We’ve been talking about our experience in creating a zero net energy home lately. If you find yourself a little confused over what this means or are interested in learning how a zero net energy home can benefit you, here are a few facts to consider, courtesy of CT Zero Energy Challenge:
Zero Net Energy means that a home uses no more energy than what it produces on site. For example, if a given home used 7,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity in one year, but it produced 7,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity from a solar PV array in the same year, it would be considered a zero net energy home.
Typically, a home must have some type of on-site power generation in order to achieve the status of “zero net energy.” This could include solar, thermal, or even wind energy, depending on the conditions of the site on which the home is built.
Some state and federal programs do exist to help build zero net energy homes, including some federal tax credits for builders and homeowners who are looking to build a zero net energy home. The Department of Energy’s Building America and Builders Challenge programs are good resources for those who wish to create a super high efficiency home or building.
To learn more about Trilogy Partners‘ experience in creating a zero net energy home, check out our series titled “Zero Net Energy Home In Depth.”
Earlier this week, we discussed what LEED certification means for homes. As promised, today we’re going to tell you a little bit about the LEED certification points system, as well as the levels of certification for homes. Let’s get started with the points system.
The LEED for Homes rating system is a set of industry best practices that help guide builders in constructing better homes. There are 35 topic areas with a unique intent or goal for each. Under the requirements section of each topic area, very specific measures are identified that should be incorporated into the home. Those measures include good practices, better practices, and best practices. Good practices are the prerequisites that need to be met, which are considered a mandatory measure. Better practices are typically worth one point, and best practices are worth two points.
Prerequisites must be met during the design of construction phase and include 18 prerequisites. The 67 credits in the rating system are purely optional measures, but a minimum number of points must be earned in some of the credit categories. Once the prerequisites are met, the home can proceed with being rated on better and best practices.
Based on the number of points a home earns in terms of better and best practices, it can then be certified into one of four levels – Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum. Certified homes are those that receive between 45 and 59 points out of the total 136 points available. A Silver home must receive 60-74 points, and a Gold home must receive between 75 and 89 points. Platinum home are the highest level of LEED certification, earning between 90 and 136 points.
We hope this information has given you a better understanding of the LEED for Homes certification process. Here at Trilogy Partners, we strive to meet LEED sustainable standards with every build. You can find more information on the LEED for Homes certification process on the U.S. Green Building Council website.
As time progresses, sustainability in design will continue to be a pressing issue. Sustainability means more than just using building and design materials that are made to last. Certain standards must be followed to ensure we complete projects in a manner that is environmentally friendly, such as the Timber Trails residence. To make that possible, we follow the LEED certification standards set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
LEED for Homes is a consensus-developed, third party-verified, voluntary rating system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes. For a home to be considered LEED-certified it must be registered with the USGBC.
Registered projects are measured for overall performance in eight different categories, which include Innovation & Design Process, Location & Linkages, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environment Quality, and Awareness & Education. Homes are rated on a minimum level of performance and are rewarded for improved performance in the categories listed above. Homes accrue points and achieve one of four LEED for Homes Certification Levels based on the amount of points earned (we’ll look at the points system in greater detail later on).
Here at Trilogy Partners, we strive to build homes that are as environmentally friendly as possible. LEED for Homes is just one of the tools we use to aid us in that process. We’ll explore more factors of the LEED certification process in the near future, so be sure to check back with us often!
Days like today remind me of the many years we’ve been building great houses in the middle of the winter at 10,000 feet. Last night we got over 2 feet of snow and as I sit here writing the snow is falling, horizontally, as it often does when the wind is howling. This is what they call a powder day. But for those who will spend the day in workboots and not skiboots there’s nothing like arriving at the job site at 7 in the morning and the temperature is below zero. Not optimal working conditions to be sure, especially if we’ve had a dump like the one last night. So the first thing we try to do when building a home in the winter is to get the walls up, and the roof on, and the framing sheathed. At that point at least we’re out of the weather. Unfortunately we still have to deal with winter temperatures. Inside the house “shell” the temperature remains frigid because the shell holds the night’s cold air inside. Hardly pleasant working conditions. Sure, we can and sometimes use portable propane heat, but that’s an expensive proposition. Once the walls are up and the roof on it will be weeks if not months until the plumbers lay down the radiant floor tubing and get the boilers and gas connected to the house so we can have real heat. It’s a hardy bunch of souls that live at this altitude and work building homes through the winters. Though building slows down this time of year, it certainly doesn’t stop. Because folks, it’s winter here 8 months of the year!
It was true what everyone said. We didn’t know what we were doing. The year was 1998. We’d borrowed more than a million dollars. And now we were attempting to build our first house. In December. At 10,000 feet. In below 0 weather. We’d spent a week excavating a big hole in the ground and were due to install the foundation walls in a couple of days. But the Breckenridge building department officials had told us they would not permit us to install the pre-cast foundation walls on top of frozen earth. But how could we keep the ground from freezing. We came up with an idea. We’d put a giant plastic tent over the hole and put propane heaters in the tent. Our vision quickly became reality. The tent was enormous. The size of a house. We were proud. It was warm inside. The ground was not going to freeze. And then, a giant gust of wind came along. And took the tent away. At 2am in the morning. We didn’t sleep that night as we watched our foundation hole grow colder and the dirt grow hard with frost. Our first home… was it going to be a disaster? At this point, it was beginning to look so.
2011 marks the 13th year Trilogy Partners has been designing and building homes. Almost as a lark we built our first home, biting off way more than we could chew, working our hearts out and then, miraculously it seemed at the time, selling it the day it was completed. Then came a second home, and more as we began building homes for clients as well as spec homes for sale. As 2011 begins we look back to that first home. We broke ground in December. Crazy. We had much to learn about building homes. In Breckenridge, at an altitude of nearly 10,000 feet, the only reasonable outdoor activity that time of year is something that involves skis. And yet, here we were digging a hole in the frozen ground so we could place the foundation for a house. John and I stayed in good shape that winter shoveling snow for hours at a time as a home rose from a snowy meadow. Here are photos of Meadowview, which is still occupied by the original purchasers.
If you are like most of us living in Breckenridge chances are you’ll be doing a lot of skiing and snowboarding this Holiday Season. And we found the perfect stocking stuffer for those of you who love the powder, Touchscreen-Friendly Gloves. If you own a touchscreen phone like the iPhone than you probably have noticed how difficult it can be to use your phone or iPod outdoors. The last thing you want to do on the lift is take off your gloves to text or change the music for your epic ride down the mountain. Check out these Touchscreen-Friendly Gloves from Agloves.
Developed by a Jennifer Spencer, a Boulder inventor, the Agloves are made with yam that contains silver, hence the Ag. According to New West Blog, “The silver fibers weave in conductive properties throughout the glove, rather than on a couple of spots or on the fingertips.”
For only $18 these gloves will be the hottest things on the slopes!
It has been a pretty snowy week here in Breckenridge. The slopes opened last week and we have received close to 55 inches of fresh powder, 20 inches of that within the last 24 hours. The T-Bar also opened today; the lift’s earliest opening ever.
For some a mountain retreat in Breckenridge, Colorado is a dream come true. At Trilogy Partners, we can turn your dream into a reality. We can build you a vacation home in the Rocky Mountains that will become the perfect retreat for your family and friends.
Colorado is home to some of the greatest ski resorts in the world and summertime here is just as exciting. Take a look at some of our beautifully designed mountain retreats.
For more information please visit us online at TrilogyBuilds.com or give us a call us at 970-453-2230.