Launch Slideshow

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The Nest Cottage

The Nest Cottage

  • Name: Nest Cottage at Serenbe, Chattahoochee Hills, Ga.Size: 1,100 square feetConstruction Cost: $200 per square foot Completed: July 2010Certifications: EarthCraft House Platinum; Energy Star; Building America demonstration houseHERS Rating: 32Builder: Martin-Dodson Homes, Douglasville, Ga.Designer: Lew Oliver Inc., Roswell, Ga.Interiors: Serenbe Interior Studio, Chattahoochee Hills

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    Name: Nest Cottage at Serenbe, Chattahoochee Hills, Ga.Size: 1,100 square feetConstruction Cost: $200 per square foot Completed: July 2010Certifications: EarthCraft House Platinum; Energy Star; Building America demonstration houseHERS Rating: 32Builder: Martin-Dodson Homes, Douglasville, Ga.Designer: Lew Oliver Inc., Roswell, Ga.Interiors: Serenbe Interior Studio, Chattahoochee Hills

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    Chris Hamilton Photography

    Name: Nest Cottage at Serenbe, Chattahoochee Hills, Ga.
    Size: 1,100 square feet Construction Cost: $200 per square foot
    Completed: July 2010
    Certifications: EarthCraft House Platinum; Energy Star; Building America demonstration house
    HERS Rating: 32
    Builder: Martin-Dodson Homes, Douglasville, Ga.
    Designer: Lew Oliver Inc., Roswell, Ga.
    Interiors: Serenbe Interior Studio, Chattahoochee Hills

  • Smooth-finish, fiber-cement HardiePlank lap siding from James Hardie delivers a durable cladding that achieves up to R-0.51 per inch and is engineered to specific climate conditions. The siding is available with proprietary factory finishes that resist prolonged freezing climate conditions, moisture contact, and UV exposure to deliver up to 30% more fade resistance and last up to twice as long as field-applied finishes, says the maker. 888.542.7343. www.jameshardie.com. The EnviroDri system from Tremco Barrier Solutions delivers a permeable brush- or spray-applied asphalt-based membrane over the exterior OSB sheathing for a joint- and fastener-free weather barrier. The membrane mitigates air and liquid moisture transfer through the walls to maintain a tight thermal envelope but vents moisture vapor to guard against latent damage behind the exterior finishes. A perm rating of 12 is comparable to most housewraps. It fully cures in less than one hour. 800.876.5624. www.tremcobarriersolutions.com.

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    Smooth-finish, fiber-cement HardiePlank lap siding from James Hardie delivers a durable cladding that achieves up to R-0.51 per inch and is engineered to specific climate conditions. The siding is available with proprietary factory finishes that resist prolonged freezing climate conditions, moisture contact, and UV exposure to deliver up to 30% more fade resistance and last up to twice as long as field-applied finishes, says the maker. 888.542.7343. www.jameshardie.com. The EnviroDri system from Tremco Barrier Solutions delivers a permeable brush- or spray-applied asphalt-based membrane over the exterior OSB sheathing for a joint- and fastener-free weather barrier. The membrane mitigates air and liquid moisture transfer through the walls to maintain a tight thermal envelope but vents moisture vapor to guard against latent damage behind the exterior finishes. A perm rating of 12 is comparable to most housewraps. It fully cures in less than one hour. 800.876.5624. www.tremcobarriersolutions.com.

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    John Neas

    SIDING
    Smooth-finish, fiber-cement HardiePlank lap siding from James Hardie delivers a durable cladding that achieves up to R-0.51 per inch and is engineered to specific climate conditions. The siding is available with proprietary factory finishes that resist prolonged freezing climate conditions, moisture contact, and UV exposure to deliver up to 30% more fade resistance and last up to twice as long as field-applied finishes, says the maker. 888.542.7343. www.jameshardie.com.  

