Ohio Students Help Build Affordable LEED-Platinum Home

Ohio Students Help Build Affordable LEED-Platinum Home

Trent Johnson
Jul 30, 2009

The Home B.A.S.E. (Building Academic Skills and Experiences) teaches high school students in Columbus, Ohio how to build green homes. Led by a building and technology education teacher at Columbus High School, students work with green building experts to build a LEED Platinum home...

So far the program has built 11 green homes in collaboration with the Columbus Housing Partnership and the Habitat for Humanity. The program has also created partnerships with local business and contractors and has received generous donations in time and materials.

The home pictured here gave 19 high school seniors hands on training in building and working together as a team. Students were so motivated in this project that they often spent weekend hours and time outside of class on the project.

The home, while very green, was built with off-the-shelf products, systems and processes. This includes the flooring, doors, windows, insulation, carpet, etc.

They've documented their progress here with many photos and stories and a great list of green features. The most impressive? Less then 2.4 pounds waste was generated from the building, and almost all of the materials in the dumpster outside were recycled.

Water Features:

  • Low flow Gerber 1.1 gallon/flush pressure assisted, high volume toilets by Gerber
  • Low flow faucet fixtures
  • Rain garden and landscaping – protect the watershed from pollutants. Designed for typical central Ohio year rain events, not long soakers
  • Downspouts for rain. Garden overflows to dry cistern which overflows to the street
  • Drought-resistant plants
  • Low amount of turf
  • The turf is a low-mow mix requiring two cuttings per year and no watering

Indoor Air Quality:
  • All sealants and glues low to no VOC
  • Hard surfaces: donated blemished maple hardwood flooring
  • "Green" recycled content ceramic tiles for bathroom floors and shower surround
  • Panasonic fans with timer control in bathrooms to keep moisture out of the home
  • Tight enclosure to keep unwanted air infiltration from happening – air movement causes water and heat movement. "Make it tight, ventilate it right".
  • Fan cycles the fresh air intake and provides the correct air change per hour to avoid a "sick" house.
  • No or low VOC paints, no off-gassing cabinets
  • No VOC off-gassing counter tops
  • Two inches of foam underneath slab to keep the slab warm and water from condensing and wicking into the basement
  • Radon tight sump pump well. All duct work is sealed at 1" of foam on the outside of the walls to prevent condensation on the interior of wall cavity
  • Two drain tiles systems used to drain foundation water. One on the outside and one on the inside. Both were covered with filter fabric to keep them from silting up. Both drain tiles themselves had filter fabric wrapped around them. From Hancor, an Ohio company

Materials:
  • Concrete counter tops
  • Metal roof with at least a 60 year life. Made from recycled steel and manufactured by a local company Dimensional Metals
  • Homewares as PVC free as possible
  • PVC free ABS drain waste vent system
  • Polyethylene drainage pipe
  • Cementous siding
  • Metal, durable, and very recyclable metal roof
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Materials used in the kitchen cabinets were made from formaldehyde-free wood that was Forest Stewardship Council certified. The doors were made from scraps from the cabinet manufacturing operation. From Green Leaf Cabinetry.

Advanced Framing:
  • House built on a 24" module to avoid waste
  • Roof sloop built to a 24" module so that there was hardly any OSB (oriented strand board) waste
  • Two stud corners
  • Floor joists at 24" module
  • 2 x 6 studs at 24" O. C.– use only as much wood as a 2 x 4 wall framed at 16" O.C.
  • Only a single top plate
  • No solid headers over windows in gable end walls
  • Stacking framing – (see trusses to basement in stairwell)
  • One edge of each window falls on the 24" module
  • No double cripple stud under window to catch the edge of the rough sill
  • Drywall clips used instead of wood blocking
  • Composition beams used instead of solid lumber
  • Water management system for keeping the house warm used from the Building Science Corporation out of Massachusetts
  • Walls flashed correctly from the eaves to the foundation
  • House wrap used and flashed correctly
  • Windows flashed correctly – see blog
  • Behind porch slabs – the walls were flashed with a rubber membrane to overlap the concrete foundation waterproofing
  • Metal drip edge at the bottom of the siding to kick out the water that gets behind the siding
  • Siding has an air gap between and the 1" foam so it doesn't trap water behind the siding and instead allows gravity to pull it down the wall and kick out away from the house via the drip edge
  • Back dams behind on all window rough sills to kick water to the outside when the windows leak
  • Less then 2.4 pounds waste from the building. Almost all of the materials in the dumpster outside will be recycled
  • PEX PVC free plumbing system, and Manablock distribution system
  • Recycling of construction waste
  • Locally manufactured shower enclosures

Energy
  • House uses 72 percent less energy than other houses
  • Triple pane Gilkey Windows from Cincinnati
  • Bryant 97% efficient furnace
  • 2 x 6 walls framed with advanced framing techniques, Contract Lumber Inc
  • 97 percent efficient furnace
  • The SER of the air conditioner was also bumped up because of the high efficiency of the furnace
  • 2" of sprayed in soybean based foam in each wall cavity to stop air leaks
  • 3-1/2 " of dense pack cellulose insulation in addition to the 2" of sprayed in foam in the walls
  • House sealed very tight
  • 1" foam on the outside of the building to warm the walls
  • Continuous foam insulation from the bottom of the interior slab, the band board (which also seals) and to the bottom of the ceiling of the basement
  • Two Kilowatts of solar photovoltaic panels that will be grid tied (Third Sun Solar and Wind)
  • Apricus solar thermal system provides up to 70% of the domestic hot water needs
  • LED can lights
  • Fluorescent lighting throughout the house
  • Renewable energy consulting from Green Energy Ohio

Landscaping/Site
  • Innovative landscaping plan with drought resistant plants and rainwater collection systems make a perfect urban oasis that uses no water in its maintenance
  • All of the plant materials were chosen specifically for this site to be drought resistant, native to Ohio and that will thrive at this site.

HomeBase07 via GreenBuildingAdvisor

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