8/11/2015

Lubberland’s Edge Dream Home Contains Dynamic Energy Efficiency Features Under One Roof

When Norbert and Robin were envisioning a retirement home, they aspired to live in a high-performance home, powered by renewable energy. This would help protect them from unpredictable energy costs in the future. Their retirement dream home is now being built, thanks to FUTURO Construction, and contains numerous innovative green building features.

They decided to build a new 1,900 square foot home to the Passive House standard in Newmarket, New Hampshire, overlooking Lubberland Creek. New homes built to the Passive House standard use 90% less energy for heating and cooling than a typical code-built home, and renewable sources will provide the modest energy needed by the home. With a dynamic combination of European technologies, the home will achieve excellent levels of energy efficiency, with exceptional comfort and indoor air quality.

Where a neighbor spends a $1 on energy, Norbert and Robin will use a mere $.10, generated by solar energy. This is made possible by generous amounts of insulation, a solar orientation to capture heat from the sun, overhangs to shade the home from the summer sun, efficient LED lighting, and a geothermal system to preheat incoming air.  The home has an intelligent ventilation system that allows both high indoor air quality and energy efficiency.

Zehnder Energy Recovery Ventilation, ComfoFond L eco in combination with ComfoAir 550 system recycles heat in the winter and helps eliminate the need for an air conditioning system in the summer.  A constant stream of fresh filtered air is provided to the bedrooms, living room, pantry, and office. Stale air is removed from the bathrooms, kitchen, water closet, and mud room. The energy recovery ventilation system was seamlessly integrated with the home and automatically adjusts depending on conditions.

Heat and coolness are recycled from the exhaust air to the intake air to promote comfort and efficiency. This means that precious cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter isn’t vented out of the home. The ventilation system also has the ability to adjust the moisture level in the home, which is especially helpful during humid summer days and dry winter weather.  The system only requires two penetrations to the building envelope, helping the home to be virtually airtight for optimum energy efficiency.

“It’s a really special thing we are building here,” explains Norbert.  “There isn’t another project with an equal combination of features in our area.”

In a home with air sealing – an energy recovery ventilation system or heat recovery ventilation system is essential for maintaining indoor air quality. Without one, excessive humidity would get trapped in the home, causing mold growth and the home would overheat in the summer. Odors and fumes would be trapped inside, causing indoor air quality issues. Zehnder ventilation systems promote occupant health by maintaining indoor air quality and can even remove common allergens, including dust, mold, and pollen, when a fine filter is used.

When designing their new home, Norbert and Robin were also diligent about the building materials, to make the home more sustainable. The stick frame was constructed from locally-sourced wood, and an energy efficient standing seam metal roof will last for many decades. Triple-glazed INTERNORM windows from Austria allow the home to be draft-free. Polished concrete floors add thermal mass to the home, helping to moderate temperatures and boost comfort.

“The concrete slab absorbs the heat really nicely and releases the heat very slowly,” explains Norbert. This allows heat from sunny winter days to be stored in the home, reducing night-time heat loads.

A 7.5 kW solar system was installed, making the home net zero. This means that the solar system will generate as much power as the home uses over the course of the year. Because the home is all electric and has an electric hot water heater, heating system, and range, no fossil fuels will be consumed and the home will be exclusively powered by clean solar energy.

To save money, reduce maintenance, and avoid the need for an extensive battery system, the home is connected to the power grid. It will feed excess daytime power to the grid and take electricity at night or during cloudy weather.  A 10 kWh Tesla backup battery will allow the home to have power when the power grid is down.

Norbert and Robin are delighted about the progress of their home, as they watch their dream house come to life. They will soon reside in Lubberland’s Edge, with a high level of comfort made possible by dynamic energy efficiency.