Building Green Homes

“The builder/client relationship is a sacred alliance, no different than any other
professional relationship in terms of confidentiality and trust, and we never forget that.”

Most everyone has heard by now that green homes are healthy, energy efficient, and here to stay. No longer an overpriced style known for its limited options, these sustainable homes are becoming increasingly favored by homeowners as smart, healthy, and luxurious alternatives to traditional homes.

Our approach to building green homes really starts with two underlying premises:

  • Proper Design – Site orientation, eaves and overhangs, and window placement all contribute to how your home performs. Are you going to fight nature or work with it?
  • Proper Building Details – Advanced air sealing, reduced thermal bridging, mechanical ventilation, and low VOC products to name a few increase the comfort level within the home and your overall health.

Lamar Valley Craftsman embraces and believes in the approach of building sustainable homes. Our job is to listen and understand your values and principles and the objective you are trying to achieve. Does a child have asthma and the indoor air quality needs to be controlled? Do you want to lower your energy bills through super-efficient mechanical systems? Do you want to reduce water consumption throughout your home and landscaping?

We will present you with accurate information and multiple options for achieving your objectives of building a high performance home through a realistic balance of budget and lifestyle and the guiding principles of how we build green homes. We will also provide you with accurate information about cost and environmental impact so you can make the best decision for you and your family.

Each project has its own set of requirements and constraints that dictate the final product and, by addressing these factors in the initial design phase, Lamar Valley Craftsman will build a green home and what is ultimately a better home.

Components of Green Homes

Lamar Valley Craftsman has been involved with building many green homes over the years, incorporating in-floor radiant heat, photovoltaic electric systems, geothermal heating and cooling, nontoxic products, solar thermal water heating, super-efficient mechanical systems, rammed earth wall construction, and advanced air sealing to name a few. Many of our projects’ high performance details, HERS scores, and fun features are outlined within the project gallery section of our website.

Green homes built by Lamar Valley Craftsman are high performance homes with an array of major technical features that are outlined below. This more sensitive approach to the building process represents a substantial shift in the homebuilding industry today.

Solar Smart Windows

High performance windows improve year-round comfort while reducing energy bills and winter condensation. Low-e and solar coatings on all windows, including the ones in the basement, are the cornerstone to window performance.

Insulation

A great insulation package found in green homes provides better comfort in all seasons and lower energy bills throughout the year. Attention to detail at installation is the key to this requirement, along with advanced air sealing. A blown wall insulation system that has no gaps or voids, plus R-10 rigid insulation at the exterior wall adds thermal value and creates a thermal break that reduces energy consumption further.

Tight Construction

A tightly built home with controlled ventilation gives the homeowner more control over energy use, comfort, and health. This is achieved with advanced air sealing that limits drafts and reduces airflow to the home from low-quality sources.

Solar Design and Lighting

Designing with the sun in mind reduces energy bills and creates better comfort in all seasons. Home orientation, window placement, and shading, along with future options to add a solar system for electrical and heating needs, are all important considerations in green homes. More thought toward lighting details can provide a more pleasant home and lower energy bills.

Exterior Water Management

Keeping water out of the house avoids mold and water-related problems. Proper drainage details for site, roof, walls, and foundation are paramount to this construction detail. Tight construction, proper cladding and flashing, effective humidification, and ventilation control are all factors that need attention during design and construction.

Healthy Indoor Air

Vital to good health are green homes with tight construction and controlled mechanical ventilation that brings clean fresh air into the home 24 hours a day. Materials and equipment that create fewer pollutants also need to be taken into consideration when designing your project.

Combustion Safety

Essential for safety and healthy indoor air is to have sealed combustion appliances, including fireplaces, hot water heaters, and furnaces, in addition to exterior-vented range hoods. High efficiency heating appliances mean furnaces always being 90%+ efficient sealed combustion units and hot water supplied by tankless heaters or solar panels. Tankless hot water units also mean water is heated only when you need it, not all day long.

Summer Cooling Choices

Many approaches to summer cooling and comfort in green homes are much less expensive than air conditioning. Smart solar design and home orientation, solar smart windows, and simple cooling features such as whole house fans and evaporative coolers are great options. If an air conditioning unit has to be added, a high efficiency unit or a mini-split is a great choice.

Forced Air Cooling and Heating Equipment

Equipment that has been properly sized using a Manual J calculation and installed correctly lasts longer and provides better comfort for your family. Accurate design and load calculations will ensure that the equipment installed will perform at its maximum efficiency, last longer, and use the least amount of energy, which equates to more money in your pocket.

Forced Air Cooling and Heating Ductwork

Ductwork details affect comfort and the daily operation of the heating and cooling equipment. All ductwork is properly designed using a Manual D calculation, and all air supply ducts and returns in green homes built by Lamar Valley Craftsman are hard piped and properly sealed using mastic to ensure design performance.

Appliances

Appliance energy use is a growing part of the energy bill. All appliances that are put into the home should be Energy Star rated to ensure the least amount of energy usage.