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We've been questioned about the features we incorporated to "Kimmswick-1" to qualify for the highest ratings from both DOE Energy Star and the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy Conservation and Environmental Design's Platinum rating. To respond to these questions, we provided this information:
WELCOME TO KIMMSWICK-1, OUR DEMONSTRATION OF DESIGNING AND BUILDING
AN "IN-FILL HOME" IN AN EXISTING SUBDIVISION
The following information is provided as a Road Map for your tour of Kimmswick-1. If you have questions,
please ask us - answering your questions can be educational for both of us. Please start this tour at
the Front Walk Mail Box. This information should enable you to see the whole house and garden in
sequence. We hope you will enjoy your tour; feel free to ask questions about all you see and read as you
go through the home. Our objective is to share our research and disseminate as much information as
possible to encourage and support "Green Building" in small and medium scale homes.
Tim Michels, Jordan Heiman and Greg Polanik
Choice of Location and Site: When we initiated Kimmswick-1 in late 2006 we knew there were a
number of "High Performance Homes" in Greater St. Louis. Of the surrounding counties, Jefferson
County was the last to receive the attention of the major home developers. We felt this was our
opportunity to influence future development in an area just beginning to be discovered. Kimmswick has
area wide name recognition with a good country food restaurant, numerous antique shops and
community facilities. The site we chose, "The Parc at Kimmswick," is on a 75 site subdivision that was
80% filled. Sites were available that allowed us to use orientation to accommodate passive solar design,
and provide for the future addition of photovoltaic collectors on the roof.
Low Maintenance "Rain Garden:" The basins on both sides of the walk are used to collect and hold
all reasonable amounts of rainfall on the site. The average depth of the depressions is slightly over 6
inches and, combined with the actual Rain Garden located in the back yard, can retain more than a 1 inch
rainfall. All the plants used on this site are "native" and "drought resistant," with deep roots to help absorb
heavier rainfalls. The designer is Cynthia Collins of Hartke Nursery in Olivette, Missouri. Ask for a copy
of a full color brochure for more information on rain gardens.
Front Walk to the home and the rear driveway are constructed of concrete with a high content of fly-ash,
a waste product from the combustion of coal in power plants. The fly-ash gives the finished concrete a
reflective white color. The technical term for this surface is "high albedo." The use of high albedo
materials reduces the amount of heat collected by these surfaces during the hot summer months.
Motion Detecting Entry Lights are intended to welcome visitors while conserving electricity. The
photovoltaic solar lights along the front walk define the way to the home and require no utility-purchased
"Pure Power" provided by AmerenUE from Wind Farms is used to minimize the home's "Carbon
Footprint." Pure Power is the description used by the utility company to indicate that they are buying
energy for use in our home that is not from the usual AmerenUE sources of coal, gas or nuclear energy.
Exterior Walls are constructed of concrete reinforced with steel bars (rebar). This construction runs
from the footing to the roof of the house. The Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) construction utilizes
approximately 2 inches of insulation on both sides of the concrete as the "forms." The rebar reinforced
concrete provides structural strength for maximum resistance to high winds and earthquakes. This
construction has been found to be very successful in resisting the hurricane velocity winds experienced
on the coast regions of Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana. In addition, the mass of the concrete keeps
080515-Feature Overview 2 of 4 5/15/2008
noise out of the home, and the "thermal mass" (energy storage capacity of the heavy concrete) slows the
rate of temperature change with the varying weather conditions experienced in the our region.
Exterior Wall Siding is constructed of cement and cellulose fiber rather than the usual vinyl plastic.
The siding has a high recycled content and comes with a 50 year warranty. Because of the
environmental problems caused by the production, use, and ultimate scrapping of vinyl, we try to use
more environmentally friendly materials.
Windows are manufactured by Marvin Windows. The frames are made of glass fiber that is extremely
stable, and has the same rate of expansion and contraction as glass. Because of this, the seals are less
likely to leak with aging than frames made of other materials that expand at a different rate than glass.
The windows are double pane and double-coated with materials that reflect summer sunlight and retain
the long wave radiation from the heated interior of the home in the winter. They are Argon gas-filled for a
lower conduction heat loss.
