LEED HOME ~ REAL ESTATE DARIEN, NEW CANAAN, ROWAYTON, CT.
I was lucky enough to be able to go on the home tour organized by PACE-Clean Energy over the weekend of the Kantor Home in New Canaan, Ct. which is seeking the USGBC LEED for Homes rating of Platinum. Until the permeable driveway and all the plantings/landscaping is done the certification is on hold, but they have already been awarded the Emerald Certification from the National Green Build Standard with a score of over 800 points.
The craftsman-style house is over 4,000 square feet situated on almost 5 acres was built by BPC Green Builders. The siding of the house is FSC certified white knotty cedar shingles and the roof tiles that look like slate are made out of recycled rubber and plastic with a 50 year warranty.
During the Innovation & Design Process, ID, the architect Jim Edgcomb designed the house, windows and extra large overhangs to maximize the effectiveness of passive and active solar power. The solar thermal panels on the roof convert sunlight to heat that is stored in a 1,000 gallon tank down in the basement. The hot water in the tank is used to heat the house, domestic hot water and outdoor pool. Along with that are 48 Photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight to electricity that was installed by Alteris Renewable. The system generates more electricity than the house uses and is returned the power grid for other homes to use.
Storm water is managed with a combination of bio-swale runs with any overruns going to the 1,800 sq ft specifically designed rain garden. The rain garden is made up of a soil mix of sand, compost, top soil and mix of native plants that are tolerate both saturated and dry conditions. Rainwater from the roof is diverted to four 80 gallon barrels and two 1250 gallon underground cisterns. This water is used for the irrigation system that utilizes both drip and micro-spray distribution with the use of solar powered pumps. Landscaping was done by Plantscapes Organics.
The swimming pool is insulated underneath and has an automatic cover to minimize heat loss so that solar energy can provide 100% of the heat needed to warm the water. The pool's water is chemically free and will be sanitized using a copper ionization system installed by JJ Pools.
Now we get to the inside of the house, excellent craftsmanship and high quality workmanship throughout, wonderful views through triple glazed windows manufactured by Loewen Windows, this house is as pleasing to the eye as it is efficient. Reclaimed red and white oak floors, interior designed structural post and beam eastern hemlock and locally grown with exterior walls being framed with 2*6, 24 inch on center with cross framing of 2*3 for a thermal break, allowing for a total open cell foam insulation thickness of seven inches at a R value of 31. The roof is framed with 2*12's at 24 inch on center with additional 2*3 horizontal strapping which again eliminates most thermal breaks and insulation of 13 inches spray foam for an R-58 rating.
The kitchen cabinets are made out of reclaimed wood, counter tops are locally made from 100% recycled glass in a cement matrix, under cabinet lighting are highly energy efficient LED's, all kitchen appliances are Energy Star rated by the EPA.
The first floor wall finish is a natural plaster made from various clays, sand and reclaimed marble. On the second floor the walls are finished with water-based low VOC's interior paint. In the center staircase ceiling there are two 14 inch round solar reflective tube shafts that bring in an exceptional amount of natural light into this windowless space.
Now we get to the heart of the home, mechanical room. Along with the 1,000 gallon water tank for hot water storage there is a new European model wood pellet boiler that functions completely automatically with an efficiency factor greater than 90%. There is also a back up state of the art propane condensing boiler with an efficiency of 95%.
With the house being built so well and tight, an energy recovery ventilator - ERV is installed. This unit brings in a measured amount of fresh air into the house automatically transferring the heat and moisture from the exhaust air to the fresh air for exceptionally energy efficiency.
And here are two items that you don't usually find in the home. The composting toilet in the house has a holding tank in the basement that has its own ecosystem and live bacteria which breaks down the waste into humus. Within a year rich compost is ready to use. The second surprise is the grey water system that filters shower and sink drain water through peat moss. The filtered water is used in the toilets and is the first such system to be installed in Connecticut.
So in conclusion, for a small premium in price and a little planning one can build an energy efficient home and save substantially on their utility bills. It was whispered in my ear that this high end home costs about $400 sq foot to build.
William Raveis Real Estate
Darien, Ct. 06820
Connecticut License Real Estate Salesperson
Member of USGBC & CTGBC, accredited LEED GA