Paving the Way for Resource Efficiency

A California builder goes beyond the basics to create a residence where home performance and resource conservation are essential.
Paving the Way for Resource Efficiency
Casa Aguila, a 4-bedroom home in Ramona, CA, was custom-built for homeowners looking to be grid-independent in the future. Designed and constructed by Alliance Green Builders to stringent California Title 24 Standards, the project includes numerous resource-saving highlights. In a state where water is a scarce resource, Casa Aguila was built with water conservation in mind. One of their biggest hurdles was obtaining a blackwater permit in a County not known to be open to new ideas. While these systems typically use very complex machinery, the Casa Aguila design was much simpler and was created with a built-in backup system that utilized the existing septic tank and leach field. With the help of the project consultant, Bill Wilson, they were able to categorize the system as an “advanced wastewater treatment system”, allowing the home to become the first residential project in San Diego to obtain a blackwater treatment permit. “If we had been going for a greywater permit alone, it ... read more
 

A New York-based Home Builder’s Journey Toward Zero Energy Ready Homes

An aspiration to create durable homes leads this builder to higher home performance and a zero energy goal.
A New York-based Home Builder’s Journey Toward Zero Energy Ready Homes
After building his own home, Greenhill Contracting president, Anthony Aebi, reflected on the way homes are built in the U.S., as well as the lack of higher code standards. His background in Swiss homebuilding, and a desire to build more durably, eventually led him to the use of Insulated Concrete Forms ("ICF") in all exterior walls of the homes he built. The noticeable improvement in home performance set in motion a quest towards zero-energy homes. "[Since 2007 our] team has worked tirelessly to reduce the construction costs associated with high-performance homes, including developing continuous improvements...with the use of ICFs, spray foam thermal, and air-control strategies," says Aebi. Photos: Amy Dooley While there are no actual building code standards directed towards disaster resilience in the Esopus, New York area, homeowners automatically receive the benefits of durability because of the reinforcements ICFs provide. In addition, this type of construction allows ... read more
 

Selling Energy Efficient Homes

You've built an energy efficient, high performance home...but now how do you sell it?
Selling Energy Efficient Homes
Over thirty years ago, builders began approaching Gord Cooke about utilizing building science in their construction processes. Many expressed interest in incorporating energy strategies into their homes, but they also went back to their offices wondering how to actually sell it. "The mistake is assuming that if it has to do with energy efficiency, to sell it as energy efficiency," says Cooke. With over a decade of energy and marketing research studies, data from the Shelton Group shows that while many buyers are interested in energy efficiency, they are rarely motivated to buy a home simply because it will save them energy. Most buyers get caught up in other aspects of the home building process - the location, the paint colors, the countertops and cabinets - energy efficiency tends to get lost in the conversation. But where does it fit it? While Shelton’s group collects data through surveys and research, Cooke enjoys physically visiting sales centers for proof that people... read more
 

Leading From the Ground Up

The Innovation Summit at EEBA’s High Performance Home Summit offered attendees a greater opportunity for meaningful discussion.
Leading From the Ground Up
Industry events can, at times, be predictable. Same speakers, same topics, same format. And while presenters are grasping for an opportunity to create an atmosphere of authenticity in their presentation, there’s rarely enough time left for a good discussion afterwards. Last year’s conference in Atlanta not only offered PechaKucha, but also the first EEBA Innovation Summit. Assembling a panel packed with diverse backgrounds and expertise, Colby Swanson and Calvin Trumbo of Momentum Innovation Group, joined forces with Mike Hess of Panasonic CityNow, and Aaron Holm of Blokable to give attendees a taste of project and product innovation happening within the industry. Hess explained how Panasonic is utilizing technology to build the smart city of tomorrow. Holm, an ex-Amazon exec, described the housing issues they are trying to help solve at Blokable, and Swanson and Trumbo went into detail about areas inside and outside the industry that are pushing the boundaries of... read more
 

Upcoming HERS Associate Courses

The HERS Associate course will provide attendees with a greater understanding of what it takes to design a high performance, energy efficient home.
Upcoming HERS Associate Courses
EEBA will be offering the new HERS Associate course ("An Introduction to the HERS Index & IECC Compliance") in Atlanta and Raleigh during the month of May, and in June in Denver. The class is geared towards (but not limited to) builders, realtors, designers, architects, new home salespeople, manufacturing representatives, and sustainability students who are not certified HERS Raters. Mike Barcik, Technical Principal at Southface Institute, will lead the day-long, 3-part course introducing attendees to the HERS Index and exploring how it’s used to comply with the building code. "I really enjoy teaching this class. It covers the basic content of the energy code and demonstrates methods of compliance," says Barcik. "It also demonstrates how the HERS index is determined and how the Rating industry can help builders achieve code compliance and receive credit for beyond-code measures." Each class will begin with basic Building Science principles and how they relate to the... read more
 

High Performance Homes in Under 7 Minutes

Less is more when it comes to PechaKucha at EEBA's High Performance Home Summit
At this year’s High Performance Home Summit in San Diego, we'll be bringing back the highly rated PechaKucha. Last year's standing room only session gave attendees a chance to get a quick glimpse of multiple presentations. PechaKucha is a style of presenting aimed at quickly and creatively conveying a message. Presenters have under seven minutes to keep the audience engaged through 20 slides while being as concise and informative as possible, and ending with a short Q&A. Luis Imery presents during PechaKucha at the 2017 High Performance Home Summit in Atlanta (Click to View Video) Winners from the Department of Energy's Housing Innovation Awards have participated in the last two PechaKucha events at EEBA's High Performance Home Summit. Facilitator and EEBA Board Member, Alex Glenn, hopes to see more industry leaders and innovative thinkers get involved this year. "I like PechaKucha for many reasons, including how many ideas can be presented in such a short amount of... read more
 

What the Duck

The adoption of new technology can benefit everyone, if the right steps are taken to modernize infrastructure.
What the Duck
Our technology-driven world comes with great advancements and achievements, but also many challenges. Autonomous vehicles are a good example. The success and progression of this technology will require federal, state and local government input, as well as material manufacturers and automakers - all working together to help create and improve future infrastructure. And how about solar? While California, Florida, and Arizona understand the benefits of utilizing solar panels, utilities are still figuring out some of the details. This is resulting in rate changes, or laws being put in place, to prohibit or reduce the amount of solar that can be installed. And that’s not progress. So how do we adopt technologies in a way in which they actually benefit our infrastructure? This was just one of the questions Dan Wildenhaus and Shaun Hassel posed to attendees at the 2017 EEBA Summit in their lively, 90-minute session, "What the Duck". "We're always looking early in the year to get the ... read more