“FundMyRemodel.com” Green Homes: Tuscon Home Harvests Rain Water, Uses Runoff From Showers, Laundry And Sinks For Irrigation And Has A 3.2-Kilowatt-Hour Solar Panel System

10 09 2010

“…the home should become the first in Tucson to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certified platinum rating, said Rich Franz-Ünder, Pima County’s green building program manager. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design…”

A north-side home, built by a father-and-son team, is slated to be the first in Southern Arizona to receive the highest rating for energy efficiency given by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The first house in Southern Arizona likely to receive the highest rating, LEED certified platinum, for energy efficiency. Photo courtesy of NICOLE BRULÉ-FISHER

The house at 1240 E. Blacklidge harvests rain water, uses runoff from showers, laundry and dishes to irrigate desert landscaping, and has a 3.2-kilowatt-hour solar panel system.

Of course, the first thing a meticulous, eco-friendly homebuyer may notice when walking up to the house is the fountain bubbling in the front yard. Fountains use power and lose water through evaporation.

But Drew Lutz, who built the house with his father, David, said the two balanced the energy cost of each component with the comfort it may provide. Someone, after all, is going to live there. The fountain adds aesthetic appeal and drowns out the street noise from nearby Mountain Avenue, he said.

“The biggest thing is compromise,” Drew Lutz said. The ultimate aim is to sell the house and make a profit.

The 2,000-square-foot house – listed at $440,000 – is no doubt a higher-end product. It has glossy, scored concrete floors, bamboo cabinets and large insulated windows. It’s surrounded by corrugated metal fencing accented with caged rock pillars. Drew Lutz said he and his father, who together make up Lutz Construction, wanted to incorporate a new look into Tucson’s traditional feel.

“I feel like Tucson is lacking in modern design,” he said.

In the coming weeks, the home should become the first in Tucson to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certified platinum rating, said Rich Franz-Ünder, Pima County’s green building program manager. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

For more:   http://azstarnet.com/real-estate/article_bff9ecfa-469f-55f3-a6b1-24043fb4f3f0.html

Award-Winning Green Homes: “The Sage” Is A Small, Ultra-Sustainable Demonstration Home In Eugene, Oregon (Video)

27 08 2010

Due to popular demand, we have combined all twenty videos into two segments of ten episodes each. This segment highlights the first 10 episodes.

Project Details

The Sage, Eugene, Ore. | Size: 1,447 square feet | Cost: $206 per square foot | Completed: June 2009 | Certification: LEED-Platinum | HERS Rating: 23 | Architect: Arbor South Architecture, Eugene | Builder: Arbor South Construction, Eugene | Verifier: Earth Advantage, Portland, Ore.

Green Highlights
Energy: R-32 and R-45 open-cell Demilec Agribalance spray-foam insulation / 2.1-kW solar system and solar hot water / U-0.27 Weathervane Vantage low-E windows with argon fill / CertainTeed Landmark Solaris solar-reflective asphalt roofing / Trane 16-SEER high-efficiency heat pump / high-efficiency fluorescent and LED lighting / KitchenAid Energy Star appliances / prewiring for electric vehicles | Resources: high fly-ash concrete foundation / locally produced lumber and floor joists / FSC-certified oak cabinets / Pioneer Millworks reclaimed wood flooring / Sustainable Flooring cork flooring | IAQ: zero-VOC paint / low-VOC floor finishes / Trane HRV | Water: drought-resistant xeriscaping / rainwater collection / Danze low-flow faucets and showerheads / Kohler dual-flush toilets

Green Homes Profile: Maryland Home Boasts 69 “Eco-Friendly And Energy-Efficient” Features That Made It “Maryland’s 2009 Green Home of the Year”

22 08 2010

“The purpose of this (green) house is that it doesn’t look different from any other house.”

Emerson Eco-Model home in Maryland.

The “bones” of the home help reduce energy costs.



