Since ground broke on the Start.Home, the students who are designing and building the Stanford University entry in the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon have been learning their way around the construction site from five Carpenters Union instructors. CU is a Platinum-level project sponsor, joining other companies like DIRECTV, Intel, General Electric, Applied Materials, Boxh, Pine Cone Lumber, and Mitsubishi in an effort to change the way that green home building construction problems are solved.
Built with recycled and salvaged materials from a dilapidated and deconstructed cottage that was already present on the 0.35 acre lot, the west side of this 2,000 square foot home faces Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont. Sweeping views of the lake are broken only by a granite fireplace.
Following the original footprint of the cottage, with the addition of 375 square feet on the east side, Ernie Ruskey, AIA, of Tektonika Studio Architects worked with builder Tim Frost to minimize energy use during the cold winter months while protecting the landscape. They have achieve a 50 percent total energy savings over a 2004 IECC code-level home, an EPA Energy Star 5-Star Plus rating, and a HERS rating of 57. Ninety-five percent of the home is daylit and can be ventilated or cooled with operable windows. Total energy used is approximately 104.2 MMBtu.
In a recent article on Indian Country Today Media Network, journalist Nate Seltenrich covered the sustainable building initiatives of several Native American tribes who were the country’s “original green builders.” Through efforts to improve upon substandard housing and economic hardships, indigenous populations are returning to traditional methods of home construction while incorporating modern technologies. Contemporary sustainability calls tribal members back to their cultural heritage and opens up avenues for attainable home ownership and lower energy costs, with the potential to revitalize communities.