The Cascadia Region Green Building Council has issued a challenge for architects, engineers, and design professionals to build to a higher set of environmental standards. It’s called the Living Building Challenge and it requires that buildings generate their own energy from renewable resources, capture and treat all water on site, and use resources efficiently and for maximum beauty.
The Moon brothers in Portland, Oregon, are up to the challenge and are deconstructing and rebuilding such a home and on a modest budget of $200,000. The existing 880 sq ft house is in dire need of renovating, but has a fundamental design flaw that won’t allow it to use solar energy. So the brothers will be deconstructing, recycling, and reusing materials from the old house while demolishing the entire structure.
The new building envelope will be constructed of insulated concrete forms (see my earlier post about ICF’s) and clad in long-lasting, durable fiber cement paneling. The expanded polystyrene panels (EPS) will be removed from the interior of the ICFs once the concrete has cured to take advantage of the concrete wall’s high thermal mass (see my earlier post about thermal mass). The EPS will then be reused and added to the exterior EPS panels.
A greenhouse will be incorporated into the house to absorb heat from the sun which can be shared with the rest of the house and also to supply the homeowners with fresh vegetables.
Other sustainable features include: daylighting strategies, photovoltaics to generate electricity, composting toilets, energy-efficient windows, highly efficient appliances, an energy-efficient heat recovery ventilator (HRV), a solar hot water heater, a central vacuum system, a cistern to capture rainwater and a green roof. Needless to say, the brothers will be doing most of the work themselves to conserve funds.
Check out the Moon brothers’ detailed plans for “The Commons” here.