  •  Some parts, like walls, floor joists and roof trusses were pre-built in a factory, reducing waste.
  • On site, the first floor headers and heels were raised, allowing the placement of additional insulation around the windows.
  • South-facing windows in the home are Pella Sun Defense styles with extra sheer, bronze-colored glazing and insulation to reduce the sun’s glare and heat. Mike joked,

“These windows are like putting on a heavy pair of sunglasses. They cut down on the sun’s UV rays.”

  • Within the home’s exterior and interior walls, NCFI open cell foam insulation has been sprayed, filling up the cavities to cut down on energy loss and air leaks.
  • Throughout the house the floors were either pre-finished bamboo or cork, both renewable resources. The bamboo flooring was manufactured with “low VOC” (volatile organic compounds) adhesives.
  • Nearly every wall was painted or papered using low VOC materials; one bedroom featured walls painted with “no VOC” paint. “These McCormick paints finish off-gassing in three or four days,” he said.
  • Bathrooms have dual flush toilets. Depending upon what was put in the toilet, a user could choose a 1.1-gallon or 1.6-gallon flush.

 “For a family of four, this feature can save 4,000 gallons of water every year,” Mike said.

  • Throughout the house, low flow faucets and shower heads were installed using 20 percent less water than regular faucets and showers, with similar results.
  • The bathrooms boast attractive tiles made with recycled content. “They’re nice!” he said. “You’re not giving anything up here.
  • ” One bathroom featured an Eco-Stone countertop made of 75 percent recycled content.
  • All the bathroom fans had multiple-choice timer settings.
  • Talk of low and no VOC materials continued into the kitchen, where the locally-sourced cabinetry has no added urea formaldehyde.
  • The brushed stainless steel Energy Star refrigerator and freezer duo looked huge. “They’re oversized to encourage homeowners to get rid of the old fridge in the garage that’s draining electricity because it is old and inefficient,” said Mike.
  • The home’s Energy Star refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher and washing machine can reduce water and energy costs 25 percent over regular appliances.
  • One wall held a GE Ecomagination Home Management System. Touching the small screen, a homeowner can check on the home’s water and electricity consumption and costs-to-date.
  • A plate on a second wall held a lighting control system.
  • Mike was eager to talk about the tankless hot water heater, the manifold plumbing system and the cross-linked red and blue polyethylene pipes in the basement, along with the basement’s pre-cast, nine-foot high walls.
  • He made sure we saw the Velux sun tunnel, a flexible domed tunnel skylight. Up on the second floor, it casts a sunny glow. And, we looked at every eco-friendly nook and cranny inside.

“A lot of things in this house I have in my own home,” he said. “I’m a member National Association of Home Builders 20 Club in this area. I learned from the other members and went through courses. Much of what Baldwin Homes was doing in our higher quality homes is already ‘green.’ As I became a better builder, I became a greener builder.”

For more:   http://www.hometownannapolis.com/news/hom/2010/08/21-16/Eco-friendly-can-be-green-and-gorgeous.html

Home Energy Efficiency Renovation: Installing A “Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System Can Cost Only 10-20% Of Total Expense After Tax Credits And Savings (Video)

21 08 2010

As the world focuses more and more on global warming and carbon emissions, homeowners are left wondering how to best do their part to help. Beyond just making your home more energy efficient, there is another step that is becoming more and more popular — solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

A PV system is a series of panels mounted on the roof of your home. These panels convert sunlight directly into electricity with no moving parts, no fuel, and no pollution. Is a solar PV system right for you? GreenHomes can help you decide by examining the pros and cons.

The biggest negative is that PV systems are somewhat expensive — an average of $20,000 to $30,000. Fortunately, federal and state government incentives and tax credits have been established to help pay up to 40% of your PV system, and more legislation is being passed every year to continue to increase this amount.

