Before the excavation process started on the property I chose to build the home to the National Green Building Standards, NGBS. By doing this we had guidelines to follow from the start.
We had purchased a piece of land in an existing development where the homes were built in 2003. We were lucky enough to find a great lot that positioned the home perfectly to allow space for everything we were looking to incorporate. This includes a vertical closed loop geothermal system, ground mounted solar PV, rain barrel collectors, and landscaping that can utilize the resources that we had right there on our eleven acre property.
As I went through the NGBS process I was able to pick the items most important in building what we wanted for a home. I feel the key to building a Green Dream Home is not to give up what you want in the home just for the sake of it gaining points in a building program. We put everything in the home we wanted but did quite a bit of research to find local and sustainable products that still gave us the look we wanted. In the end the home had HERS rating of 35 and obtained an Emerald status in the NGBS. It is most important to seal all infiltration, which means cocking the studs as you go along and insulating well.
Some of the major items we added to the home to raise our level in the NGBS were;
excavating property to set aside resources for future use
waterproof foundation with rubberized sealant
building radon venting under basement slab
insulating exterior with SIS (Structural Insulated Sheathing)
using blown-in natural insulation on interior which is an environmentally friendly product
using all low, or zero, VOC products for paint and stain
building grates into decking to minimize dirt in house
50 year warranty on roof and fiber cement siding
rain barrel collectors to water seasonal flower gardens
Above: Blown-in Cellulose R-25 Above: Insulated Sheathing R-5
Below: Radon venting placed under Below: Rubberized foundation
concrete pour in basement floor walls to prevent any leakage
Below: Seamless Gutters installed by New London Seamless gutters and rain barrel collector that the gutters drain into to conserve water for flower garden beds.