Friday, August 29, 2008

Green Home Specifications - Sustainable Design and Green Building Materials

Our clients, Pat and Andy Beres (see previous blog), met Green Architect Jeremy Bonin at a timber frame home show and brought him their plans to build a vacation home on their property in Maine. Here is an example of how Jeremy took into consideration Pat and Andy’s ideas, wants, and needs for a green home and translated them into an energy efficient home plan that not only matches their property and location, but defines their lifestyle.

Beres’ green home priorities:
Small footprint to minimize carbon footprint
Energy efficiency in all four New England seasons
Environmentally conscious to minimize site impact
Low maintenance and durability, easy to open and close up
Security in rural setting
Take advantage of lake views
Possible addition in future

Jeremy translated these ideas into an energy efficient home plan and presented it to Pat and Andy. Here is a list of the sustainable design considerations he incorporated, as well as the energy efficient building materials to match their requirements for energy efficiency:

Sustainable design considerations:
· Passive solar design, with the first floor receiving the low winter sun (early morning and late evening sun) under the varied depth of the porch roof. The second floor, with a moderate roof overhang, will always have abundant natural light.

· The east, south, and west elevations have windows for natural cross ventilation. A cupola was added to allow for heat release in summer as well as aesthetics.
· Keeping in mind the clients’ plans to possibly build an addition in the future, Jeremy designed the north side of the building, which is the most buildable side of the property, to be easily expanded. The first floor laundry includes a storage bench under a window, both of which can be easily removed and become a doorway into a future addition.
· An open central stairway eliminates the need for hallways which keeps the footprint of the home to a minimum, as well as increasing circulation and natural light between the floors.
· A natural color palette of browns and greens was chosen for the exterior of the home, blending it with the rugged Maine environment.

Energy efficient building materials for this green home:
· Board and batten and red cedar shingles for low maintenance and are aesthetically appropriate with the property
· Standing seam metal roof for energy efficiency and eliminating snow and ice buildup
· Possible use of structural insulated panels

· Energy efficient windows

Building a green home doesn’t need to be complicated. Start off on the right foot by hiring an architect who will outline sustainable options for your green home and then work with you to design a home that fits your site, your lifestyle, and your budget. The result will be enjoying a healthy, energy efficient home and at the same time protecting the environment.

If you’re looking for some reading material to help you get your ideas together on what you want in a green home, check out Jeremy’s book, TIMBER FRAMES: Designing Your Custom Home. Jeremy leads you through an examination of your lifestyle and provides exercises to help you define your wants, needs, and priorities in your green home. If you are not interested in building a timber frame home, a hybrid home combining timber framing and conventional material may suit your needs for a green home. The exercises and sustainable design advice in Jeremy's book apply to any building methods.

Read more about the Beres' energy efficient home.

Jackie Lampiasi, Marketing Director
Bonin Architects & Associates, PLLC

No comments: