Built Green Features of DeBenedictis Homes
We now live and work in a world where Green is everywhere. In the building industry in particular, if you can’t say you’re green, you might as well not show up. At DeBenedictis Building, sustainability is more than just a slogan. We strive to seamlessly blend sustainable design and cutting edge technology into our projects while maintaining a balance of historical character and curb appeal.
The following is a list of some of the “green” features and building practices incorporated in the building of one of our recent projects.
Design and Planning
- Located on the site of the old Charles River Hospital, this home is one of six high quality luxury homes designed to be positioned on each lot to take advantage of existing trees and natural contours while providing privacy and livability to each.
All existing buildings on site were demolished and completely recycled after all hazardous materials were safely removed from site. All concrete foundations and existing pavement was recycled.
The site’s pre-development hydrology was improved, reducing impervious surfaces, while using design techniques that infiltrate, evaporate, and detain storm water runoff close to its source. All roof runoff from new buildings is recharged into the existing soil on each site.
Homes were strategically located to maximize existing street frontage on the site, reducing new pavement to a minimum while maintaining open space wherever possible.
Extensive landscaping has been used on the entire site to minimize developmental impact as well as provide privacy and curb appeal amid a park-like setting in a densely settled neighborhood.
- Advanced Framing
Tight construction using advanced framing techniques and air sealing to reduce indoor drafts, improve insulation thermal properties, and reduce interior moisture and mold to improve energy efficiency.
Use of all types of FSC certified lumber purchased through a chain of custody source derived from well managed forests. These items vary from dimensional lumber to plywood, from trim and sidings, to engineered trusses and LVL’s.
Proper exterior moisture management using properly installed house wrap and window and door flashing, back-priming, caulking and sealing of all trim as well as the gluing of all field joints is standard company practice. All carpentry is performed by direct employees who are well-trained in these techniques. Keeping moisture from entering exterior wall cavities and foundations is the first step to ensure a home is healthy and safe, energy efficient, durable and comfortable.
Advanced caulking and fire stopping is installed at all interior and exterior walls at top and bottom plates at all electrical, plumbing, and mechanical penetrations to reduce indoor drafts.
High efficiency windows with Low Emissivity insulated glass that reflects heat and screens out ultra violet light thereby reducing fading and improving comfort.
Large Roof Overhangs with two foot deep soffits provide extra protection from moisture and the elements, adding longevity to paint, siding, and trim.
- Improved Insulation
The entire building envelope from foundation to roof ridge includes Icynene, spray-in place soft foam insulation and air barrier system
Icynene is an effective “breathing” air barrier that can adjust with the building to maintain a seal against energy-robbing air leakage for the life of the home. Convective air movement inside cavities is virtually eliminated, providing more uniform temperatures throughout the home. The result is superior quality construction, with higher comfort levels and much lower heating and cooling costs.
Healthier: Icynene contains no HCFCs, HFAs, HFCs, formaldehyde or volatile organic chemicals. It seals out dust, pollen and other allergens, preventing them from entering the structure. As an air barrier, Icynene minimizes the potential for condensation and subsequent mold and mildew.
Quieter: By sealing the building envelope, Icynene is perfect for reducing unwanted noises from home theaters, plumbing runs, street traffic and playrooms.
More Energy Efficient:Icynene delivers up to 50% more energy savings versus traditional insulation. Icynene allows for a smaller HVAC system because the insulation is both a conductive insulation and air barrier.
- Mineral Fiber Batt Insulation
To enhance Sound Attenuation and Fire Protection , every interior partition has been insulated with mineral fiber batt insulation. This improves the acoustical performance of the wall assembly resulting in a much quieter, more livable home.
Indoor Air Quality
- High Efficiency Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning System
A multi-zoned hydo-air system fueled by natural gas has been designed and installed in the home using insulated, pressure balanced ductwork installed to the highest industry standards.
The heat source is a high efficiency, condensing gas boiler with PHD technology that includes a 15 year limited warranty.
Precision Hydronic data Technology (PHD) is an intelligent system that delivers precision hydronic heating and hot water needs while maximizing efficiency while measuring and responding to data parameters provided by room thermostats, supply and return water temperature sensors, flue temperature sensor, hot water aquastat, summer /winter switch, and outdoor temperature sensor. The control module, a microprocessor electronic control, automatically adjusts blower speed and gas flow rate to modulate boiler firing rate to match demand.
This technology results in a very reliable, advanced and efficient heating system for this size home.
Air Cleaners: All hydro units are equipped with high efficiency filters that capture and hold pollutants, trapping particles as small as one micron while allowing cleaner air to flow through the system.
Fresh air intake: Hydro-air units are equipped with make-up air intake vents to introduce fresh air as needed in addition to mitigating negative air pressure due to Kitchen exhaust and Bathroom fans. This is a necessity with air tight construction.
Humidity Control: The installation of two Nortec Humidifiers and one Ultra-aire APD unit offers the ultimate in indoor air quality control.
The Ultra-air is a single unit that provides fresh air ventilation, air filtration and whole house dehumidification. The unit offers a variety of air filtration and ventilation control options seasonally programmed to optimally condition the home.
Two Nortec Humidifiers offer the highest level of humidification during drier winter months. These electrode steam humidifiers deliver clean reliable humidity to the home with unsurpassed accuracy using integrated electronic controls.They remove calcium and minerals from the water so only clean pure steam is added to indoor air.
UV Aire System: In addition to air cleaners, all hydro units are equipped with UV-C light units to prevent growth and germination of bacteria, viruses, fungi and molds.
Radon: A passive radon mitigation system has been installed to eliminate radon inside the home. This system can be easily changed to an active system if necessary by the addition of an in-line fan in the third floor area.
Hot Water: Domestic hot water is provided by two high efficiency stainless steel indirect fired hot water heaters. These are heated by hot water from the boiler as the home is being heated, providing abundant domestic hot water at a very low level of energy consumption.
Home features plans that have reduced the amount of carpeting and uses more sustainably harvested wood (oak) or bamboo and natural stone and tile. Our decorators and suppliers also offer more natural fiber carpeting such as wool, jute, and sisal that improve air quality.
All paints and adhesives used are high quality, low VOC products whenever possible.
Woodwork and cabinetry are finished with environmentally safe alkyd based enamels, properly cured.
Conserving Natural Resources
Recycled plastic lumber or plastic/wood composite lumber has been used in many exterior applications such as decks, posts, railings, and fences. Due to its weather and insect resistant nature, plastic lumber has been substituted for wood in non-structural applications. It has a long life expectancy in wet applications and will not leach chemicals into the ground, surface water, or soil as treated wood can.
Several engineered structural products, including laminated veneer lumber(LVL), wood I-beams and I-joists, and advantek plywood have been used extensively throughout the project. These products combine efficient raw material use with improved strength and performance capabilities to produce a superior option to traditional materials. Engineered lumber manufacturers use fast-growing , small diameter trees efficiently. These products also reduce waste because you only order what you need because of efficiencies in the production process.