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Over the next few months, Rob Moody of Green Building Advisor will be following an infill project in Asheville, North Carolina, USA. It’s an 842-square-foot house, following the Passive House Institute standards. Before beginning, the homeowner sought information from the US Passive House Institute in Urbana, Ill., which provided the team with energy modeling, insulation strategies, and HVAC sizing. With the Institute's info and further modeling, the team concluded that this particular design would be cooling driven—there will be more traditional energy used for cooling the home than for heating it. To keep the heating load as low as possible, the team implemented such strategies as airtight construction, superinsulation, passive solar design, and the use of custom glazing on the south side of the home.
Here’s a list of green features that the team has incorporated or will incorporate on the remainder of the project:
* The home has a small footprint, which minimizes land disruption and material use (the lot is .10 acres!).
* The structure holds a trim 842 square feet of living space.
* The marginal infill lot was unattractive to most, but the owner saw a diamond in the rough. The site has a stream on the south end and a sewer easement on the north end, limiting the potential building area. But the owner’s needs and the creativity of the team took the opportunity to put an interesting home on an interesting lot. The home makes use of the entire buildable area of the lot.
* The owner opted for a combination of triple-glazed windows, some with a low solar heat gain coefficient (SGHC), some with a relatively high SGHC.
* Exterior walls are 2x8 construction, 24 in. o.c. The cavities will be filled with blown cellulose, with 3 inches of rigid insulation on the exterior installed perpendicular to the studs.
* A rainscreen siding system was utilized, and the exterior finish will be corten steel panels attached to 1x4 furring strips.
* They used a high-performance weather barrier and drainage plane, VaproShield.
* A mini-split will be used to condition the home.
* They will be using a high-efficiency tanked water heater.
* Passive solar design utilizes large south-facing windows and limited north, east, and west glazing. South-side overhangs were properly sized.
* The 16-in. roof and floor TJI joists will be filled with insulation.
* An energy recovery ventilator will provide fresh air, pressure balancing, and preconditioning.