Energy Efficient Home

Did we mention that our goal with Tandem House is to make it an energy efficient home? We are betting that home market preferences are shifting more towards environmentally sound building practices versus traditional building code standards. Our goal is to earn certification under the LEED for Homes Rating System which will ensure the highest home performance without sacrificing comfort or cost and providing a healthy living environment.

LEED for homes requires that you achieve a given number of point-based credits within the rating system that addresses green building standards throughout the life cycle of design and construction of the home. There are four levels of certification based on the number of point credits earned (Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum) which we aim to earn the Platinum Certificate. Point credits are earned pertaining to specific categories include:

  • The homes location and access to transportation
  • The sustainability of the site (i.e. using non-invasive plant species and reducing the heat island effect)
  • Maximizing the home’s water efficiency (reducing the amount of indoor and outdoor water use)
  • Creating efficient and energy consumption and a healthy atmosphere (i.e. active solar ready design, reducing energy consumption and envelope insulation, etc.)
  • Carefully choosing building materials
  • Upholding indoor environmental quality
  • Innovating sustainable design strategies

In order to earn the LEED certification, we are required to have two home inspections by a LEED Green Rater that include a thermal bypass inspection and a final inspection. We have had an initial consultation with a LEED for Homes consultant located in Denver called Green Spot Real Estate who will eventually be able to provide our inspections and certify the home.

Recently, in order to address the Materials and Resources-Construction Waste Management LEED Credit we reclaimed wood floors from a neighbor’s home that they were getting ready to demolish and build new. It was a neat experience to be a part of a neighbor’s effort to prevent waste going to the landfill but also to support our effort to reuse and recycle construction material.

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While the house will not be a certified passive home by PHIUS, it will likely achieve similar performance. Passive House certified homes must prove to follow five building science principles:

  • Employ continuous insulation
  • Create an extremely airtight building envelope–preventing outside air and loss of conditioned air
  • Utilize high-performance windows
  • Use balanced energy ventilation
  • Create Solar Gain to maximize the sun’s generated energy

Just this week we sent house plans to a company that makes Structural Insulated Panels, or SIPs to get cost estimates. We plan to use these fabricated panels that consist of an insulated core sandwiched between oriented strand board (OSB) to construct the walls and roof of the Tandem House.


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