Category: Green Building

Building a Healthy Home

One of our primary objectives with the Highland project has been to build a healthy home that minimizes risks to the occupant’s health.  This whole topic, called “Indoor Air Quality” (IAQ), is of growing interest amongst both builders and [...]

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Front Yard Stormwater System

Way back in June we installed the first of two large underground stormwater retention systems, underneath the driveway. We had to hold off installing the second system in the front yard until the construction trailer was removed and we were [...]

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Documenting our work

As part of the goal to “future-proof” this home, we’re working with a local construction documentation firm, Multivista, to prepare a full set of in-wall, exterior, and site photos for future reference.  After mechanical rough-in but before the walls [...]

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Certifications

As work continues, this seems like an opportune time to discuss some of the certifications we are seeking for this home and describe what they encompass. Certifications are voluntary – our only requirement is to meet the building codes in effect [...]

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Our Own Solar System

We hit a big milestone today - we went off the grid and starting producing our own electric power!  Our 14.7 kW array will provide a substantial amount of the home’s energy during most of the year.  Our solar installer, [...]

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Blower Door Test Redux – a REALLY Airtight House!

Once the exterior wall insulation was completed, our LEED Rater, Mark, came by to do another blower door test and IR examination of the insulation.  Our goal was to identify any spots where insulation was missing, and fix any air [...]

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Cladding the house

Now that the exterior blueskin barrier and the roof are on, we can move to the siding (cladding). The first element in this is the yellow Benjamyn Opdyke Rain Slicker, which provides a thin drainage mat between the wall and [...]

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MassSave tour

A few weeks ago we hosted a tour for program administrators and utility representatives from MassSave.  MassSave is a collaborative of Massachusetts' natural gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service providers, including Berkshire Gas, Blackstone Gas Company, Cape Light [...]

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Hot water

We’ve put a lot of effort into the design of the hot water system.  In the average home, hot water is the third largest energy use (18%), behind heating and cooling (48%) and lighting, appliances, and electronics (30%).  In the Highland project, [...]

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Making fireplaces work in a green home

A few weeks ago our two fireplaces showed up and they’re now installed.  Fireplaces can be a large source of air pollution in a home (particulates, carbon monoxide, and other noxious gases), so the guidelines for tight homes are [...]

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