Green building, sustainable building. Every builder tries to hang that mantle on their homes, but are they really ascribing to the practices that will reduce a home’s impact on the environment, both during building and for the life of the home?
At Kent Construction, we’re committed to sustainable building for our interested clients, as evidenced by one of our recent homes in the Thaynes Canyon area of Park City.
What is sustainable building?
Green/sustainable building refers to the processes and the final project all being built and later operating in an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient fashion. These sustainable practices should encompass every part of the construction process: siting, design, demolition (if needed), construction, operation, and day-to-day operation. At Kent Construction, we view this as making the best use of materials, energy, water, even natural elements such as passive solar.
Our Thaynes Canyon project
These days, it seems everyone thinks bigger is better when it comes to building their dream home. But, the team at Kent Construction recently completed a project where the clients wanted to downsize into a modern, efficient house about one third the size of their former house. This decision was environmentally based — the owners didn’t feel they needed the space and didn’t like the impact their larger home had on the environment, both in terms of their carbon footprint and in areas such as water usage.
We partnered with the architect and owner to create and build a modern, efficiently designed abode. From top to bottom, the house incorporates some of the latest sustainable building practices, seriously shrinking the family’s carbon footprint and saving serious energy costs at the same time.
Sustainable features top to bottom
- The home is “modern compact design,” utilizing straight lines and an efficient floor plan.
- Rooftop solar panels are tied to the grid to offset electricity usage, building credits during sunny hours for use at night and during storms.
- LED lighting throughout. LED lights are the most energy-efficient lighting options available. Plus, they have great flexibility in color tone, bulb type, and placement. Unlike compact fluorescent lighting, which can be harsh, LEDs offer a far warmer, more inviting look, while saving a crazy amount of energy per bulb. Most LED bulbs have a rated life of 50,000 hours, 50 times longer than incandescent, 25 times longer than halogen, and 8-10 times longer than compact fluorescent. Used 12 hours-per-day, an LED bulb should last 11 years!
- Hydronic radiant floors heated by highly efficient boiler. The Department of Energy rates the radiant heated floors we installed throughout this house as the most cost-effective heating method. It doesn’t have the duct waste of forced air heating, plus the boiler used to heat the system is high-efficiency.
- The HVAC system has an air-side economizer, which draws cool air from the outside as a form of free cooling. This system works well in our low-humidity environment, especially when considering how fast the outside air can cool.
- Blown-in polyurethane foam insulation with a high R value means there are no holes or gaps, so the coverage is uniform and effective.
- The house’s orientation on the lot maximizes passive solar heating and shading.
- Roof water is reclaimed in a series of daisy chained Ivy 50-gallon rain barrels. They are gravity-fed so no pumps are required.
This house proves that new construction can be highly efficient in energy and resource use, and in layout. At Kent Construction, we take pride in our ability to incorporate sustainable building practices and materials in our new construction.
Ask us about how we can do that for your dream home.