Healthy, Environmentally Responsible Homes
Homes achieve high energy performance through smart, "green" design and the latest technology. Passive solar siting, super insulation in walls and roof, and high-tech ventilation systems reduce heating and cooling requirements, while maintaining excellent indoor air quality. Geothermal HVAC systems provide cost-effective climate control. This combination maximizes comfort and minimizes expense. As one builder exclaimed, "You could heat one of these houses with a match!"
Lot owners may 1) work with an approved architect in utilizing existing plans (see additional information below), 2) modify these plans to suit their household’s needs, or 3) work with an approved architect to design a home. All designs must meet the requirements of the Architectural and Environmental Guidelines. Copies of the Architectural and Environmental Guidelines are available upon request to prospective purchasers.
Three nationally recognized architects, working with input from future residents and other experts, have designed six different classic, contemporary homes for EcoVillage. The three larger designs, ranging from 2,132 square feet to 2,873 square feet (including basement), offer 1 - 4 bedroom options. The three smaller designs, ranging from 1,440 square feet to 2,138 square feet (including basement), offer 1 - 3 bedroom options. EcoVillage homes can be personalized to your lifestyle and preferences by selecting from various options and alternates or by customization by an approved architect.
Each of these six house designs has its own kitchen, bathrooms and living areas. The designs eliminate wasted space yet offer plenty of extras such as porches, a first floor bedroom, vaulted ceilings and the capacity to serve as “growhomes” that can accept later building additions. Passive solar design creates bright living areas that connect beautifully with the outdoors.
Note that the six standard house designs will require modification by the owner’s architect in order to meet current building code requirements and individual site and owner preferences.
Selection of construction material for EcoVillage homes and Common House has involved an in-depth review of each material according to criteria that represent EcoVillage twin goals for environmental sensitivity and marketability/affordability. Compromise was inevitable and thus final materials selection reflects a balance of sometimes competing values. Overall, construction materials are encouraged to be selected according to the following criteria:
Effect on the Macro Environment
o atmospheric impact
o water use and pollution
o resource depletion
o biodiversity and habitat loss
o embodied energy
o potential for energy saving
o recycled content
o potential for reuse/recyclability
o life span/durability
o waste produced during installation
o health issues in manufacturing process
o health hazards for installers
o health effects on users/occupants
In general, materials and techniques used in EcoVillage homes have been screened to reduce their adverse environmental and health impact during production, transport and use. The criteria of durability, aesthetics and value engineering also figured into the materials selection.
The following description outlines a number of the products currently used or called for in the standard house designs, based on manufacturer information.
Geothermal Energy Systems
Utilizing electrical energy, geothermal systems are extremely efficient. Because they draw on the earth's constant temperature of approximately 55 degrees, geothermal systems use far less energy than air-to-air heat pumps. They can cut heating and cooling costs by 30% to 60% and provide hot water. They offer constant, even temperature and humidity control and have no pilot lights, chimneys, odors or fumes. They help reduce outdoor noise and air pollution. Each house includes a ventilator system to promote efficient exchange of fresh outdoor air with indoor air. www.fhp-mfg.com
Although optional in the standard designs, radiant heating can be achieved by running flexible cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) tubing within concrete flooring or between floor joists or trusses. Solar thermal heat can produce hot water that circulates through the tubes. PEX tubing can also be used for plumbing in homes.
Foundations / Basements
All of the six home designs have basements. Foundations are made of an eight-inch poured, reinforced concrete wall. Twenty percent of the Portland Cement is replaced with flyash. Fiber reinforcement may be used in slabs in place of welded wire fabric.
Standard designs call for structural insulated panels (SIP) to be used for above ground exterior walls (6 inches thick at R-24) and roofing (10 inches thick at R-40). SIPs are strong, one-piece structural system of oriented strand board that sandwiches expanded polystyrene insulation and lends itself to conventional building materials and methods. It will not twist or warp and provides optimum comfort for temperature, noise and dust control, and is insect repellent. No CFCs, HCFCs or HFCs are given off by the product. There is a lifetime limited warranty on SIP. www.rcontrolibs.com
Windows & Doors
High efficiency Weather Shield windows (R-4 as a standard) are argon filled with low emissivity features to reduce solar bleaching effects on furnishings. Aluminum cladding requires limited maintenance. Because of the south facing placement of all homes and the placement of windows on all sides of the house, interior daylighting will reduce the need for artificial lighting. Insulated metal doors with magnetic weather stripping are planned for all exterior openings. www.weathershield.com
Made from 100% recycled vinyl and sawdust,, many of the homes use EcoShake roofing shingles that have an attractive woodshake appearance. They are hail-proof and are warranted for 50 years. Colorants are solid throughout the product so the color cannot wear off, chip off or wash away. These shingles offer high resistance to moisture and are UV protected. Freeze/thaw cycling causes no cracking or deterioration. Shingles have a Class "A" fire rating and may lower household insurance premiums. Solar thermal and/or photovoltaic panels may be placed on roofs or nearby ground mounted systems. www.oikos.com
Hardiplank looks like wood, but is a fiber-cement composition that installs like traditional sidings. It has a variety of surface textures that can be finished with paint. The product is immune to termite and insect damage. It is non-combustible, won't split, crack, rot, warp or buckle and comes with a 50 year warranty for the siding and a 15 year warranty for the exterior paint. www.jameshardie.com
Lighting, Electric Wiring & Telecommunications
Interior house lighting in standard designs has been custom designed to complement the natural day lighting of these passive solar homes. The lighting design includes full spectrum florescent, low energy lights and automatic dimmer functions on some fixtures. Wall sconces are featured in bedrooms and basements. Uplighting over kitchen cabinets are positioned to flood kitchen ceilings with light. Task lights over sinks and under cabinets direct light to needed work areas. Where outdoor lighting is necessary, full cut-off lights that preserve starlight and allow for exposure to darkness for nearby flora and fauna, are to be used.
