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Sustainability, High Performance and Style

Tom Moore, Owner of Tom Moore Builder, Inc., has long embraced the Green Building movement, recognizing sustainability and high performance as both the wave of the future and the right thing to do. So when he and his wife Deb decided to build their new home on the family’s land in northern Vermont, the project quickly focused on building the greenest home possible.

Two years later, the finished product is a beautiful, 2-bedroom home, built largely from local materials, that has received a HERS rating (Home Energy Rating System) of four, 2nd-lowest ever recorded in VT – and will also receive a LEED silver certification. The home’s design is tasteful and distinctive with style and personality.

Another objective was to build a home appropriately scaled for the environment – everything essential, but in a smaller package. Effectively, the duel-usage rooms allow the couple to move comfortably from their 4-bedroom home to this efficient 2-bedroom layout.

An obvious key ingredient to any green home is the energy efficiency achieved through the structure’s envelope, starting with the foundation with an R-25 value. “ICFs (insulated concrete forms) are the most cost-effective way to build foundation walls…” Moore states.

The basement slab is R-16, being insulated with two layers of 2” EPS foam, followed by a 6-mil poly vapor barrier. The second layer of EPS protects the poly and is sealed to the ICF walls.

One of the truly unique features, which helps give the home the high HERS rating is the double wall framing design, resulting in a final 13” thick shell. Using two separate applications of soy-based spray foam, the greenest of the spray foam products, the final result is a shell that keeps the quiet home not only toasty in winter, but also cool in the summer.

Moore chose high-efficiency triple-glazed Pella windows with between-pane shades. The thicker walls allowed Moore to include bevelled window openings and wide sills of recycled granite, which absorb the heat coming through the window.

Other green features include a Venmar heat exchange system, for a controlled fresh air system, high-efficiency LED lighting and appliances, European-style radiator units and a gas fireplace in the living room.

The site was carefully planned for solar gain, as well as the cooling breezes that move through Nebraska Notch. As a result of that and a large south-facing Otter Creek awning, the home relies on “natural ventilation,” no air conditioning. Then, of course, the high-efficiency, super-thick wall system, 2” roof overhangs, plus two roof-mounted flat-panel solar collectors that will supply at least half the home’s hot water demand.

High-efficiency wall-mounted Buderus propane boiler, being divided into five different heat zones to curb usage promotes efficiency, in combination with the heat recovery unit. On the roof, 367kW photovoltaic panels, which supply a majority of the home’s electricity needs, along with a generator and a four-battery backup system to supply electricity, “you can go several days without power, if necessary.

This home is“totally integrated,” Moore explained. “That means you not only build the home, you build everything in it. The bedroom sets, the built-in closets, the mirrors, the stairways, the kitchen,” right down to Moore’s distinctive inlays, in the form of a maple leaf using tiger maple, “one of our trademarks,” says Moore. The home also features locally crafted iron railings, and reused materials that Tom had saved or purchased from local salvage companies.

As an advocate of green building and sustainable practices, the ceilings, floors and trim are all from the wood from his land or the local area: ash wall and ceiling paneling, pine and maple wall paneling, wide pine flooring, soft maple ceilings, cherry and tiger maple bedroom furniture, custom made by Tom Moore Builder’s cabinet shop, and book-matched tiger maple inlaid kitchen cabinetry. All cabinetry and furniture for the home was built by master cabinetmaker Clark Sargent and Tom’s son Lincoln Moore.

Now that Moore’s new home is completed, he hopes it can help lead Vermont in the right direction for building in the future. The creativity and high performance of this home, that reaches far beyond just building green, sets a high standard for the quality of construction needed to achieve the sustainable future Vermont is striving for.

Tome Moore is certified as a Green Professional, Graduate Remodeler, Green Builder, Aging-in-Place Professional, and is a Registered Vermont Builder, through the HBRA.
GET Aug2011 page  27

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