Proud Green Home at Serenbe reflects green building themes (Part 1)

Proud Green Home at Serenbe reflects green building themes (Part 1)


The Proud Green Home at Serenbe officially opens Aug. 16-17, 2013. This net-zero high-performance was designed to showcase nine themes of sustainable building and living. Here are the first three of those themes that are also on display at the Proud Green Home at Serenbe in the Serenbe community southwest of Atlanta.

Read part 2.

Read part 3.


Serenbe entrance

Come be at Serenbe

Let’s say you could create the perfect place to live. Blank slate. Anything you want.

You might want a place where your quality of life was extraordinarily high. Where you felt an easy sense of community. Where the principles of sustainability touched everything from your home’s methods of construction to the organic produce on your table that was grown by one of your neighbors.

Speaking of neighbors, you might prefer an eclectic group, from artists to writers to farmers to business people.

You might like to walk paths that take you through both forest and meadow. Ride horses along tree-lined canopied trails, or hear music outdoors in your neighborhood amphitheatre.

Maybe you’d just like a place to get away, a place where you can enjoy a simpler life. For miles around you, the Chattahoochee Hill Country is protected with a master plan that calls for 80% green space.

Let’s say you’d like a place where you can stroll as well as stride. Where you can spend time being as well as doing. Then perhaps Serenbe is a place where you’d be at home.


Tight home envelope

Keeping it tight

Who would leave a window open 24x7? That's what living in the average home is like. With cracks and crevices and leaky seams, air moves through the walls carrying moisture and pollutants at all times.

These small holes add up to the equivalent of leaving a window open. The air you're paying to heat and cool, most likely with fossil fuels, escapes through these holes.

Even a well-crafted home can have air loss through leaks that, if accumulated, would be a hole roughly the size of a computer monitor.

Some air movement is expected, through wall penetrations and openings like heating and air conditioning intakes and dryer vents. But you don't want any surprises here.

Imagine a whole home where the total leaks accumulate to be smaller than a four inch round hole, less than the size of the opening of a large foam cup.

That's a tight home. That means the air you pay to heat and cool does its job. You can most likely use a smaller, more efficient heating and cooling system. And, home occupants are more comfortable as outdoor moisture and irritants stay outdoors.

The following reveals the tightness of The Proud Green Home relative to a typical home and various code requirements:

Air tightness is measured in air changes per hour (ach) 

Typical home:        12.0 ach
Georgia code (2009 IECC*):     7.0 ach
2012 IECC*:       3.0 ach
The Proud Green Home:  0.23 ach             

*International Energy Conservation Code

The Proud Green Home is 35 times tighter than a home built to the current Georgia Building Code, and 13 times tighter than a home built to the proposed future code. A tight home is a healthy, efficient, comfortable and durable home.

It's your refuge. You want it to be a high performance home.

 [The sun]

solar orientation

Using what the universe gives us

Each day, flowers bend to soak up the sun, drawn by its life-giving warmth. In the meantime we hide from the sun's heat, enabled by fossil fueled air conditioning.

Intelligently harnessing the power of sun delivers warmth and comfort and lowers a home's burden on the environment.

The home's design started with knowing how the sun would shine on the home every day of the year. That knowledge dictated the angle of the roof. Other simple and effective techniques shield the home from heat in the summer and heat with the sun in the winter:

  • Roof overhangs
  • Window shading
  • Slatted covering of rear deck

These design elements manage temperatures naturally during the changing seasons, reducing the load on mechanical air conditioning and heating.

Of course, high-performance windows play a role. Fitted with two panes of low-e glass filled with argon gas, these windows help keep warm air inside in the winter and block heat in summer.

Turn your face to the light of the sun. It's come a long way, just for you.

Read more at the Proud Green Home at Serenbe research center.

Topics: Building Green, Foundations, Insulation, Photovoltaic / Solar Panels, Proud Green Home at Serenbe, Solar Power, Sustainable Communities

Companies:, Kohler, BASF Corporation, PPG Pittsburgh Paints, Kleendeck, LLC, Serenbe Sustainable Community, LG Squared, Inc., The Imery Group, Benjamin Obdyke, Zehnder America, Huber Engineered Woods, Wood-Mode, Inc.

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