Standard home designs call for pre-wired for telephone and video with outlets provided in each occupiable space. Optionally, homes may be pre-wired with "homerun" Enhanced CAT 5 cable for telephone/data/internet and RG6 cable for video in each occupiable space.
Full cut-off lighting is used to minimize light pollution, light trespass and glare as well as to be more sensitive to plants and animals. Just as humans have circadian rhythms, animals and plants have their biological clocks that are sensitive to night and dark cycles. Good quality, energy efficient lighting equipment provide a safe nighttime environment, aid pedestrian and vehicular circulation and establish visual identity. By lighting only the ground rather than the sky or our neighbors’ lots, we’re able to see the Milky Way on many clear nights and enjoy other aesthetic aspects that the night brings. Simply put, we’ll see where we need to go, safely, but we’re also able to see the stars!
Plumbing Fixtures, Appliances, Wells & Septic Systems
EcoVillage standard home designs have low-flow plumbing fixtures as a standard. Gerber Ultra Flush toilets have been selected for the homes. Gerber ione of the top choices of "Consumer Reports," with a siphon jet action that virtually eliminates double flushing of the 1.6 gallon per flush system. Maytag ranges and refrigerators are standard in all homes. The models are energy star rated and have extremely high energy efficiency ratings; excellent warranty and service. Individual wells are associated with each lot in the EcoVillage. Advanced, environmentally benign, pretreatment septic systems are standard for all homes.
EcoVillage property owners are welcome to use any licensed builder they wish for construction. Only individuals/organizations holding a sustainable builder certification (LEED® Accredited Professional or Green Advantage Residential Certification) are permitted to conduct major construction. Non-certified builders may bid on projects but must obtain certification prior to commencing construction. Information regarding a listing of builders used in the community as well as sustainable builder certification is available at the Association Office. Also see www.usgbc.org or www.greenadvantage.org.
EcoVillage property owners submit their house and landscaping plans for review and approval by the Architectural and Environmental Committee. During construction, owners are responsible for litter control, minimizing land disturbance, maintenance of silt fencing, etc. The Architectural and Environmental Committees assist property owners in achieving compliance with Architectural and Environmental Guidelines by providing advice, document approvals and periodic inspections.
The Common House provides a setting for EcoVillage community functions, a location for economic initiatives that benefit the EcoVillage Community Association, and a venue for serving the larger community. The EcoVillage Common House is designed and constructed to exemplify green building and harmony with the environment. Functions to be included in the Common House are as follows:
Cooking and Dining
- Dining area that seats 75 people at tables
- Commercial kitchen that allows for multiple cooks at one time
- Storage areas to support the needs of both the kitchen and dining area
- Common meals for 30 people, 5x/week
- Area for children’s games
- Meditation area
- Movie night area
- Area for movement groups: yoga, dance, parties
- Art and crafts area
- Meeting space with chairs and tables
- Meetings with 100 (chairs, no tables)
- Internet café with coffeepot
- Quiet space (small study)
- Great Room with tables and chairs to accommodate approximately 75 people at tables with a lectern, charts, audio/visual equipment
- Room with one table and chairs to accommodate workshops and classes of 10-20
- Room with Murphy bed to accommodate an intern or for guest hosting
- Gallery with lighting on display wall
- School 850 square feet with adequate bathrooms, and storage support areas that meet regulatory requirements for school/daycare/camp
- Food preparation in commercial kitchen
- Large events (reception, concert) 4/year, 100-150 people, storage for piano, acoustical consideration
- Tours with some kind of donor recognition system
- Security alarm and fire alarm
- Lightning protection
- Sound system/PA included with TV/movie capability
- Internet connection
Common House Interior Design Criteria
- Environmentally friendly – [looking for a green interior designer; ideas welcome]
- Low maintenance
- Easily cleaned
- User friendly – function over decoration
- Attractive, comfortable, inviting, warm
- Flexible and accommodating – provides a background that is formal or informal (can be dressed up or down)