Campton Sustainability at Home Innovations: Integrated Design Process - Homes Across America Search Return

Campton Sustainability at Home




Goals of Innovation: To achieve a sustainable, comfortable and healthy home using practical applications of building science and available products.

Description: The guiding principles for the design and construction of the home evolved over a period of several years. The following tenets drove the design and construction process:

- Energy Efficiency

- Tight Building Envelope

- Use of Renewable Energy (Solar)

- Passive Solar Orientation for Heating

- Passive Shading and Cooling Devices

- Use of Reclaimed Materials

- Low Maintenance and Material Longevity

- Reduced Water Consumption

- Home Integrated Into Landscape

- Adequate Fresh Air Exchange

- Product Life Cycle (manufacturing to disposal)

- Total Project Cost To Be Similar to 'Normal' Construction.

Obstacles: At times it was necessary to deviate from the above principles due to budget, aesthetics, or product sourcing problems. There were often tradeoffs between items that might take a fair amount of energy to manufacture (i.e., aluminum) yet they were items that could be easily recycled at the end of the product lifecycle. There were also times when it became difficult or impossible to determine a product's 'green' status due to lack of time to follow up or lack of information from a vendor.

Ideally the project would have used certified, sustainable lumber for the framing, as well as OSB I-Joists or rim joists for the exterior wall framing. Certified, sustainable framing lumber was not available in the Plymouth, NH area based upon some investigation. Additionally, while using OSB I-Joists for the exterior wall framing would have increased the R-value of the walls as well as reduced the use of virgin timber considerably; it would have been prohibitively expensive. This product might be better used in commercial construction where there are not as many windows or cutouts in the framing.

Cost Information: Each product used in the home was evaluated using a lifecycle methodology. Everything was considered from the embodied energy required to manufacture and transport the product to what happens upon disposal. The homeowners ran energy models to determine payback of the extra insulation and the hot water panels. It was determined that photovoltaic (PV) panels for electricity generation made less sense than trying to minimize electric loads first. Hopefully, there will be a PV intertie system installed in the next five to ten years.

Additional Benefits/Drawbacks: A discussion of environmental impacts of building construction and methods to achieve sustainable building is found at the Whole Building Design Guide Website.

A discussion of Integrated Design is found in Environmental Building News, November 2004 issue (Volume 13, Number 11) located at http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2004/11/1/Integrated-Design/.

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