"Going Green" is definitely the trend right now. This extends to all aspects of our daily lives, from eliminating plastic shopping bags, to measuring and minimizing our carbon footprint, and also to home construction.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, the green segment of the construction industry is expected to climb from 2 percent of all housing starts in 2005 to between 5 and 10 percent in 2010. If these numbers are any indication, the practices advocated by green enthusiasts are well on their way to becoming mainstream.
So what makes a home green? According to ListedGreen.com, some good examples of a green home are:
- Energy and system efficiency
- Solar power
- Solar hot water
- Wind power
- Water saving devices
- Recycled building materials
- Low or No-VOC products used
- Certification Programs targeted for Green Building like
LEED for Homes®, GreenBuilt, EnergyStar®, along with many others
One home, that was currently for sale in a breathtaking Superior, Montana location, demonstrates that you don't have to sacrifice style or comfort to help the environment. The home was designed by a Master Electrician who used his experience and knowledge of construction to bring some unique and exciting "green" elements into this home. The 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath home is more than 2,800 sq. ft. including a full, finished walkout basement. It is located on 1.6 acres that overlooks Cedar Creek and features a 2 car, insulated garage, and a separate 24 x 28 insulated and heated shop with an additional 1/2 bath.
Starting with the construction in 2003, this home was built using Amvic Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) with concrete fill. The manufacturor states that this type of construction results in an ASTOUNDING R-Value of 50+! The Amvic forms are manufactured with over 60% recycled materials and generate less than 1% construction waste. It can also contribute up to 28 LEED points to a home.
The use of ICF in construction has many benefits for the homeowner, including lower heating and cooling costs, potential health benefits because no CFCs and HCFCs are used, and a quieter home due to the sound barrier that is created.
The heating system for this home is in-floor hydronic (liquid-based) radiant heat. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, radiant heating has a number of advantages: it is more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air heating because no energy is lost through ducts. The lack of moving air can also be advantageous to people with severe allergies. Hydronic (liquid-based) systems use little electricity.
This home makes the most of the in-floor radiant heat by having tile floors throughout. The home's heating system is located in a small room in the basement for easy access. The energy efficient design of this home has resulted in extremely LOW utility costs that average $150 per month. This is especially low when you consider the cold Montana winters, the large size of the home, the heated shop and the increasing number of days over 90 degrees we have had in the summer.
Cooling the home is also efficient in the summer due to the insulation and a 200 CFM Ceiling-mounted Exhaust Fan. This extremely quiet fan cools the whole house and is necessary to freshen the air of this well-insulated home.
Additional features of this home include:
- a Light Tube in the basement bathroom, allowing for natural light,
- Hardi-plank siding,
- 26-Gauge Snaplock Metal Roofing and Aluminum Soffits,
- Fully Guttered with Underground Drains,
- R-38 Insulation in Ceiling,
- Fully Integrated Media Networking Panel,
- Photo-cell Lights in Front of House and Shop,
- 2 Wells,
- RV Sewer Dump Station,
- 2 Laundry Rooms, one upstairs and one downstairs,
- Large deck,
- Large pantry,
- Beutiful gardens and landscaping,
- The shop is wired for welding, and
- Energy Star Appliances.
This home is also located in an area with abundant wildlife. You will frequently see deer, elk, and wild turkeys out your window, along with an occasional moose.
UPDATE: NO LONGER ON THE MARKET