PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology
The PATH Guide to
Put these five principles into action, educate the homeowner, and you're green to go!
1. Resource and Waste Management
Durable building materials and construction assemblies that withstand the elements and minimize waste.
Tech Set 2:
Durable Building Envelope
Tech Set 5: Storm-Resistant Roofing
Tech Set 7: Wind-Resistant Openings
2. Energy Efficient System Integration
A whole-systems approach to building design: properly orient and insulate your structures, size HVAC and specify lighting systems to reduce overall energy demands while improving comfort and durability.
Tech Set 2:
Durable Building Envelope
Tech Set 3: HVAC: Forced Air System
Tech Set 4: Energy Efficient Lighting
Tech Set 6: The Sun in the 21st Century Home
3. Resource Efficient Plumbing
Plumbing innovations will save you time and materials, and save the owner water and energy.
Tech Set 1: Resource Efficient Plumbing
4. Good Indoor Air Quality
Combine thoughtful materials selection with proper ventilation to provide clients healthy interior environments.
Tech Set 3:
HVAC: Forced Air System
Tech Set 9: Indoor Air Quality
5. Low Impact Development Tech Set Coming in 2008!
Manage the jobsite to reduce erosion and site disturbance during construction and long after your job is finished, preserve habitat, and leave a natural landscape.
Great for the environment. A great marketing advantage. Very affordable when done right.
Green building involves careful environmental consideration at every phase of the construction process. So if you're never done this before, where do you begin?
PATH's Guide to Green Building presents the essential components of building a green home: low-impact development (LID), resource and waste management, energy-efficient system integration, resource-efficient plumbing and good indoor air quality. And don't forget homeowner education.
Whether you use LEED for Homes, NAHB's Green Home Building Guidelines or any other green building programs, PATH's Guide to Green Building can be used to help builders understand and meet the requirements.
Here are some of the basics. And remember, always start with the no- and low-cost elements. There are likely to be quite a few.
Low-impact Development (LID)
Use LID strategies to design and locate the site to preserve the natural environment and reduce stormwater runoff. By planning for terrain, vegetation, and soil features that handle stormwater on site, you can avoid costly storm drain systems and water treatment. Limit impervious areas or use permeable pavement or paved surfaces that run off into bioretention gardens and vegetative swales. Plan to save natural vegetative areas and large trees, and have a qualified person on site to see that these measures are implemented. Minimize slope and site disturbance, re-establish groundcover within 14 days of disturbance, and retain the natural topography, flora, and fauna.
Resource and Waste Management
Resource efficiency means using fewer materials to achieve the end result. Design a compact structure with advanced framing details. Try a prefabricated building system, such as structural insulated panels (SIPs) or another type of panelized walls. Precision cut in the factory, they waste little material and lead to a more durable structure. Build a modular hone. Or select other building systems that reduce material waste, such as insulating concrete forms (ICFs), which provide formwork that remains in place after the concrete foundations and walls are poured.
Insulate the foundation and save concrete with a frost protected shallow foundation. Stamp or stain a slab to create a decorative concrete floor finish rather than installing carpet or tile.
Use products that are pre-finished in the factory, like pre-finished vinyl windows, siding, shutters and cellular PVC trims, are also resource efficient because they require no additional materials for finishing.
Durability is key to using resource efficiently: the less maintenance and replacement necessary over the life of the home, the fewer materials used. Design for the weather events in your region. Preserve the cladding and structural components of a house with covered entries, roof overhangs and gutter details that channel storm water away from the building. Carefully integrate the roof drip edge, ice and water dam barrier, and flashings. Install a weather-resistant barrier between walls and cladding. Provide for foundation and footing drainage.
Waste management includes recycling or reusing the roughly 4 lbs. per square foot of construction debris that results from building a house. Reduce trash piles by specifying cut-to-length material packages. Install products with high recycled content such as concrete aggregate substitutes, slag wool insulation batts or recycled content carpet.
Integrate Energy-Efficient Systems
Take a comprehensive approach to air sealing, thermal design and air conditioning. Design, size and install HVAC using ACCA manuals J, D, and S. Install ducts and equipment within conditioned space and specify high-efficiency equipment. Have certified technicians commission the system and verify building air infiltration, duct tightness and system air flow. Specify ENERGY STARŪ qualified lighting, appliances, windows, HVAC systems and efficient water heating-- even solar water heating. Incorporate daylighting as well as passive solar design elements to take advantage of the sun's free light and heat. Generate your own electricity from the sun.
Specify PEX laid out using a manifold design and, if your local code allows it, greywater reuse piping. Add in low-flow fixtures, high-efficiency toilets (HETs), and a water-saving ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher and washing machine.
Good Indoor Air Quality
Promote good indoor air quality by minimizing indoor pollutants. Install direct vent combustion equipment and fireplaces. Design for mechanically controlled exhaust from baths and kitchen range and provide for controlled ventilation. Control moisture and dust accumulation during construction by masking ducts in the house. Store stockpiled materials out of the weather to keep them dry and minimize the possibility of mold growth. Air seal between attached garages and living areas.
Build healthier homes by specifying paints, caulks and adhesives with low volatile organic compound (VOC) content.
Provide a homeowner manual detailing the goals of the project and the measures you took to construct a green building. Acquaint the owner with the home, equipment, and maintenance guidelines.
Content updated on 2/28/2008
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