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Home Green Home: LEED Awards Recognize Energy-Efficient Designs

Thursday, October 6, 2011

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The winners’ circle for the U.S. Green Building Council’s 2011 LEED for Homes Awards features an impressive mix of green-building designs, ranging from Maine’s first net-zero passive house to an affordable housing development in Oregon that seamlessly combines sustainability, aesthetics and community.

 GO Home
 The GO Home in Belfast, Maine, was honored as this year’s Project of the Year.

Developers and home builders who have demonstrated leadership in the residential building marketplace were presented with the awards during the 2011 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, under way this week in Toronto.

“Healthy, high performing residential projects don't have to cost more, and that is evidenced in many of this year’s winning projects,” said Nate Kredich, USGBC vice president, residential market development.

The award categories recognize innovative multi- and single-family projects, production builders, affordable housing projects, and developers, overall commitment to LEED for Homes, and Project of the Year.

Project of the Year

A design-build collaboration of architect Matthew O’Malia and contractor Alan Gibson, GO Logic LLC, resulted in Maine’s first ever net-zero passive house, and gave the team the Project of the Year Award.

With a modest but “smart” footprint, the 1.500-square-foot GO Home in Belfast, Maine, will save 90% of the energy used by a conventional home, the organization said.

 GO Home video
 Video tour of the GO Home.

The three-bedroom LEED Platinum, Passive House-certified residence is a model home that is set to be replicated across a 36-home community in Maine, called the Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage.

According to project data published by GO Logic, the builders guarantee “no heating or hot water bill for 25 years.”

GO Home
The GO Home features polished concrete flooring.

“The GO Home is on target to revolutionize the home construction standards in North America,” O’Malia said. “This next generation of housing maximizes comfort, energy efficiency and cost while providing all the amenities of a standard home. The only thing a home owner needs to give up in this type of house is paying for heat.”

The house features eight inches of insulation under the entire structure, with a value of R-78. Blown-in cellulose insulation was installed throughout the walls (R-45) and in the ceiling (R-80), project data indicated.

A 2.8 kW solar electric array was installed on the roof as a key element in the net-zero design, the company said. Triple-glazed windows manufactured in Germany were used throughout the home.

The interior of the GO Home boasts a sustainable, locally harvested timber frame. The project documents also state that selected interior finishes were “low-VOC and environmentally friendly.”

The home’s interior also features polished concrete flooring and finished spruce flooring.

Outstanding Single-Family Project

A high-design, high-performing home in sunny Sarasota, Fla., built and designed by Josh Wynne Construction, received the award for Outstanding Single-Family Project.

Power Haus
The Power Haus in Sarasota, Fla., was built and designed by Josh Wynne Construction. 

Called Power Haus, the home “actually produces more energy than it consumes,” USGBC said. The home has achieved the lowest Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score on record in the U.S., the council added.

The sleek and modern home features passive ventilation, cooling and lighting, and employs innovative use of cutting-edge technologies.

 Power Haus
 A look inside the Power Haus.

The house was insulated using soy-based spray-foam insulation, BioBased Insulation, manufactured by Biobased Technologies of Springdale, Ark. The insulation was installed by EcoTechnologies of Sarasota, Fla., a representative of Josh Wynne Construction told Durability + Design.
Topping the home are Flexlight photovoltaic laminate panels manufactured by Advanced Green Technologies, according to project documents.

Wood used in the house was finished using low-VOC products such as Minwax Wood Finish 250 VOC Compliant™ manufactured by Minwax Company (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) and Structures Wood Care (Nisswa, Minn.) stains in NatureColor, the builder said.

The exterior stucco was finished using Sherwin-Williams’ SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex. 

Multi-Family Category

KB Home’s Primera Terra residential community, located in Playa Vista, Calif., was recognized in the Multi Family category.

In announcing the award, USGBC observed that “Special attention was given to optimizing the 52-unit building’s envelope in order to maximize performance.”

The builder controlled costs by conducting cost/value reviews, and demonstrated that a LEED Platinum project can be designed and built without a significant increase in construction costs, USGBC said.

Production Builder Category

ActiveWest Builders was recognized in the Production Builder category for its Meadow Ranch Development in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

 Meadow Ranch
Meadow Ranch Development in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (Production Builder category).

As a LEED for Neighborhood Development project, Meadow Ranch exemplifies the ideals of livable, healthy and efficient community design, USGBC said.

ActiveWest Builders designed the project with an aging population in mind. It was developed to meet the changing needs of active adults looking to downsize but maintain homeownership.

Outstanding Affordable Housing Project Award

The Juneberry Lane project, developed by Clackamas Community Land Trust, was honored with the Outstanding Affordable Housing Project award.

 Juneberry Lane
The Juneberry Lane project, developed by Clackamas Community Land Trust, was honored with the Outstanding Affordable Housing Project award.

The LEED Platinum project was built on a high-density infill property and consists of 12 subdivisions of six duplexes. The project provided permanently affordable homes for families with modest incomes in Oregon City, Ore.

Buyers are required to invest “sweat equity” in the form of landscaping and home-maintenance work, contributing to aesthetics while building a cohesive community, USGBC said.

Affordable Housing Developer Honored

Affordable housing developer New Hope Housing of Houston, Tex., was recognized for developing safe and affordable single-room occupancy (SRO) housing for adults with limited incomes.

Since 1993, New Hope Housing has developed 634 SRO units locally, improving the local community aesthetically, enhancing the health and safety of the residents, and stimulating additional development, USGBC said.

Sakowitz Community

 Photo by Bruce Glass

The Sakowitz community—the first LEED-certified affordable multifamily housing project in Texas.

In 2010, New Hope Housing made a commitment to pursuing LEED certification for all of its housing projects, and earned LEED Platinum for its 2424 Sakowitz community—the first LEED-certified affordable multifamily housing project in Texas, USGBC said.

The Sakowitz community was designed by Houston-based architect Val Glitsch.

Outstanding Program Commitment

The award for Outstanding Program Commitment was presented to the Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, based in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The housing organization branch committed to LEED certification for all of its new and rehab projects.

Habitat for Humanity
One of the LEED projects Habitat for Humanity of Kent County has completed.

Since 2007, the organization has received LEED certification for 70 projects, with an additional 90 in the pipeline as registered projects. Through partnerships with local high schools, colleges and universities, the group has built numerous LEED-certified homes that also served as learning laboratories, USGBC said.

Panel of Judges

This LEED for Homes independent panel of judges included:

• Les Blueston, president of Blue Sea Development and 2010 LEED for Homes Award winner, Affordable Housing Project;

• Daniel Clark, director of facilities and safety, Bastyr University, 2010 LEED for Homes Award winner, Multifamily Project;

• Jay DeChesere, architect and 2010 LEED for Homes Award winner, Single Family Project;

• Wendy Koch, USA TODAY reporter and editor, and “Green House” blog writer;

• Chad Ludeman, president of Postgreen Homes and winner of 2010 LEED for Homes Project of the Year;

• Tom Wade, owner of Artistic Homes and 2010 LEED for Homes Award winner, Production Builder;

• Dan Wilson, director of construction, Habitat for Humanity Sacramento and 2010 LEED for Homes Award winner, Program Commitment.

More information on LEED for Homes: usgbc.org/homes.


Tagged categories: Awards and honors; Energy efficiency; Housing; Insulation; LEED; Spray foam; Sustainability; U.S. Green Building Council

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