The benefits of solar are many and tend to outweigh the negative. Financially, solar systems provide several short and long term advantages: * You produce electricity, so you do not have to pay power companies * Once you pay off your system, the electricity you produce is yours, free of charge * If electricity prices rise more than expected, your system cost stays the same, increasing your return on investment and saving you even more * A solar system adds value to your home — for every dollar you spend to improve the efficiency of your home, the home’s value increases by $20 or more * Some insurance companies are starting to offer discounts on premiums for customers with solar

However, even more impressive are the environmental benefits: * Solar power leaves the air as it is, contributing no radiation, carbon, or other air pollutants, as does burning coal, gas, or oil, or nuclear * Solar can help fight global warming and reduce the need to build new power plants (most people don’t realize more than 50% of U.S. electricity is produced by burning coal!) * Solar produces no noise or waste in its production * Solar does not use a lot of land, since it is usually mounted on top of buildings * The solar fuel supply is unlimited — the sunshine will not diminish its supply by using it, unlike the fuels that supply 98% of the electricity you buy

To magnify the benefits of a solar PV system, the first thing you should do is figure out how to reduce your energy use. The more efficient your home, the smaller PV system you will need. Call an experienced contractor like GreenHomes to get a complete home energy assessment — they will provide you with an honest set of recommendations.

So, the bottom line is, if you want to watch your utility meter spin backwards, protect the environment, or just be more energy independent, solar PV just may be right for you!

For more information on Solar PV and Home Energy Audits go to: http://www.greenhomesamerica.com/sola…

“Fund My Remodel” Asks: What Questions Need To Be Answered Before I Buy “Green Building Products”?

20 08 2010

 “…While the industry has made real progress in providing us with green products and backing up their performance claims, product selection will continue to be one of the most critical challenges you will face in meeting your green missions…”

Here are the first 12 questions you should ask about any green building product you’re evaluating—before you make your selection:

  1. How will it perform its basic function as a building material or product?
  2. How does it compare with products I use now?
  3. Is it code approved? 
  4. Is it third-party certified? 
  5. Will it contribute toward project certification? 
  6. Is it available? 
  7. How will it affect my pricing? 
  8. Will it increase my level of risk or liability? 
  9. How will it improve the level of performance of my homes? 
  10. How will it contribute toward sustainability? 
  11. Will it require new sequencing or installation skills/trades? 
  12. Is it worth the investment for the benefits?

For more:  http://www.ecohomemagazine.com/news/2010/08/12-questions-to-ask-before-choosing-a-green-building-product.aspx

Renewable Energy In California: NPR Airs “Big Solar Struggles To Find Home In California” (Audio)

20 08 2010

CLICK ON RADIO TO HEAR "Big Solar' Struggles To Find Home In California"

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has set an ambitious plan that requires a third of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020. But a fight over where to build large clean-energy projects is slowing the green revolution.

For more:  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129129794

Green Homes On National TV: “Building Green TV” Shows Homeowners How Easy It Is To “Go Green” (Video)

19 08 2010

Building Green is a labor of passion. Producer and host Kevin Contreras is as fiercely committed to building awareness as he is to building houses, which is why he and other like-minded individuals are now developing media to do just that.

Building Green TV’s mission is to provide homeowners with a glimpse of just how easy, cost-effective and healthy it is to go green, while dispelling the myth that an environmentally conscious lifestyle means doing without.

Through our nationally-aired TV series, Kevin takes viewers on a highly personal journey, showing them exactly what it’s like for an “ordinary guy” to make the commitment to go green.

On our website, buildinggreentv.com, we provide detailed how-to information and connect readers with resources. As fans of the social network, we also offer readers a place to share their own stories and tips, and to interact directly with Kevin himself and an ever-growing roster of self-taught green building mavens and experts alike.

Filming Green

Filming a television show is a process with a lot of moving parts, but we make every effort to film green. Here are a few of the ways we incorporate the “reduce, reuse, recycle” ethic into our workdays:

  • Many employees are located in home offices all over the country
  • Production vehicle runs on straight veggie oil
  • Recycling bins are everywhere
  • The production office is lit by natural light with solar electric and heating
  • Rechargeable batteries are used for all equipment
  • Lunches are made communal style, to eliminate trash from brought in food
  • When traveling, the crew carries lunch pails, utensils and stainless liquid containers to avoid paper or plastic products
  • Recycled and compostable paper products and biobags are used when necessary
  • We consolidated travel involving sales, shooting for season one, and other seasons every trip
  • We hire local crews to eliminate transportation.