    WEATHER BARRIER
    The EnviroDri system from Tremco Barrier Solutions delivers a permeable brush- or spray-applied asphalt-based membrane over the exterior OSB sheathing for a joint- and fastener-free weather barrier. The membrane mitigates air and liquid moisture transfer through the walls to maintain a tight thermal envelope but vents moisture vapor to guard against latent damage behind the exterior finishes. A perm rating of 12 is comparable to most housewraps. It fully cures in less than one hour. 800.876.5624. www.tremcobarriersolutions.com.

  • The Envision series water-source heat pump system from WaterFurnace is a closed-loop system that transfers the constant (about 50 degrees F) temperature of a nearby lake via a glycol medium to a forced-air heat pump, requiring less energy to meet heating, cooling, and domestic hot water demands. The Energy Starqualified series uses R410A refrigerant and offers a cooling efficiency of up to 30 EER. No outside compressor saves space and reduces noise pollution. 800.436.7283. www.waterfurnace.com.

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    The Envision series water-source heat pump system from WaterFurnace is a closed-loop system that transfers the constant (about 50 degrees F) temperature of a nearby lake via a glycol medium to a forced-air heat pump, requiring less energy to meet heating, cooling, and domestic hot water demands. The Energy Starqualified series uses R410A refrigerant and offers a cooling efficiency of up to 30 EER. No outside compressor saves space and reduces noise pollution. 800.436.7283. www.waterfurnace.com.

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    Chris Hamilton Photography

    HVAC
    The Envision series water-source heat pump system from WaterFurnace is a closed-loop system that transfers the constant (about 50 degrees F) temperature of a nearby lake via a glycol medium to a forced-air heat pump, requiring less energy to meet heating, cooling, and domestic hot water demands. The Energy Starqualified series uses R410A refrigerant and offers a cooling efficiency of up to 30 EER. No outside compressor saves space and reduces noise pollution. 800.436.7283. www.waterfurnace.com.

  • CertainTeed 9555 vinyl double-hung windows from MI Windows and Doors feature 7/8-inch insulated glass with low-E to boost thermal resistance values; optional argon gas fill is also available. The units are Energy Star labeled with a minimum 0.60 U-value and 0.27 SHGC for southern climate zones. 888.417.1162. www.miwd.com. FLOORINGThe Navarrre collection from U.S. Floors offers engineered oak planks from FSC-certified timber sources with a proprietary Natural-E oil finish. The Toulouse line features a rustic look with 71/2-inch-wide planks and can be glued, nailed, or floated at, below, or above grade. The series also complies with CARB Phase 1 formaldehyde emissions requirements. 800.404.2675. www.usfloorsllc.com. KitchenAid appliances include an Energy Starlabeled dishwasher and bottom-mount refrigerator. The full-size dishwasher (model KUDC20FVSS) is rated to use 4.0 gallons per cycle (Energy Star baseline is 5.8) and 313 kWh per year; the 18.5-cubic-foot Architect II series refrigerator (model KBRS19) is verified to be 20% more energy efficient than the minimum federal standard. 800.422.1230. www.kitchenaid.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpF91F%2Etmp_tcm131-614950.jpg

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    CertainTeed 9555 vinyl double-hung windows from MI Windows and Doors feature 7/8-inch insulated glass with low-E to boost thermal resistance values; optional argon gas fill is also available. The units are Energy Star labeled with a minimum 0.60 U-value and 0.27 SHGC for southern climate zones. 888.417.1162. www.miwd.com. FLOORINGThe Navarrre collection from U.S. Floors offers engineered oak planks from FSC-certified timber sources with a proprietary Natural-E oil finish. The Toulouse line features a rustic look with 71/2-inch-wide planks and can be glued, nailed, or floated at, below, or above grade. The series also complies with CARB Phase 1 formaldehyde emissions requirements. 800.404.2675. www.usfloorsllc.com. KitchenAid appliances include an Energy Starlabeled dishwasher and bottom-mount refrigerator. The full-size dishwasher (model KUDC20FVSS) is rated to use 4.0 gallons per cycle (Energy Star baseline is 5.8) and 313 kWh per year; the 18.5-cubic-foot Architect II series refrigerator (model KBRS19) is verified to be 20% more energy efficient than the minimum federal standard. 800.422.1230. www.kitchenaid.com.