Front Door "Walk-Off" Mats are designed for outdoor use and secured in place to prevent slipping.
Similar mats are installed at all entries. The mats can be removed for a thorough cleaning if necessary.
Air-Lock Entry provides a buffer zone between extremes in outdoor climate and the conditioned indoor
environment. The tiled entry floor is easily maintained. A storage bin with seating is provided for those
who prefer to take off their shoes when indoors. "Footsies" are available for anyone who wishes to use
Red Oak Flooring from the Missouri Ozark Forests is used throughout the home and finished with a
low volatile organic content (voc) urethane.
Lighting System throughout the home is fluorescent with occupancy sensor switches located in those
places where lights may not be switched off.
American with Disabilities Act (ADA) - "Universal Design." The Accessibility Guidelines are
followed for door and hall widths, lever rather than knob door handles and wheel chair spacing. We
installed, per their recommendation, a higher toilet seat in the Master Bathroom, and lowered switches
and thermostat for easier wheelchair access. A wheel chair can roll from the street to the first floor of the
home without a step. A ramp can be provided for access from the garage. Ask to see the architect's
drawing for the ramp.
As you exit from the inner air lock entry door, the dining room entry is located on the left.
Daylighting and ventilation are provided by windows on the north and east sides. The first door on the left
opens to a lavatory. The second door on the left opens to a stacked washer-dryer. To the right, there
is a multiple use room and the Master Bedroom and Bath. The first door on the right opens to stairs to
the basement. Directly ahead of the corridor is the family room.
Master Bedroom and Bath are equipped with privacy shades opening from the top down as well as
the bottom up. Windows provide day lighting and natural ventilation from the north and west sides. A
walk-in closet and ceiling fan are provided. The air circulation created by Ceiling Fans can contribute
major energy savings during the hot months of the year reducing the need for heat pump cooling.
Master Bathroom is designed for wheel chair access with a 5 foot clearance around the raised toilet
seat. A hand rail is also provided. The tiled shower is large enough to accommodate a wheel chair or
080515-Feature Overview 3 of 4 5/15/2008
bench. Flow rate for the Shower = 2.0 gallons per minute (gpm); Faucets = 0.5 gpm; Toilet = 1.6 gpf
(gallons per flush).
Half Bath/Lavatory is located in the corridor to the left of the entrance. The faucet flow rate is 0.5 gpm.
Laundry Room design accommodates a stacked washer and electric dryer (there is no natural gas
available in the subdivision) and is Energy Star Plus approved with a "modified energy factor" (mef) of 2.0
and a "water factor" (wf) of 5.21. The "mef" and "wf" numbers represent the amount of energy and water
used for a "standard washing machine load." This qualifies the laundry system for a "Very Efficient
Clothes Washer" designation by the LEED Guidelines. The front loading washing machine is located
below the dryer.
Kitchen, accessible from either the Family Room or Dining Room, has all "Energy Star" appliances for
models that can be certified. The Kitchen counters are made of Quartz (Engineered Stone), the material
that received top recommendations in the August 2007 issue of "Consumer Reports" magazine. The
Kitchen is Energy Star efficient. It has a refrigerator with lower drawer freezer and ice-maker, an electric
slide-in range, a microwave oven, and an automatic dishwasher and food waste disposer. All of the
kitchen appliances are from Sears with on-site service from the company.
Family Room is located on the back (South) side of the home facing the Rain Garden. The roof
extension over the large windows on the South side prevents direct sunlight from entering the room
during the summer months when the sun is highest in the sky. The room is designed for day lighting with
windows on the South and East side and French Doors accessing a small porch that can be used for
cooking or enjoying the spring air and view. A ceiling fan is provided for comfort. The comfort
conditioning system has been designed to provide transfer of the slightly warmer air coming from the sun
heated south to the rest of the home, reducing the amount of electric energy required to maintain comfort
during the winter.
Two Car Garage is accessible from the paved alley and is equipped with quiet belt-driven insulated
power-operated overhead doors with Teflon coated rollers designed to minimize the noise of operation.
