat Tiny Sunset Cabin on the Lake
  2. Reclaimed Wood with a Rainscreen Install
  3. Reclaimed Joshua Collection by Amenity

See original here: Reclaimed Getaway Cabin on the Hillside