The Green retrofit by Monica E. Kuhn of her office is a demonstration of what can be done using readily available modern construction systems. Zero fossil fuels consumed for heating, an 80% reduction in heat consumption, designing for greater use of passive air ventilation, and roof gardening are a few of the new features in the office side of the combined house. The office has also moved to a remarkable 81 EnerGuide Rating and both houses together have reduced CO2 production to the atmosphere by 25,500 pounds (12.7 tons) per year.
Home Envelope - much improved from the original drafty 1900 period home. The retrofit was started on the inside, keeping the solid structure and will eventually finish with a new exterior. The historical character of the front facade was retained and refurbished. From R5 to R38 final design for the full wall heat loss resistance. The renovated office has achieved an 80% reduction in actual amount of heating required as compared to the original home.
Windows & Doors - the focus here is for optimal thermal resistance (R value) and natural air flow. The windows use an Eco-Glass (TM) triple glazed glass units installed into standard wooden window frames. The result is an R7.29 & R 7.69 in the windows, almost double of a standard double low-E glazed unit. All the windows are operable and we have installed transom windows in the front doors and roof skylight windows for air circulation even when nobody is home.
Solar, Off-Peak Electric & Cordwood Heating - this home is heated using zero fossil fuels. Our subcontracted engineering firm, Sustainable Edge, designed a heating system that could store heat in the form of hot water from 3 different sources and then circulate the hot water when needed by the rads. Our solar panels will be added to the system at a future date.
Air Conditioning & De-Humidification - using a small heat pump the owners are able to cool incoming fresh air to the office and house and direct the rejected heat into the subsoil beneath the site through a series of ground loops.
Office & Home Combination - one of the most important features of this project is that the owners have combined two semi-detached homes. The additional space allows for a home office to be set up and elimination of the daily commute. The new layout of the combined home provides the owners with a larger living space and the ability to close off a portion of the larger house for a future separate suite.
Roofgarden - is included in the home's design to resist summer heat loading (sunshine), improve the air quality around the home, absorb rainfall, and provide a beautiful meadow. The roof structure was upgraded to support the heavier roofgarden, and special roof membrane (Soprema), plants & plant media employed to ensure long lasting success of the greenroof meadow. The roofgarden was installed in the summer of 2009.
Further Features - The green home features don't stop there. Low & No VOC interior paints, carpets containing recycled content, low watt mechanical pumps & heat recovery ventilator (HRV) fan motors, Power-Pipe waste water heat recovery unit are also included in the home to reduce the energy consumption and increase the comfort of the residents. The owners have also invested in laying the ground work for future add-on systems such as rain water collection/cistern to supply non-potable fixtures (toilets & laundry machine).