By Rhonda Massad
From soup to nuts or from grass to roofing a new standard of excellence was the goal when building 252 Westcroft in Beaconsfield.
West Island Blog caught up with Construction VERTicale’s architect, Sahar Abi-Ziki and discovered what it takes to hit gold level LEED certification.
The site was chosen close to public transit with an already existing infrastructure. Permeable pavers are used for the driveway and hard surfaces. Native plants were chosen that require less water. The grass installed is Vert à Vie™ Kentucky Water Saver, making it attractive for environmentally conscious owners.
“The Kentucky bluegrass has a reduced water requirement once well established,” Abi-Ziki stated. “We did our best to be as environmentally friendly as possible. There is 220v outlet for electric car charging in the garage while the white roof was directed south/south-east by a slight slope in order to install solar panels if the owner desires, and tubes are already installed for future solar applications.”
The structure of the roof over the garage and the entrance are calculated to accommodate a green roof.
The eco fun is not limited to the outside of the home. The house has a greywater recovery system to decrease the use of drinking water by collecting 90% rainwater from the roof. The underground tank holds 6000 liters of water to be used for irrigation, washing of cars and toilets.
The indoor spaces are designed to foster occupants’ well-being through a high-performance envelope, ENERGY STAR® windows, and an appropriate HVAC heat-recovery system.
Materials with low volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions were used throughout the structure.
Abi-Ziki says VOCs induce different symptoms in humans depending on their type, exposure time, concentration, frequency, absorption mechanisms (inhalation, ingestion, dermal, blood). Symptoms vary from simple olfactory irritation to cancer (at high exposures), to nervous disorders. Volatile organic compounds are mainly found in glue, paint, varnish furniture cabinetry, furniture panels. The project promotes water based paints, low-VOC glue that meets LEED requirements, and furniture cabinets without added Urea-formaldehyde.
“Just before the gypse goes up we perform a blower door test,” Abi Ziki explained, “this test alone can lead to a significant reduction in energy costs.”
According Abi-Ziki the blower door test is part of the energy evaluation of a LEED home. It is a performance test that uses a device to verify the air tightness, which means that it measures the amount of outdoor air that enters through the envelope. During this test, the advisor goes through the house to locate the possible air leaks that are then sealed to reduce energy consumption. Air leaks found throughout a typical home can represent a 25% heat loss. This figure can reach up to 40% in an older home.
The wood used for the floor joists and roof trusses have been approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) which promotes ecologically respectful and socially beneficial forest management.
All in all the house is not only esthetically pleasing and functional but it takes care of the environment as well as the owners health. The house was recently sold for approximately $1.4 million.