For TC Legend Home’s 9th time, we are thrilled to announce another Department of Energy Housing Innovation Award (HIA) winning home!
House-in-a-Hollow has won the grand prize for the ‘Custom for Buyer less than 2500 Square Feet’ category. We could not have achieved this award without the amazing homeowners who helped us push the envelope and our extremely skilled field crew who nailed the execution (pun-intended). 🙂
Each year the HIA updates their application pushing companies to innovate more and change with the times, and this year was no exception.
Along with the house performance, design and materials/sustainability information required, the award also requires the builder to submit information on their business metrics and how they create quality construction.
This year, they added the “Advances Home Concepts” section which consists of written portions on the company’s advanced building practices, smart building techniques and environmental impact.
Much like the Seattle based Built Green program, they have also added a portion to evaluate the company’s sustainable business practices which includes their diversity, equity and inclusion practices, and workforce training.
These latter additions are very valuable as the industry recognizes the interconnection between sustainable housing and equitable housing. Sustainable housing should not just be for the wealthy and, in fact, those of lower incomes are far more likely to live in homes or areas that negatively impact their health.
This is due to the homes being less desirable to the wealthy and therefore cheaper, creating a market where the only homes that are financially available to folks with lower income, are the ones that are unhealthy. It should go without saying that this is unfair and unjust. Making it that much more important the sustainable housing be available for everyone.
Award Winning Features of House-in-a-Hollow
Size: 1935 sf
Lot Size: 9.88 acres
Garage: separated and unconditioned
HERS Index (With PV): -23
Annual Utility Costs: -$278.00
Energy Savings: 20,354 kWh
Aging-in-Place Design: Yes
Clerestory Design: Yes
Zero Energy Ready Home
EPA Indoor airPLUS
Built Green 5 Star
Walls: 6.5 inch Neopor SIP panel (R-29) with Hardie plank lap siding
Roof: 10.25” and 12.25” Neopor SIP panel (R-49 and R-59), IKO Armourshake asphalt roofing, foam splines in place of wood splines
Air Sealing: Aerobarrier sealed to 0.54 air changes per hour (ACH)
Foundation: Slab on grade with R-20 underslab insulation and insulated concrete form (ICF) stemwalls
Windows: Vinyl, Triple-pane, Low-e3 coating, Argon-filled, Fixed U-value of 0.15, Casement U-value of 0.18
Additional: Extended roofs/eaves and clerestory windows for summer shading and passive winter gain
Ventilation: Zehnder Comfoair 550 whole-house HRV, Fantech HEPA filter, whole house CO2 & humidity sensors
Heating/Cooling: Chilltrix CX-34 air-to-water heatpump with Comfopost, radiant in-floor heating on first floor, and fan coil unit heating on second floor
Hot Water: Domestic hot water is heated by the Chilltrix heatpump
Photovoltaics: 10.56kW rooftop array with microinverters on each panel
Electric Vehicle Charging Station: Yes
Additional: Awair Indoor Air Monitor that tracks the internal humidity, temperature, chemical pollution (VOCs), PM2.5, and CO2
Additional: 100% LED lighting, Energy Star appliances, WaterSense and low-flow plumbing fixtures, low-emission finishes
Undisturbed Land: 98%
Tree Retainage: 74%
Wetland Buffer Mitigation: Installation of 630 native trees & shrubs
Landscaping: Installation of only native plants that require no potable irrigation
Additional: Large rocks placed along perimeter to deter human impact on wetlands, a few trees removed on the immediate South side of house for passive solar gain & PV array, trees to East & West retained to shade house
Learn more about other innovative builders and award winners here:
For the first time in over 10 years, TC Legend Homes has had the opportunity to build our very own spec home!
We are excited to announce that it will be completed and ready to sell within a couple weeks’ time!
This lovely forest bungalow located in Sudden Valley, named Cascade, features our typical SIPs and ICF construction, energy efficient techniques and solar array creating a Net-Zero house that can also power an electric vehicle.
It has 1400 square feet of living space and a 240 square foot garage, with a total of 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
The extra-large bridge driveway can park an additional 3-4 cars or has ample room to work and play!
As always, this home is heated by a Chiltrix CX34 air-to-water heat pump and two fan coil units for added comfort. The heat pump also provides air conditioning in tandem with the Fantech Hero 250H-EC heat recovery ventilator (HRV). The envelope is vapor sealed and the window are triple paned with Low-E coatings for extra energy efficiency.
