It's been a busy few weeks, which hopefully is a sign that the economy is picking up!
Part of our busyness has been getting this particular project in for permit, and having discussions with the owner, contractor, Title 24 consultant and window suppliers, to start to evaluate the potential "greening" of this home. Now, many of you may think that "greening" means some strange design with plants on the roof, or perhaps covered in solar panels, perhaps using technology or materials that are not tried and tested, or subject to "green-washing" by manufacturers hoping to enter into the construction product market. (How green is a countertop material that is manufactured sustainably, but comes all the way from Israel, for example?) Though these can certainly be analyzed and defined as green and be beautiful, most homeowners we come in contact with still prefer more traditional looking homes. I wanted to start out by assuring you that this home is a very traditional French Mediterranean design with stucco walls and clay tile roof, found all over the Bay Area as well as in Europe, and its' construction materials are very traditional, tried and true.
There are three basic requirements of a BuildItGreen Green Point Rated home that have to be met before you start to calculate any points.
One: A2a Divert/Recycle demolition waste and construction material waste. 50% is required for the rating.
The city in which the project is located already required 60%, so there is no additional cost required. Many municipalities in California have understood the importance of recycling/reuse and have developed their own standards. There are also companies such as The Reuse People, which will organize the demolition process for you to maximize the recycling effort and obtain tax credits for the homeowner, which can sometimes offset all the costs of demolition, resulting in a net savings.
Two: J2. Design and Build Energy Efficient Homes - You must exceed California Title 24 requirements by at least 15%.
This required a bit of research as the preliminary Title 24 calculations prepared and submitted for permit showed we were only 2% over Title 24. Our consultant, Mark Madison of Energy Code Works told us that for our climate, we did not need to add extra insulation or do anything differently, we needed to take a closer look at the windows. Since for most of our projects the windows are chosen during construction by the owner and contractor in light of the overall budget, we do not have a particular manufacturer's specifications to plug into the calculations. Mark is then forced to use a lower default value for the U-value (.58) and shading coefficients. After getting quotes from several manufacturers for double glazed clad windows, we opted for low e glazing with a .32 U-factor (vs .43 for clear). With a total window price of about $28,000, the clear glass would have saved about $2000, but the owners had planned to use low e so for now, there is still no additional cost incurred. Mark Madison revised the calculations, and we are now at 22.4% over Title 24, garnering 44 points, with no changes to the project design or budget!
Three: N1 Incorporate Green Point Checklist in Blueprints. This should take about two hours of our time, to put in the list,and also add notes throughout the drawings and specifications. Estimated cost $250.
We are currently filling out the Green Point Rated checklist and having some things priced, so this discussion will continue. Stay tuned for part 3!