The Utah House was designed and constructed following sustainability
guidelines developed during the project planning stage. The project
team was comprised of over twenty individuals with design, engineering,
landscaping expertise. This team worked together to develop a home
that promotes the principles of sustainability, energy and water efficiency,
universal design principles, healthy indoor environments, and community/regional
economic development. The home, landscape, products and systems have
been integrated to achieve the best result for this particular location.
Orientation and design for daylighting was maximized with
clerestory and skylight tubes (see picture below). More detail on
the tubular skylights is available here.
Minimal impact on site topography, soil characteristics and
natural drainage was achieved by limiting the construction
disturbance to 50 feet beyond the building perimeter for earthwork,
site utility lines (except minor trenching for main branches) and
non-pervious surface parking.
Orientation for use of renewable energy provides both passive
and active solar advantages. Passive solar intake through windows
oriented toward southern exposure assists heating while minimal windows
on west and north sides reduces heat loss. The passive design includes
thermal mass (for heat storage) in the form of tiles along the south
side. Photovoltaics(PV) generate 1/4 of the electricity. Click here
to learn more about the PV system at the Utah House.
- Proper window sizing, location and shading includes
overhangs that allow winter sunlight in while blocking excessive
Design for occupant recycling accomplished through a built-in
recycling center in the kitchen.
Landscaping will help to achieve energy efficiency for the
home. Deciduous trees were planted on the south side to allow
solar intake during winter, but shade in summer.
- Building Envelope: A super-insulated design was achieved through
increased insulation levels in walls (R-19 2X6) and attics (R-38), a
house wrap, insulated exterior doors, and a double insulated roof. The
finished floor area of the home contains a total of only 5 - 7% glass
(low-E double pane windows) with minimum windows on the north and west
sides, reducing heat loss but capturing available light and solar intake.
A light colored roof reduces heat sinks in the summer. The garage was
constructed using insulated concrete forms (ICFs) as shown at right.
Learn more about ICFs used at the Utah House by clicking here.
Mechanical Systems: Heating and cooling ducts sealed and insulated.
Tests conducted by an independent contractor with the Energy Rated
Homes of Utah Program resulted in exceptional duct sealing capacity
with only 2% air leakage. A ground source heat pump provides heating
and cooling. A photovoltaic (PV) installation provides approximately
1/4 of the home's electricity generation. Durable, low maintenance
equipment and materials were used.
Lighting: An energy efficient lighting installation consists
of dimmers, motion detection switches in public bathrooms, and compact
fluorescent and low-watt incandescent lighting. The home is wired
with "Smart Home" technology that regulates the lights,
heating, security, etc. A solar lighting system was installed for
the outdoor lighting.
- Appliances: Energy efficient appliances for heating, cooling,
water heating equipment, and gas fireplace. Energy Star rated appliances
were installed in the kitchen, including the dishwasher and refriderator.
Roof: The roof sheathing is made of oriented strand
board (OSB), a product that uses smaller trees and tree milling
scrap. A metal roof was installed to last a lifetime.
Insulation: One wall in the garage was constructed
using straw bales. Straw is a locally grown, annually renewable
Exterior Wall Finishes: Durable, low maintenance equipment,
materials and finishes were used on many exterior surfaces.
Stucco siding will reduce the need for painting products. Blown
in fiberglass insulation does not settle.
Products with minimal off-gas such as low volatile organic
paints were used throughout the home.
Bathroom fans, kitchen fans, and dryer vented to outside.
Radon control system installed during foundation construction
including pad sealing and vent options.
Monitoring equipment for Carbon Monoxide (CO) installed in furnace room.
Hard floor surfaces maximized and reduction of textiles. Tile
is used throughout the the Utah House with the exception of 90 yards
(bedroom and office) which is covered with recycled carpet.
Detached garage or attached with advanced sealing.
The Utah house was built with a detached garage to reduce potential
exposure from automobile exhaust and stored chemicals.
Water efficient appliances, equipment and fixtures
include toilets, shower head with flow restrictor, dishwasher and
front loading clothes washer. The "Vanguard" plumbing system
uses a manifold and 3/8" cross-linked polyethylene pipes that
restrict water flow. These measures are expected to cut water use
by 30% or more. More detail on the water efficiency of appliances
is available here.
Design for rainwater collection and reuse. Rainwater is harvested
off the metal roof and a 6,500 gallon water cistern buried in the
backyard (installation shown below) that provides water to flush toilet
and irrigate the landscape.
Minimize impermeable driveways, walkways and patios. Hanover
Pavers, a pervious concrete with the look of stone was laid under
the arbor, to form walkways and for the patio off the master bedroom.
Landscape with hardy, native trees and shrubs. Plants were
selected for their drought tolerance, pest and disease resistance,
size, color, form, texture, leaves, flowers, and fruit. Visit "The
Value of Plants in an Urban Landscape" at http://extension.usu.edu/utahhouse/landstor.htm#plantvalue
Zoned irrigation system based on moisture
was achieved with drought tolerate plants and
limited use of turf (grass) areas. The "Hydro zones"
were created with grouping of plants requiring different levels
of water intake. The irrigation system uses a computer and sensors
to determine water needs. Visit the Utah House "Water-Wise
Plant List" at http://extension.usu.edu/utahhouse/landstor.htm#plantlist
- Use of mulch in garden and around house to reduce evaporation.