For superior indoor air quality, Cascade features an HRV system with added HEPA filters, low/no VOC finishes throughout, FloorScore rated solid bamboo floors, and all electric appliances and heating.
We anticipate Cascade to perform exceptionally well like all of our other homes and obtain Built Green 4-Star rating, EPA Indoor AirPLUS certification, EPA Energy Star certification and Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home rating.
So far, the house has received a 0.45 air changes per hour envelope seal, which far exceeds the Passivehaus standard.
Other home details include, EnergyStar rated appliances, induction cooktop, WaterSense rated plumbing fixtures, zero-threshold shower on main floor, tub/shower combo on lower level, lots of natural daylight, south facing windows, solid bamboo flooring throughout, bright white interior, locally milled raw edge cedar plank on the driveway railing, asphalt roofing, cedar plank entry accent siding, tile entry, tile bathrooms, river rock tile shower floor, exposed beams, vaulted ceilings, heat pump dryer.
If you are interested in purchasing or touring Cascade, please reach out to us to through the “Contact Us” page on our website or keep watch for our Redfin/Zillow/Trulia ad which will release in the next couple of weeks!
** Update 7/21/22 : This just in! Cascade is up on the market! Check out the Redfin ad HERE to book your tour today! **
In our last blog about indoor air quality (IAQ), we discussed what influences IAQ, what effects it has on humans and nature, and how to create healthier IAQ in your home.
As a recap, IAQ is measured by the quantity and type of pollutants in the air within a building. The pollutants that decrease the IAQ (make the quality worse) can be anything from biological pollutants such as mold and mildew, bacteria, dust or pollen, to carbon monoxide or volatile organic compounds (VOC’s)4. These pollutants can cause a wide variety of health problems for humans and animals, from mild skin irritations all the way to damaging internal organs and causing cancer.2,5
While ventilation is just one of the many factors that affect IAQ mentioned in our previous blog, it is a multifaceted topic and requires a deeper dive than we were able to give.
We’ve already established that healthy IAQ is important, but how does ventilation impact it and what are the current shortcomings of code-standard ventilation systems?
Firstly, IAQ can be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air quality6; therefore, it is vital to expel a greater quantity of indoor air and intake more outdoor air to increase a building’s overall IAQ.
However, not all ventilation systems are made equally. Often, with forced air-heating and traditional air-conditioning systems, the main method of ventilation is infiltration or purely natural ventilation (opening windows)3.
This is problematic, because there will not be a great enough flow of air to expel the polluted indoor air and the outdoor air comes into the building’s envelope untreated. While outdoor air is generally less polluted than indoor air, it would be counterproductive to bring in smoky, smoggy or pollen filled air, for example, and should still be filtered before entering the building.
When mechanical ventilation is installed in a simply code-standard building, the typical system must be manually turned on and off and doesn’t have the capacity for higher airflows or continual airflows. For this reason, conscious builders like TC Legend Homes go above and beyond the less-than-optimal code-standard systems and always uses a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV).
HRV units allow for continual filtered airflow. They are also capable of utilizing smart technology with sensors to detect CO2 and humidity within the house, allowing the system to automatically adjust air flow.
The humidity tracking and management is a huge advantage because it creates a more comfortable environment to people, pets and indoor plants alike and helps keep mold and mildew growth in check. On top of increasing airflow and managing humidity, the HRV also contains HEPA air filters to ensure the incoming air is stripped of as many pollutants as possible.
Of course, the extra benefit to these systems beyond increased IAQ is that they “recover up to 90% of the heat and contribute to an energy savings of up to 50%.”1
This means HRV systems save money by lowering the overall energy bill, as well as decrease the building’s carbon footprint by using energy more consciously resulting in less consumption of energy, fossil fuels and other precious materials.
In all, choosing the best ventilation system can mean creating a healthier home, as well as reducing your wasted energy consumption and having a lesser impact on the environment.
2“Biological Pollutants’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality.” United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), EPA.gov, https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/biological-pollutants-impact-indoor-air-quality. 2/10/2022.
5“Volatile Organic Compounds’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality.” United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), EPA.gov, https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/volatile-organic-compounds-impact-indoor-air-quality. 2/10/2022.