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Terms Defined

Marketable Homes
A home constructed for sale on the open market or to a select individual.
Demonstration Homes
A home constructed for the purpose of education. Typically these homes are monitored over a number of years, funded rather than purchased, and often used as commercial offices or educational facilities.

Integrated Design | Site and Design | Green Products
Solid and Hazardous Waste Management | Indoor Air Quality | Energy Efficiency
Water Quality and Conservation | Universal Design

Integrated Design IconHomes and their surroundings operate as a system with all components (products, location, orientation, equipment, etc.) functioning as one. When designed so each component interacts efficiently with others, the home has achieved an integrated design. Integrated Design brings together the client, the design team and the construction team to optimize resource efficiency and environmental performance starting from design, during construction and through to the end of the home's useful life.

Site and Design Features
The key to maximum resource efficiency is planning. The design of a home takes into account the location relative to both human and natural features. The design should strive to reduce impacts (economic and environmental) to existing communities and the environment by protection and sustainable use of natural features during construction and throughout occupancy. Examples of resource efficient planning include:

  • Using the existing infrastructure (urban infill; cluster development; promixity to commmunity services)
  • Preservation and protection of sensitive areas (wetlands, shorelines, mature forests, wildlife migration routes)
  • Consolidation of utilities along previously disturbed areas
  • Preservation of trees and other existing vegetation
  • Minimal impact on site topography, soil characteristics and natural drainage (limit cut and fill; limit heavy equipment to avoid soil compaction)
  • Orientation for use of renewable energy
  • Orientation and design for daylighting
  • Proper window sizing, location, and shading
  • Subcontractors involved in resource efficiency through clear planning and training

Green Product Features
Below are areas of the home where green products can be used during construction. For a more comprehensive description of "green products" visit the Green Products chapter of the Residential Construction Topic Hub.

  • Foundation (insulated concrete forms; frost-protected shallow foundation; recycled glass aggregate; fly ash concrete; non-solvent damp proofing)
  • Structural Frame (structural insulated panels or forms; recycled decking; certified sustainably harvested lumber; engineered lumber; finger-jointed studs)
  • Sub-Floor (zero formaldehyde oriented strand board (OSB); natural cork; recycled or salvaged underlayment)
  • Windows (low emissivity windows; shading devices)
  • Doors (insulated exterior doors; recycled and/or recovered content; certified sustainably harvested wood)
  • Insulation (non-toxic; recycled content; HCFC free rigid foam)
  • Exterior Wall Finishes (natural and indigenous materials; durable fiber cement siding; recycled content siding, fascia, soffit or trim; certified sustainably harvested wood; low VOC and non-toxic stains and paints)
  • Roof (durable "lifetime" warranty; recycled content material)
  • Finish Floor (natural or recycled fiber carpet and backing; reused or remilled wood; natural linoleum; certified sustainably harvest wood; bamboo or cork; recycled ceramic or glass tile; non-toxic adhesives)
  • Cabinetry and Trim (agricultural waste or formaldehyde-free recycled wood particleboard/MDF cabinets, shelving and countertops; certified sustainably harvested wood; fly ash concrete countertops; non-toxic stains, paints, and finishes)

Waste Management Features Top Of Page

Source reduction, separation and reuse of materials, and recycling achieved through procurement, planning and employee training. Waste Management can include:

  • Efficient use of materials (24" on center, Optimum Value Engineering (OVE); design on standard material dimensions
  • Employee waste reduction training
  • Inventory and housekeeping procedures
  • Post spill cleanup procedures
  • Packaging return and reduction
  • Waste reduction through process modification (e.g. central cut area to reuse scraps; alternative chemical application methods
  • Deconstruction
  • Weather protection provided and maintained for stored materials
  • Recycling of construction waste
  • Alternatives to burying or burning construction waste

Indoor Air Quality Features
Practices such as airing out products which may off-gas before installation and taking measures to avoid construction dust within the home are common and important practices that improve indoor air quality. The Homes Across America case studies demonstrate design and construction practices beyond the mainstream that reduce occupant exposure to pollutants and provide "healthy" indoor air quality. For example:

  • Use of products with minimal off-gas
  • Use of water-based finishes
  • Sealed combustion or power vented appliances
  • Reduction of textiles; maximized hard floor surfaces
  • Bathroom fans, kitchen fans, and dryer vented to outside; tested
  • Separation of uninhabited areas (and potential sources of pollutants) from occupants
  • Ventilation design related to climate conditions
  • Water mangement for foundation, attic, and walls (grade to drain away from buildings; air/vapor retarders; capillary break; waterproofing; flashing along valleys and penetrations)
  • Detached garage or attached with "advanced sealing" (sealed top and bottom plates, corners, and penetrations
  • Ducts and furnace cleaned just prior to occupancy
  • Harmful gas monitoring and control

Energy Efficiency Features
This category includes measures taken to enhance the home's energy efficient operation beyond mainstream best practices such as sealing all ducts / penetrations and insulating to code. Enhancement measures include:

  • Building Envelope (window overhangs, insulated exterior wall sheating; insulated headers, house wrap; sealing of plates and corners)
  • Mechanical Systems (active renewable energy design; 90% or higher efficiency furnace or boiler with sealed combustion; radiant heating; whole house fan; multi-zoned thermostat)
  • Water Heating (solar, geothermal or waste heat recovery; insulated hot water pipes; water heater within 20 feet of highest use)
  • Lighting (solar powered outdoor lighting; compact fluorescent bulbs; air tight insulation; contact-related can lights; lights colored walls, ceiling, and carpet)
  • Report performance data, if available (blower door test; product ratings)

Water Protection Features
These are design and construction measures taken to protect water quality and reduce water consumption both during construction and occupancy of the home. Significant features are:

  • Best Manages Practices (BMPs) for stormwater (landscape planters and swales; porous pavers; ecoroofs; minimal impermeable driveways, walkways, and patios)
  • Greywater collection and reuse
  • Rainwater collection and reuse
  • Wellhead protection
  • Vehicle and equipment cleaning and maintenance
  • Water efficient applicances, equipment, and fixtures
  • Landscape design (including drought resistant plantings; zoned irrigation system)
  • Phase construction (reducing disturbed areas)
  • Single stabilized construction entrance (established and maintained)
  • Site covered and stabilized at construction completion

This section describes design and construction measures implemented to accommodate seniors and home occupants with special needs. Such an approach might include:

  • Access to community support services (health services, food services, transportation)
  • Safety and security (controlled visitor access and lighting)
  • Exterior access (sheltered access; no steps; slopes less than 1/12, wide entrance doors)
  • General living space (single level; convertible layout; wide hallways; pocket doors)
  • Kitchen (non-slip flooring; level handle faucets; anti-scald valves; appliance access; lighting)
  • Bathroom (five foot turning radius; grab-bars; hand-held shower head)

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