Energy Efficient Construction

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Grand Award
BrightBuilt Barn ..... By:Rick Schwolsky


Small is not only beautiful these days, but also more practical, adaptable, and sustainable, as exemplified in the 640-square-foot BrightBuilt Barn prototype production house. Every aspect of this LEED-Platinum home, from materials selection to net-energy performance to water efficiency, was thoughtfully integrated into its design and carefully executed in its pre-fabricated construction.

The judges commended BrightBuilt’s simplicity of form and how well it “lives” for its size due to its flexible open plan. But they also appreciated the performance-focused features integrated into a replicable package, and the obvious results, including a HERS rating of 23 and an ACH@50 of 0.590. “From its inception, the design was driven by five guiding principles: livability, sustainability, replicability, disentanglement, and education,” explains Robin Tannenbaum of project designers Kaplan Thompson Architects.

The prototype is packed with every option available now in the for-sale models that Kaplan Thompson and Bensonwood Homes are offering: a super-insulated shell (R-40), a 6.2-kW grid-connected PV array and an evacuated-tube solar thermal system, a supplemental heat pump and heat recovery ventilation, high-efficiency lighting fixtures, and water-efficient plumbing fixtures. A way-cool real-time energy monitoring system includes an LED light skirt on the exterior perimeter that glows green when the house is a net-producer and red when it’s using grid power.

Production models are fitted for options, shop-fabricated, and shipped to the site for fast, efficient assembly. “This house pulls everything together,” said one judge. “You don’t have to say it’s a good green house, it’s just a good house.”

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