Building science behind the Proud Green Home of St. Louis
The development of the Proud Green Home of St. Louis highlights just how far green building science has advanced.
What would have been considered cutting edge a few years ago is now common building practice, according to Matt Belcher, a principal with Verdatek Solutions, a green building consulting firm, and director of the High Performance Buildings Research Center, part of the Midwest Energy Efficiency Research Consortium at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
"Some of the things we are doing were on the cutting edge maybe five years ago, but now with the expansion and competition in the market, it's becoming more the norm, which is a great thing for everybody."
The Proud Green Home at St. Louis is a green and sustainable building demonstration home. ProudGreenHome.com partnered with Hibbs Homes, Verdatek Solutions LLC and the HighPerformance Buildings Research Center, to build the five-bedroom, 3,700 square-foot, Prairie-style home. It will be used for educational purposes by students from the University of Missouri and the High Performance Buildings Research Center and energy performance will be monitored even after the homeowners move in.
Designed by architect Curtiss W. Byrne, the home in Wildwood, Missouri, is expected to meet a number of prominent green building standards, including:
- Energy Star for Homes
- National Green Building Standard from the National Association of Homebuilders
- DOE Zero Net Ready home
- EPA Indoor airPlus
- EPA WaterSense
The home will be verified by ASER USA, a third-party energy certification consultant.
From the start, the goal is to build a home that's very air tight.
"We have a complete focus on the conditioned envelope using a combination of insulations and sealants," said builder Kim Hibbs.
From the ground up, the home was designed with efficiency in mind.
"It uses simple daylight to enhance space and comfort, and we focused on the design and low maintenance to enhance the cost effectiveness of the home," Hibbs said.
The fact the home lies in Tornado Alley and on the New Madrid fault zone played a role in the concept as well.
"Included with this home is a safe room and through engineered design takes wind and seismic construction into consideration," Hibbs said.
One of the main focuses of the home is indoor air quality due to the sensitivities of the children that will be living in the home. The family researched building products and techniques that wouldn't aggravate sensitivities to air pollutants.
Green building features of the home include:
- Factory-built wall systems with sheathing and trusses.
- Raised heel energy trusses for better attic insulation
- Advanced framing intersection of interior wall and exterior wall.
- Advanced framing insulated headers, use 2 ½ inch rigid foam insulation on either side of header framing, with 2, 2x6 top plates.
- Advanced 2x6 frame on 24-inch on center with three stud corners
- Continuous air barrier from foundation to roof
- Rim joist caulked or gasketed to still plate.
- Subfloor, bottom plate, drywall, caulked glued or gasketed to next piece.
- Electrical boxes caulked, glued or gasketed at wire penetrations and holes.
- Ceiling drywall taped to wall drywall.
- Drywall as continuous air barrier in ceiling.
- Attic R-38 blown-in insulation.
- R-19 batt in walls or closed cell spray foam.
- Passive radon vent
- Insulated R-10 foundation slab
- Insulated R-13 basement walls
- Windows: Marvin Integrity, Low-E glass, Argon filled U factor .29
- Therma Tru insulated doors
- Roof: Durable standing seam metal
- Exterior: Stone veneer, brick & fiber cement siding
- Geothermal heating and cooling
- Ductwork in conditioned space and sealed with mastic
- WaterSense compliant fixtures
The factory built trusses and wall panels, with Huber Zip System sheathing attached on the walls, greatly reduced on-site waste during framing. The only waste was roof sheathing, and because the sheathing was made with non-toxic epoxy, scraps were collected on site and were later ground into landscaping mulch, Belcher said.
Read more about the Proud Green Home of St. Louis.
Topics: Building Green, Certification / LEED, Energy Audits, Energy Star, Going Green, Home Design & Plans, Indoor Air Quality, Paint | Low VOC and No VOC, Proud Green Home of St. Louis, Sustainability Trends & Statistics, Sustainable Communities, Ventilation, Water Saving Devices, WaterSense