ITF Guide to Green Building
Your Partner in High Performance Home Building
ITF TruFit kits consist of the building blocks neccessary to achieve a high performance home, but we cannot do it alone. We will need to work together as a team to ensure that your design and kit are complimented with the proper mechanical and electrical systems to achieve the best results.
What is Green Building?
Green building, also known as sustainable building or high-performance building, refers to the design, construction, and operation of buildings in an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient manner. This includes minimizing the environmental impact of the building and maximizing its efficiency in terms of energy, water, and material usage.
There are several principles that guide green building practices, including:
- Energy efficiency: Green buildings use energy-efficient materials, appliances, and systems to reduce their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Water efficiency: Green buildings use water-efficient fixtures and systems to reduce water consumption and protect natural water resources.
- Material efficiency: Green buildings use materials that are sustainably sourced, durable, and have low environmental impact.
- Indoor environmental quality: Green buildings aim to provide good indoor air quality and thermal comfort for occupants, which can improve health and productivity.
- Site and land use: Green buildings consider the impact of the building on the surrounding environment and use strategies such as green roofs, rainwater harvesting, and landscaping to mitigate this impact.
There are several rating systems that certify green buildings, including LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes, Energy Star, and Passive House. These systems provide guidelines and criteria for designing, constructing, and operating green buildings, and offer certification to buildings that meet their standards.
Green Building Checklist:
The simplified checklist outlines the 10 primary requirements in a high-performance home. Detailed below, is how we can help you address each item throughout the process while working with Integrity Timber Frame.
The home must have high levels of insulation to reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.
The windows must be energy-efficient, with low U-values and high solar heat gain coefficients to reduce heat loss and reduce the need for heating and cooling.
3. Heating & Cooling
The home must have an energy-efficient heating and cooling system, such as a high-efficiency furnace, air source heat pump, or geothermal heat pump.
4. Water Heating
The home must have an energy-efficient water heating system, such as a tankless water heater or a heat pump water heater.
The home must have Energy Star certified appliances to reduce energy consumption.
The home must have energy-efficient lighting, such as LED bulbs, throughout the house.
7. Renewable Energy Source
The home must have a renewable energy system such as solar, wind, or microhydropwer to generate electricity.
8. Building Envelope
The home must have a tight building envelope to reduce heat loss and heat gain and improve overall energy efficiency.
The home must have an energy-efficient ventilation system to provide fresh air and remove stale air.
10. Energy Monitoring
The home must have a system in place to monitor and track energy usage to help homeowners identify opportunities for energy savings.
How We Can Help!
The baseline TruFit Kit by Integrity Timber Frame can help you hit three of the ten requirements outlined in the High-Performance checklist. In order to achieve maximum efficiency, we’ll work together to plan and execute the remaining seven.
Heating & Cooling
We will work with you to determine your structure’s optimal, most efficient heating and cooling (HVAC) systems. Depending on what climate zone you are building in and your personal preferences (such as a wood-burning fireplace), we’ll help calculate what system you need and design the mechanical systems to complement the overall aesthetic.
Water heating is not our speciality, but we have a number of units that we can recommend based on the requirements of your structure. Visit the links below to learn more about each type of water heater and their particular use cases.
It’s 2023, and Energy Star appliances are now the standard. It’s no longer a luxury. The price point for efficient appliances has decreased over the past decade, practically eliminating all Non-High Efficiency appliances from the showroom.
Energy Star appliances are a significant step in the right direction, but Heat Pump appliances are gaining popularity for those seeking ultimate efficiency. Heat pumps rely solely on electricity rather than oil or natural gas and operate up to 50% more efficiently than standard appliances.
Lighting has completely transformed over the past couple of decades. LED lighting systems provide incomparable efficiency while offering a wide variety of unique architectural features that are not so easily achieved with standard CFL or Incandescent lighting.
While working through your preliminary design, we will help guide your lighting selection based on your goals and draft rough electrical plans to ensure the lighting features you desire function and flow as intended throughout the structure.
We understand that the upfront investment in a renewable energy system can be daunting. It’s another high-performance feature that requires commitment and trust upfront, knowing that the long-term benefits overwhelm short-term expenditures.
Depending on where you are building, you may have a few options for a renewable energy source. Since we do not have boots on the ground, it is your responsibility to determine the best choice in your area. We will then help incorporate the system into our design and prefabricated kit so that everything functions as intended.
Ventilation is vital in any high-performance home. The air-tight building envelope constructed using SIP (structural insulated panel) wall and roof panels is excellent for insulation and overall efficiency but tough on ventilation.
In order to ensure proper ventilation throughout a SIPs structure, an ERV (energy recovery ventilator) must be installed as a part of the mechanical system. The ERV system expels contaminated indoor air and introduces clean outdoor air, free of pet dander, mold, dust, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and excess carbon dioxide.
When designing your home, we will discuss which ERV system is most appropriate based on the size and layout of the structure.
We take pride in our work, and our clients do too. We are your partner, working together to build a high-performance home. As your partner in the experience, we take on the expense of having your home rated by a RESNET HERS-certified home energy rater to test and monitor the overall efficiency of the structure.
A home evaluation can help identify areas for improvement, but it can also build value in your investment. Homes with low HERS scores and notable high performance upgrades can be worth up to 10% more than a conventional counterpart.
Whether you’re building to own or building to rent, a high-performance home’s improved value and lower operating costs are unparalleled.