Proud Green Home at Serenbe reflects green building themes (Part 2)

Proud Green Home at Serenbe reflects green building themes (Part 2)

The net-zero high-performance Proud Green Home at Serenbe was designed to showcase nine themes of sustainable building and living. Here is the second set of three of those themes that are also on display at the Proud Green Home at Serenbe in the Serenbe community southwest of Atlanta. The Proud Green Home at Serenbe officially opens Aug. 16-17, 2013.

Read Part 1

Read Part 3

[Everything affects everything]

Everything affects everything

Consider grapes, wine, soil, and the sun. Individually, they're nothing unique. Put them together in the right way you have a robust red or a refreshing white.

A high-performance home is much the same. It's a collection of wood, fasteners, shingles, insulation, and other products. But select the best parts, and put them together in a deliberate, disciplined way and you have something very special.

Good home design is more than a collection of building products. It starts with a holistic approach and the knowledge of how systems affect other systems.

If you make the home very air tight, you'll need to allow for ventilation. But you can also use a smaller furnace and air conditioner, saving money and utility costs. Along with energy-efficient appliances, smaller heating and cooling requirements make solar power a viable option.

A home should be designed for the best performance from the ground up. For the Proud Green Home at Serenbe, performance began with looking at how the home would interact with the sun. Literally from the foundation to the roof, every system was designed to contribute to the house as a whole.

A wise man said, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." See the truth of that all around you.


MPG for homes

With gas prices on the rise, one of the first things you look for in a new car is the MPG rating. Wouldn't it be great if there were an MPG rating for homes?

Now there is.

It's called the HERS Index. HERS is an acronym for Home Energy Rating System from the Residential Energy Services Network. Based on a thorough test by a certified rater, the HERS index compares an individual home to the same home built only to meet the current code.

HERS Index scale 
Existing Homes:130 (30% less efficient than a home built to meet current code)
Standard New home:100
High Performance Home:70 (30% more efficient than a home built to meet current code)
Zero-Energy Home:       0 (the home produces as much energy as it uses)
The Proud Green Home at Serenbe:


-2 How can this home score below zero? Because it is designed to produce more energy than it uses.

(The projected -2 HERS index is for the typical use of the average family.  Actual results may vary due to homeowners' behavior)

With low power demands from efficient appliances and use of building science best practices, the home should use much less power, be more comfortable, healthy, and durable than a standard home. The solar panels on the roof generate more electricity than the homeowners are likely to use over the course of a year. Imagine… the power company could pay you!

[The perfect wall]

The perfect wall

A home is defined by it walls, roof and floors. The attributes of the materials of these surfaces, how they are constructed and integrated is what counts most.

This house boasts "a perfect wall" assembly at each of these components to provides a continuous barrier to control unwanted moisture, heat and air.

It started with the concrete slab foundation. It's insulated at its edges to keep heat where it belongs, inside during the winter, and outside during the summer. It's also integrated into the wall system for a seamless transition to help eliminate air leakage.

The 2x6-inch, 24-inch on-center wood framing is clad in insulated sheathing with a weather-resistant barrier, sealed with tape rather than caulk. It's wrapped in ventilated rain screen and topped by durable lap siding, corrugated metal siding or brick.

Within the cavities of the walls and roof, spray-foam insulation provides increased comfort and reduced air leakage for maximum energy performance. Traditional wallboard is applied to the inside, and provides a base for low-VOC paint finishes.

The goal is to keep the outside out and the inside in, and weather away from the inside. The “perfect wall” assembly gives water a place to drain away from the building so that it won't cause damage. Insulation and tight air sealing prevent unwanted heat and air from entering the home.

A perfect wall makes for a perfectly comfortable, durable, high-performance home.

Read more about the Proud Green Home at Serenbe.

Topics: Energy Audits, Foundations, Proud Green Home at Serenbe, Sustainable Communities

Companies:, Southface Energy Institute, Kohler, BASF Corporation, PPG Pittsburgh Paints, Kleendeck, LLC, Serenbe Sustainable Community, LG Squared, Inc., The Imery Group, Benjamin Obdyke, Zehnder America, SmartBIM, Huber Engineered Woods, Wood-Mode, Inc.

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