Spec House in Maine Gets LEED – Teaches Zero Carbon Design | Home Design Find

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Spec House in Maine Gets LEED – Teaches Zero Carbon Design

Spec1 architecture
Richard Renner Architects designed this carbon neutral home as a spec home at the request of a local construction company, in Maine, because the state’s residents like to build sustainably.  The state would qualify as the Sweden of the USA with 55% of its electricity coming from renewable sources – thanks to state legislation that requires it.

The construction company; Wright-Ryan Construction had been  getting a lot of inquiries about sustainable building from  local people in Maine, and wanted to teach its staff hands-on about sustainable building by building the spec home as a learning experience.

But the benefits spread to more people than anticipated:

Wright-Ryan’s subcontractors and suppliers also wound up being challenged by a first-hand look at sustainable home building in action – and changed the way their own businesses ran things.

Spec2 architecture
The first different step was to leave the site as undisturbed as practicable. Wright-Ryan cleared only enough land for construction access and to ensure good solar exposure for the roof-mounted PV array and solar hot-water system. Native grasses and ferns were used to fill in the disturbed area around the house once finished. For permanent access, Wright-Ryan put in a simple gravel driveway – the least intrusive option.

Spec3 architecture
Triple-glazed windows keep the winters toasty warm, in conjunction with the solar hot water heating from the roof that feeds sun-warmed water  into the radiant flooring system under the floors.

Spec4 architecture
The house garnered LEED ratings for its use of eco conscious materials like these locally harvested Dakota Burl cabinet faces in the kitchen cabinets, infilled with ground-up agricultural waste. The lumber and trim materials were FSC certified. The ceramic-tile flooring contains recycled glass, low-VOC finishes and caulks, and a mechanical ventilation system.

Spec5 architecture
The passive solar effects of the shades over the south facing windows keep the summer sun out, but the lower-in-the-sky winter sun in to warm the interior.

Spec11 architecture

But for true zero carbon design, the house also makes electricity on the roof, with a 2-kW, grid-tied solar PV system. A solar hot water heater, comprising three 30 tube evacuated-tube solar collectors on the other side makes hot water for the house and for the radiant flooring.

The combination of the landfill-friendly metal roof with its solar arrays, and  the more traditional style underneath turns out to be quite charming.

Source: GreenbuildingAdvisor

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One comment so far to “Spec House in Maine Gets LEED – Teaches Zero Carbon Design”
  1. Frank Hanlan Says:

    Excellent sealing the building envelope is a key factor and this house attained an incredible .12 air changes per hour (ACH) which is outstanding. In Alberta the insulation levels barely meet our very weak building code. I hope that they will be raised to R40 for the walls above grade, R20 for below grade and R60 for the attic. If you want to see a presentation on the importance of sealing the building envelope and some techniques on how to do it please go to http://www.solaralberta.ca/seminars.php and look at the presentations dated Jan. 13th or Feb. 22nd (a repeat req'd due to overflow at the first one) by Peter Amerongen of Habitat Workshop & Studio Ltd. and Adam Larson of Green Builders Ltd.

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