“Green Homes Of The Future”: Architects Design Optimum “Home Envelopes” To Maximize Light Transmittance While Minimizing Heat Loss Or Gain

19 08 2010

The house is clad in a Distributed Responsive System of Skins prototype that includes deployable exterior shades over quadruple-glazed IGUs and a series of building-integrated photovoltaic panels that generate electricity. The skin allows maximum light transmittance while retaining heat for passive heating in the winter months, and the shades can be deployed to reduce heat gain during the summer. Architect Magazine August 2010 Issue.


To optimize the house's interior, the team designed a custom ceiling treatment with 4,500 individually formed cells made from window-shade material. The cells both reduce sound reflectivity and pick up natural light at the perimeter, helping to project and diffuse it further into the floor plate. Phase-changing materials in the floor store heat from the sun's rays and radiate it out during cold winter nights, an energy savings that can be tracked on the integrated touchscreens. Making the most of the small floor plan is a deployable bed, which can be retracted into the ceiling when not in use. Architect Magazine.

For more:  http://www.architectmagazine.com/green-design/2010-rd-awards-north-house-responsive-envelope-prototyping.aspx

“Fund My Green Remodel”: The Key To Understanding What A “Green Home” Represents Is “Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency And Indoor-Air Quality”

11 08 2010

The key, he says, is to understand what green really means. Most people believe green means energy efficiency, he says, but that's just one part of a three-prong strategy that also involves water efficiency and indoor-air quality.


Step 1: Hire an energy specialist to test your home for leaks – in air-conditioning ducts, windows, walls, the attic. The tech will use a blower, a computer and other equipment to test how “tight” your home’s envelope is – mainly the walls and roof – and recommend repairs and upgrades. A company like REEis in Scottsdale will do this kind of envelope test and give your home a score. Once you seal your ducts (ask your electric utility if you qualify for a rebate on the job), caulk the windows, repair attic insulation and make other improvements, you can have the test again to learn how much better the home is performing.

In fact, you can waste a lot of money on expensive new products like super-efficient windows, solar panels or a new air-conditioning system if you don’t tend to the envelope first. Even the most efficient products won’t make you more comfortable or cut your energy bills if you install them in a house that’s leaking cool (or heated) air.

Step 2: Once your home’s envelope is performing as it should, you can make a plan to replace older, energy-inefficient items as you can afford them. Examples: Trade single-pane windows for double-pane versions; switch all of the incandescent lightbulbs in the house to compact fluorescent lights or even LEDs, choose new kitchen appliances that are Energy Star-rated, and maybe plant a shade tree or two outside a west-facing window with high exposure to the sun.

Step 3: Invest in plumbing fixtures that make water savings automatic. If your toilets are the ancient models that swallow 5 gallons of water with every flush, buy low-water versions that use 1.6 gallons or less. The Environmental Protection Agency has a new WaterSense designation for faucets, showerheads and even lawn-watering fixtures that use less and waste less.

Step 4: Properly ventilating bathrooms and kitchens can help your whole family breathe easier. And choosing less-toxic versions of paints, carpets and other materials can go a long way to improving your home’s indoor-air quality.

Step 5: Use your new green features in an efficient way. Don’t screw an incandescent lightbulb into a fixture designed for use with a more-efficient CFL. Don’t continually override the automatic set-back on your programmable thermostat to make your home cooler just as you’re leaving the house. Let your new products do their job – which is to create comfort and energy savings.

For more:   http://www.azcentral.com/style/hfe/decor/articles/2010/08/10/20100810leed-green-home-tips-rosie-romero.html

Green Homes Of The Future: “Energy-Independent” Homes Will Be “Fossil-Fuel Free” With Solar-Powered Roofs And Ground Source Heat Exchangers And Will Be Constructed With Environmentally Regenerative Materials (Video)

10 08 2010

What will smart homes look like in the future? Venture capitalist Paul Holland and his wife Linda Yates are in the throes of construction on the greenest home in the United States. They’re using environmentally regenerative materials such as FSC certified woods and recycled steel for the structure. And the house will be fossil fuel free, with 21 kilowatts of solar power on the roof, and ground source heat exchangers powering the utilities.