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    John Neas

    WINDOWS
    CertainTeed 9555 vinyl double-hung windows from MI Windows and Doors feature 7/8-inch insulated glass with low-E to boost thermal resistance values; optional argon gas fill is also available. The units are Energy Star labeled with a minimum 0.60 U-value and 0.27 SHGC for southern climate zones. 888.417.1162. www.miwd.com. 

    FLOORING

    The Navarrre collection from U.S. Floors offers engineered oak planks from FSC-certified timber sources with a proprietary Natural-E oil finish. The Toulouse line features a rustic look with 71/2-inch-wide planks and can be glued, nailed, or floated at, below, or above grade. The series also complies with CARB Phase 1 formaldehyde emissions requirements. 800.404.2675. www.usfloorsllc.com.

    APPLIANCES
    KitchenAid appliances include an Energy Starlabeled dishwasher and bottom-mount refrigerator. The full-size dishwasher (model KUDC20FVSS) is rated to use 4.0 gallons per cycle (Energy Star baseline is 5.8) and 313 kWh per year; the 18.5-cubic-foot Architect II series refrigerator (model KBRS19) is verified to be 20% more energy efficient than the minimum federal standard. 800.422.1230. www.kitchenaid.com.

  • Sherwin-Williams Harmony no-VOC acrylic latex interior paint delivers high-hide coverage with low odor and no off-gassing to promote healthier indoor air, says the manufacturer, while an antimicrobial additive inhibits mildew growth. The Greenguard-certified paint is available in flat, eggshell, and semi-gloss, and it covers up to 400 square feet per gallon. 800.474.3794. www.sherwin-williams.com.   FIREPLACEThe Sovereign series wood-burning fireplace from Majestic offers an optional forced-air fan for supplemental room heat and gas knockouts to enable a sealed combustion appliance, if desired. It is available in 36- and 42-inch opening widths in both radiant and heat-circulating models. The interior features all refractory brick to provide a realistic masonry look and a black steel mesh firescreen molded in for durability. 800.867.0454. www.majesticproducts.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpF921%2Etmp_tcm131-614952.jpg

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    Sherwin-Williams Harmony no-VOC acrylic latex interior paint delivers high-hide coverage with low odor and no off-gassing to promote healthier indoor air, says the manufacturer, while an antimicrobial additive inhibits mildew growth. The Greenguard-certified paint is available in flat, eggshell, and semi-gloss, and it covers up to 400 square feet per gallon. 800.474.3794. www.sherwin-williams.com. FIREPLACEThe Sovereign series wood-burning fireplace from Majestic offers an optional forced-air fan for supplemental room heat and gas knockouts to enable a sealed combustion appliance, if desired. It is available in 36- and 42-inch opening widths in both radiant and heat-circulating models. The interior features all refractory brick to provide a realistic masonry look and a black steel mesh firescreen molded in for durability. 800.867.0454. www.majesticproducts.com.

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    John Neas

    PAINT
    Sherwin-Williams Harmony no-VOC acrylic latex interior paint delivers high-hide coverage with low odor and no off-gassing to promote healthier indoor air, says the manufacturer, while an antimicrobial additive inhibits mildew growth. The Greenguard-certified paint is available in flat, eggshell, and semi-gloss, and it covers up to 400 square feet per gallon. 800.474.3794. www.sherwin-williams.com.

