Green Building is the latest industry buzz word and is alternately described as “sustainable” building. Our routine building practices exceed the green standards set by the city of Scottsdale, one of the highest bars in the nation. This exciting progression in building technologies is something that we are very passionate about at O’Brien Luxury Homes in general we organize sustainable building by three broad principles:
Quality of Construction
One of the most important components in sustainable building is using products that have lasting durability and applying them properly. We start this process from the ground up beginning with the foundation which is the most important part of the house, without a strong foundation the structural integrity of a home is compromised.
Our standard is to go the EXTRA step to create a tight building envelope, starting with our foundation. Every O’Brien Luxury Homes project is built on a monolithic system, this means the slab and the footings are poured in place at the same time eliminating any cold joints.
Our minimum wall thickness in our homes is between 10 – 16 inches which provides a bigger barrier for insulation and strengthening the over all structural integrity of our homes. We go through great lengths to sealing all penetrations that would allow air transfer with the outside world and use a combination of insulation techniques (foam, insulation batts, organic blown and organic spray) in various parts of the home to maximize efficiency. Our structures are wrapped in energy saving windows and doors that reduce bridging between the indoors and out.
Finally, our homes are structurally engineered far beyond the standard of the national building code which ensures the sustainability of the entire home.
At O’Brien Luxury Homes we are constantly educating ourselves in the pursuit to maximize the energy efficiency in our homes, reviewing new technologies and considering the long term benefits of using products that will provide a lifetime of energy efficiencies.
We use only high performance insulation installed by National Home Builder Association certified installers. This multiple step process within our extremely thick walls (10”-16” thickness) maximizes the insulating factor of the structure. Another O’Brien Luxury Homes standard is that all ceilings are framed with Tech Shield Plywood (plywood that has been applied with a thermal barrier reducing solar heat gain by 40%).
All of our homes are engineered with multi-zone HVAC systems, it is not unusual that our homes may contain 6-10 zones allowing its owner to heat and cool the areas of the house they are actually occupying. Above and beyond the benefits of digital thermostats our homes’ efficiency can additionally be maximized by a Home Automation System that integrates climate control and allows the temperature of the home to be raised or lowered based on typical usage through out the day.
High efficiency water heaters that have an extremely fast recovery time are also a standard with in our homes, depending on square footage if necessary a commercial boiler system is used in its place which might be more efficient.
All of our appliances are Energy Star certified and incorporate technologies that use 10 to 50 percent less energy and/or water than standard models.
Healthy Home Environment
More and more people are finding that the buildings they live and work in are causing health related issues. Since we spend so much of our lives indoors the need to build genuinely healthful homes has become a top priority at O’Brien Luxury Homes.
We have incorporated the following precautions into a standard construction of our homes to ensure its future owners enjoy a healthy living environment:
Prior to the foundation even being poured we install Stego Wrap Vapor Barrier Membrane underneath the slab to prevent moisture and vapors (such as radon gas) from penetrating living spaces.
– Foundation slabs consists of concrete with minimal additives.
– Maximum effort in using Formaldehyde Free wood products.
– Low VOC and Toxic Free paints used through out our homes.
– Whole house engineered water filtration systems that remove contaminants, in addition drinking water is passed through a multi-stage R/O filtration system.
– HVAC includes electronic air cleaners that remove allergens and bacteria in your living spaces.
How a home is designed, engineered and ultimately constructed will likely dictate more than your energy bill – it can have a profound impact on your comfort and even your health.
Our partnership with Desert Skies, a leading energy efficiency firm, helps create a high performance homes that focus on key principles:
– Comfort – Utilizing the correct building materials and ensuring proper installation to avoid hot-spots and problems
– Indoor Air Quality – Testing the HVAC systems to ensure there are no leaks helps reduce dust, allergens and other indoor pollutants
– Energy Savings – The byproduct of advanced design, engineering and construction, you can expect to pay significantly less on your monthly utility bills
– Carbon Footprint – Reducing your carbon footprint is more than saving energy— many building features like LED lighting last longer which reduce maintenance costs and frustration
Desert Skies reviews each of our designs to ensure that we comply with local codes and to ensure the home will perform. Additional services are available for clients seeking something more:
– Home Energy Rating (HERS): Increase your property value with a RESNET HERS Rating. This certification is acknowledged by the Appraisal Institute. Includes multiple construction inspections, HVAC duct testing, whole-house air leakage testing and more. Highly recommended to all clients due to low cost, excellent quality assurance and property value addition.
– ENERGY STAR for Homes: An ENERGY STAR home is required to be a minimum 15% better than a code built home but the value is in the brand recognition. Certification is fairly low-cost and the ENERGY STAR checklist focuses on keeping your energy bills at bay. A HERS Rating is included in this package. Recommended for clients who are considering selling their home at some point in the foreseeable future.
– NAHB Green and/or LEED for Homes: For clients that are more interested in sustainable “green” building, we offer two nationally recognized programs. While these programs carry more certification and material costs, clients that choose these programs are typically interested in lowering their carbon footprint, creating a healthy indoor environment or both. A HERS Rating is included in this package. Recommended if sustainability is a priority for you or you experience respiratory or other health problems.