DOE Tour of Zero: TREE at EcoVillage by AquaZephyr
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AquaZephyr, LLC, built this 22,600-square-foot, 15-unit multifamily building in Ithaca, New York, to the performance criteria of the U.S. Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program. The angular decks and entry area were designed to increase the amount of southern exposure for passive solar gain.
This multifamily structure is part of EcoVillage at Ithaca, a community of energy-efficient multifamily, duplex, and single-family homes built around shared community gardens, open spaces, and ponds.
Durable fiber cement, stained wood, and 29-gauge metal siding; metal roofing; covered entries; triple-pane windows; and earthquake strapping all add to the storm resistance of this multifamily building in upstate New York.
Nearly three-fourths of the building’s lighting is provided by advanced-technology LEDs and the remainder is high-efficiency compact fluorescent lighting.
The building is so well-insulated that baseboard electric heaters are enough to meet the low heating demands.
Rigid foam insulation beneath the foundation footing ties into perimeter insulation and under-slab insulation as part of a continuous thermal blanket around the building.
Two layers of rigid foam insulation wrap the foundation slab, helping to keep floors warm in the winter.
The exterior walls are filled with a mold-resistant glass mineral wool insulation then covered with a coated OSB sheathing plus a fire-rated mineral wool foam board, plus two inches of foil-faced rigid polyisocyanurate.
The highly efficient triple-pane windows let in light while stopping heat transfer.
Rigid foam is sealed into place with canned spray foam to insulate and air-seal the header spaces above the windows.
Exterior rigid foam insulation is taped at the seams to provide a continuous thermal blanket, comprehensive draft protection, and a continuous wall water barrier.
Several types of insulation were combined to boost thermal performance, including this rigid foil-faced foam, which was installed over a rigid mineral-wool layer.
Furring strips were installed over the sealed rigid foam insulation to create a ventilating gap and drainage plane beneath the fiber cement, metal, and wood siding.
“In most cases, we find building to zero net energy ready levels is not a significant added cost.”
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“What I like about the DOE ZERH program is the clear overlap with ENERGY STAR, the fantastic support, and the promotion of zero net energy. Our customers are thrilled to be improving their building performance, reducing environmental impacts and pollution, and reducing maintenance. In most cases, we find building to zero net energy ready levels is not a significant added cost.”
– Kendall Carpenter, builder, AquaZephyr LLC