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Taft Faculty House: Award Winning Energy Efficiency

Market: Residential - Education
Type: Faculty Housing
Location: Watertown, CT
Developer/Owner: BPC Green Builders
Architect: Trillium Architects
Building Size: 3,891 sf
Certifications: ENERGY STAR, DOE Building America Partner, EPA Indoor air PLUS, LEED for Homes, Passive House (PHIUS), Zero Energy Certified - Living Building Challenge

The Taft School faculty home designed by Trillium Architects serves as a high performance residence and learning lab for students. Constructed by sustainability industry veterans, BPC Green Builders, the home achieved a HERS 33 excluding PV and with the 13.1 kW  the HERS index is -14. Located on a quiet street adjacent to campus the existing, historic home was deconstructed for its efficient replica. Taft School Director of Environmental Stewardship, Carly Borken has used the design and construction process as a teaching tool for her science classes. With access to the home monitoring system, her students can virtually access the residents’ consumption. This project won Third Place in the 2014 Connecticut Zero Energy Home Challenge.

Project Services

Steven Winter Associates provided Green Building Certification, Sustainability Consulting, and Third Party Verification and Testing for this project.

Awards

  • USGBC LEED Homes Award Winner
  • 2015 Housing Innovation Awards Grand Winner
  • CTGBC Residential Award of Honor
  • CT Zero Energy Challenge Award Winner

Primary Energy Conservation and Green Building Features

  • The Taft House is an all electric home with no combustion appliances
  • The team installed Klearwall awnings or casements over fixed glass (to mimic double hungs) with simulated divided lites (u-values as low as 0.13)
  • A high solar heat gain coefficient (0.58) facilitates the passive solar gain for winter months, while well designed overhangs and pergola shade summer sun
  • The house tested 0.6ACH50 proving the effectiveness of its air-tight envelope and attention to air sealing. Heating and cooling is provided by efficient air source heat pumps (9.2 HSPF, 16.5 SEER) and delivered by short duct runs which tested extremely tight.
  • Low flow fixtures are WaterSense certified, appliances are Energy Star labeled, and all LED lighting.
  • A Zehnder Novus 300 (93.3% efficient) HRV supplies 112 cfm of continuous fresh air ventilation; using only 32 watts of power and runs quietly.
  • Chemicals and contaminants were reduced by using low VOC and GreenGuard certified sealants, adhesives, primers, and paints.
  • The granite front steps were salvaged and local stone used for the patio and stone walls.
  • Storm water runoff from the roof, patio, and driveway is managed by the rain garden and native landscaping is low maintenance.