    FIREPLACE
    The Sovereign series wood-burning fireplace from Majestic offers an optional forced-air fan for supplemental room heat and gas knockouts to enable a sealed combustion appliance, if desired. It is available in 36- and 42-inch opening widths in both radiant and heat-circulating models. The interior features all refractory brick to provide a realistic masonry look and a black steel mesh firescreen molded in for durability. 800.867.0454. www.majesticproducts.com.

  • A 3-kW array from SunPower enables the potential for net-zero electricity use. The 215 (peak watts per panel) series panels achieve 17.3% panel efficiency to deliver up to 50% more electricity per unit, says the manufacturer, translating to fewer panels and lower costs to achieve a desired capacity. The Nest setup also includes a monitoring kiosk for visitors and the homeowners to view solar energy production in real time. 408.240.5500. http://us.sunpowercorp.com.

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    A 3-kW array from SunPower enables the potential for net-zero electricity use. The 215 (peak watts per panel) series panels achieve 17.3% panel efficiency to deliver up to 50% more electricity per unit, says the manufacturer, translating to fewer panels and lower costs to achieve a desired capacity. The Nest setup also includes a monitoring kiosk for visitors and the homeowners to view solar energy production in real time. 408.240.5500. http://us.sunpowercorp.com.

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    Chris Hamilton Photography

    PHOTOVOTAICS
    A 3-kW array from SunPower enables the potential for net-zero electricity use. The 215 (peak watts per panel) series panels achieve 17.3% panel efficiency to deliver up to 50% more electricity per unit, says the manufacturer, translating to fewer panels and lower costs to achieve a desired capacity. The Nest setup also includes a monitoring kiosk for visitors and the homeowners to view solar energy production in real time. 408.240.5500. http://us.sunpowercorp.com.

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    Chris Hamilton

Oliver had sketched his small-house concept two years earlier and was shopping it to developers without much success. Despite a 10-year relationship with Serenbe, for which he set the design codes and mapped out the land plan, it took an offhand opportunity for Oliver to show his concept to Serenbe co-founder Steve Nygren, who was in turn inspired to offer the community as a test bed.

Already committed to mandating the EarthCraft House program to his builders at Serenbe, Nygren transformed a handful of prime lakeside lots into the Nest enclave of 15 parcels to evangelize the small-home gospel. “People are realizing that a smaller, cost- and energy-efficient home is smart and healthy,” he says.

Enter Chuck Saleeby, a partner at Martin-Dodson Homes, a builder with a history of high-end custom/luxury homes, including some at Serenbe. The challenge, he says, wasn’t scaling his operation to the size of the cottage (“We actually built it faster because of that,” Saleeby says.) or even meeting its high environmental goals (“We already built to a pretty high standard.”), but getting materials from a supply chain working on recession-era inventories and longer lead times for delivery.

“There’s a lot less wiggle room with a smaller and lower-priced (under $300,000) house if you want to maintain your margin,” Saleeby says. “You can’t miss a few days. You can’t waste anything.”

Now that the first house is built, it will remain open for tours through the end of the year before it is sold, and Building America (through Southface) will monitor its energy use as a model home and after occupancy through mid-2011.

The results, in part, will drive the energy-saving specifications of the remaining cottages at Serenbe, as well as other homes across the country. “The research results from these homes can help set a new benchmark for builders everywhere,” says Dennis Creech, co-founder and executive director of Southface.

Oliver, for one, is raring to go. “We have two more ready to start,” he says of the cottage concept at Serenbe. “We’ll alter the specs a little to see how or if the [energy-use] results differ from the first one,” such as using housewrap instead of the polymer membrane, though the goal will be to match the first home’s efficiency.

As well as its level of comfort.

“People are shocked at how good it feels,” says Oliver of visitors’ reaction following the home’s grand opening in July. “Shifting down from a larger house to a smaller one is already happening, but we’re accelerating the trend with this house by letting developers, builders, and consumers know that you can do it and that there’s a market for it.”

Rich Binsacca is a contributing editor for EcoHome.