Houses are rated when completed, and ours isn’t scheduled to be completed until mid August, 2010. However, the process of getting a house certified by either the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Green Build program or the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program starts before the ground is broken for excavation. The house has been through the required initial review process for both of these programs by an independent third party reviewer. In that review process the house meets the NAHB Green Build programs highest ranking Emerald, it also achieves the highest LEED certification, Platinum.
The house will be using all LED lighting, and the most efficient appliances available in the US, and will require roughly 2% of a house built to code. It will qualify as an Energy Star home. The house is designed to meet what may be regarded as the most stringent energy efficiency standard that currently exists, The PassiveHaus Institute standard. This standard was developed by Dr. Wolfgang Fiest of Germany in the early 1990’s, and was based on the “Superinsulated Homes” of the late 1970’s and 80’s in North America. Over 2000 homes have been built to this rigorous standard in Europe, and so far just a handful in the US. The name refers to the house being passive, as in requiring little to no heating or cooling. The construction of this house was greatly influenced by their work. We hope that we can be one of the few houses in North America that can pass their requirements.
The house will conserve water by virtue of having all the faucets and showerheads be low flow. It will use HET (High Efficiency Toilets) that will be dual flush, 0.8 or 1.6 gallos of water per flush. This will qualify the house for the Water Sense program.
The house will have a light color roof that will absorb less heat from the sun, decreasing the heat island effect. This will meet the Cool Roof Rating Council requirements for tax credits.
This house will also be what is popularly called a “Net Zero” home. This implies that the home is powered by enough solar photovoltaic panels that over a year’s time it would not be a net user of electricity from the power grid. This house goes one step further by not requiring any sort of gas to provide the space heating, water heating (including hot tub) by virtue of its solar hot water panels, hot water storage tanks and efficiencies.