Each door is separately remote controlled. The entrance to the Family Room, Laundry, and Kitchen from
the garage is through an automatically closing fire-rated door. A ramp can be used to enable wheel chair
access from the garage. An architectural drawing is available along with commercial sources that sell
Upstairs Bedrooms and Bath are designed with windows on adjacent sides of the bedrooms
providing cross ventilation and day lighted closets. The bathroom has two low flow (0.5 gallons per
minute) lavatories, and a combination tub and water-saving shower head.
Partial Basement with Adjacent Crawl Space that includes a comfort conditioned storage area. In
addition, two Safety Code "Egress Windows" are provided to allow direct exit from the basement. There
is ample space for two additional rooms in the conditioned basement area. Also, there is provision for a
future bathroom. One possible arrangement is available and shown on a sketch provided by our
architect, Greg Polanik; if interested, request a copy.
Basement also contains a 200 Amp Electric Panel and Photovoltaic Solar connecting Panel. The Water
Service Entrance, Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV), Ground Source Heat Pump (with a connection for
preheating the water entering the Water Heater) and a 60 Gallon Electric Water Heater. All meet LEED
080515-Feature Overview 4 of 4 5/15/2008
Energy Recovery Ventilator is a means of providing outside air ventilation into a tightly built home
without wasting the energy put into conditioning the air in the home. The ERV exhausts about 90 cubic
feet of air per minute while taking in the same amount of outside (fresh) air. In this home the air to be
exhausted is taken from the bathrooms while the replacement air is delivered to the return air intake of
the Heat Pump used to condition the home. About 60% of the energy in the air being exhausted is
transferred to the incoming air. This ERV recovers both the sensible (dry) and latent (wet) heat.
Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) operates by using the earth rather than the outdoor air as a
source of energy. Ground temperatures in the St. Louis area, as observed in Missouri caves, is a
constant 51 degrees F. Outside air temperatures fluctuate in the St. Louis area between 5 and 100
degrees. Ground source energy is taken from the earth with piping immersed into three 150 feet wells.
A Heat Pump's operating efficiency is based on the temperature difference between the home's comfort
temperature and the source of energy, (generally referred to as "heat sink"). For example, an "air to air"
heat pump will be attempting to take heat from air for heating from outside air that could be as low as 5
degrees F. In the summer months the air to air heat pump will be attempting to cool the home by
discharging heat into air with temperatures as high as 100 degrees F. Compare these temperature
extremes with ground source temperatures that remain at 51 degrees F summer and winter! The
difference in the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) or the Coefficient of Performance (COP) between the air
to air and the air to ground heat pumps will average about double in favor of the Ground Source Heat
As an added feature, the hot gases coming off the Ground Source Heat Pump during the summer
months can be used to preheat the water going into the Electric Water Heater - this reduces the
amount of utility energy consumed by increasing the efficiency of the Heat Pump by about 60%.
Electric Water Heater is Energy Star and meets the criteria of the LEED-Homes Guidelines as a
"Conventional High Efficiency Unit." The unit is well insulated and guaranteed for 12 years. The Energy
Factor (EF) is 0.93 for the 60 gallon capacity heater.
Roof Mounted Photovoltaic Cells of the future have been anticipated with the addition of an electric
switch box mounted on the basement wall, counterclockwise about 5 feet from the Main Electrical Panel.
The other end of the wiring terminates in a switch box in the attic adjacent to the upper South facing roof.
This is the South upper roof with the extreme 9 in 12 slope. This slope provides the optimum angle for
the annual receipt of energy from the sun's rays. The pre-wiring is provided to minimize the future cost of
installing the solar panels since it will not be necessary to damage walls, ceilings and floors to run
connecting wiring to the solar meter located in the basement.
We hope you have enjoyed your Tour of Kimmswick-1. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to contrast
the features of the Kimmswick-1 Energy Efficient 5-Star Plus and LEED Certified Home with conventional
tract-built subdivision homes. The Mission of Applied Energy Solutions is to share information and
methods by which home builders can provide a better future for all of our children and grandchildren
through conserving our natural resources.
We encourage all home builders to feel free to use our experience and expertise to
build these energy and environmentally "green" features into their homes.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.