Thursday, May 22, 2008

Knickerbocker Cottage Homes

We have added a link, "Cottage Home Designs", with information on the four green Cottage Homes that were presented at the Energy Expo in April: Crow's Nest, Northwind, Sonne Ledge and Windance Farm. Our primary design goal for each Cottage Home is to blend the qualities of a classic Maine cottage with state-of-the-art technologies in order to achieve sustainable, energy-efficient and healthy homes that can also be affordably constructed. Our ultimate goal is to offer these plans for sale to the public, in an effort to take the guess-work out of a building an affordable green home and encourage more mainstream use of green construction techniques.

By using simple classic Maine forms and efficient construction techniques, the Cottage Homes are cost-effective to build while still offering the quality of construction that signifies a Knickerbocker home. Heating systems, air sealing and insulation techniques are considered in a “whole home” approach that minimizes energy usage and heat loss while maximizing healthy indoor air quality. While each of the four Cottage Home designs are unique, they all share the following features and benefits:

Advanced design techniques

  • Maximizes efficient space while minimizing circulation space
  • Use of open floor plan with flexible spaces to support multiple uses

Advanced construction techniques

  • Efficient framing techniques (e.g., alignment of rafters/studs, trusses, 2-stud corners)
  • Reduces amount of wood and improves energy efficiency
  • Minimizes waste

Steeply pitched roof,
no dormers

  • Traditional Maine architectural elements
  • Maximizes solar panel efficiency
  • Simple and efficient framing

Narrow home width set lengthwise on east-west axis

  • Best roof orientation for solar panels
  • Maximizes southerly exposure and solar gain in living spaces
  • Lends itself easily to modular construction
  • Open plan and long views increase sense of spaciousness

Living spaces with large windows on south side

  • Abundant natural light in all living spaces
  • Passive solar heating
  • “Brise soleil” can be used to control winter/summer sun exposure
  • Use of high performance glazing

Utility spaces with minimal glazing on north side

  • Physical separation between public spaces (street) and living spaces
  • Appropriate usage of smaller and fewer windows on north side
  • Windows promote natural interior air circulation by taking advantage of prevailing wind patterns

Masonry heater with granite/ soapstone surround

  • Super-efficient European style masonry heater
  • Can heat a 1,500 - 2,000 s.f. home
  • Heart of the home – thermal mass radiates heat from a central location

Super-tight, super-insulated building envelope

  • Use of technologically advanced air sealing and insulation techniques
  • “Energy audit” testing assures that all homes meet ASHRAE standards

High efficiency primary and/or secondary heat sources

  • Propane or oil high efficiency boiler w/radiant heat as primary heat source
  • Geothermal, active & passive solar &/or masonry heater as secondary heat source

Mechanical ventilation

  • Energy-efficient energy recovery ventilator (ERV) heats and humidifies fresh, ventilated air
  • Ensures proper indoor air quality
  • Balances air pressure in a tightly built home

Exterior finishes

  • Traditional Maine architectural elements: cedar shingles, board & batten, and cement board siding, metal roofing
  • Locally harvested & milled lumber
  • Environmentally friendly product choices

Interior finishes

  • Environmentally friendly product choices

Site / landscaping

  • Plan can be adapted to a variety of sites
  • Thoughtful site selection minimizes impact of clearing and grading
  • Use of native species and environmentally-friendly products in landscape gardens

Reuse / Recycle

  • Use of reclaimed lumber from site as columns or other architectural features
  • Recycle at least 75% of waste
  • Gray water system for water conservation

We will continue to add new information and details as the Cottage Home designs progress. Please feel free to share your comments or suggestions!

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