Boston Home to Serve as a Green Model

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Its size alone may be considered extreme by many people, but the construction of this new, 750-square-foot home in the historic Roxbury Crossing neighborhood may be thought of as extreme as well. The builder’s common sense approach of constructing an air-tight and well-insulated structure goes a step beyond conventional building techniques. 

The Pratt House project is being built to mimic the look of the original 1850 cottage that had to be torn down due to major structural issues.  Appearances may be deceiving though, as this home was built using highly-efficient strategies and materials, in the hopes of reaching net-zero energy use.

The frame is built using structural insulated panels, which are 12-inch layers of foam insulation sandwiched between two sheets of plywood.  This panel system serves as the structure, but also provides a great deal of insulation. Another inch of rigid insulation brings the wall’s r-value to 50, a much higher number than in conventionally-built homes.  Then, workers took extra care to seal any potential air leakage spots, an important step typically overlooked in traditional construction.

Solar panels will provide the home with hot water and electricity.  Efficient appliances will keep energy use low.

The builder hopes his home will serve as an example to other builders…that building efficient homes doesn’t have to be intimidating.  Using tried-and-true techniques, like the Passive House approach popular in Germany, can prove to be successful.  For example, taking advantage of heat from the sun through the use of thermal mass materials, such as the concrete floors.  The floors, along with the walls finished with a similar material, will retain heat in the winter and absorb heat from the air in summer to maintain a comfortable climate inside.

source:  CNET

Tag(s): Green Building

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