Contact Us

Project Participants:

Heller Construction
Phone: 530-587-4827

Yankin's Reclaimed Materials
Phone: 530-587-3700


Truckee Tahoe Lumber

Mountain Hardware & Sports

Mountain Home Center

L+P DesignWorks

Sons Development & Green Building Supplies

Gabbart & Woods Structural Engineers

MWA, Inc Architects and Engineers

Solar Wind Works

State-of-the-Art Sustainable New Mountain Home

Front Entrance towards “bridge”

Homeowner Goals

Our overall strategy was to keep the short and long-term impacts of the construction and operation of the house to a minimum. We referred to many of the “green” scoring systems (such as LEED, GreenPoint, Passivehaus, and Living Building Challenge) to develop our own goals. To avoid some of the downsides of the scoring systems (so-called “point chasing”) we decided to only rate with GreenPoint and Energy Star. Our primary goals were (of equal importance):


·Energy efficiency (construction and operation)

·Water Efficiency

·Human Health (occupants, builders and suppliers)

·Minimize material consumption impact

·Minimize or restore site impact (permaculture).

·Human factors (aesthetics matter!)

Ways in which we tried to meet those goals…

In Design (a brief list):

·Passive solar gain: East-West house orientation maximizes southern solar gain and daylight while minimizing western facade overheating.

·Maximum day-lighting using windows, overhangs and interior windows locations.

·Open floor plan for optimal air circulation.

·Universal design for ease of access for all abilities.

·“Scalable” house multi-zone floor plan and mechanical design allow house to be energy efficient for 2-9+ occupants.

·Integration of natural environment through green roof, living wall, greenhouse, screen porch, and creek.

·Water runoff management (and snow melt) re-infiltrated through trenches, bio-swales and drywells.

·Sealed basement is unconditioned yet integrated with house ventilation.

·Barn located and designed for maximum photovoltaic gain.

·Double-walls and I-Joist roofs for maximum insulation.

·Designed on a 2 ft grid to efficiently use framing materials.

·All electric, fossil-fuel free house (except for back-up generator).

In Construction:

·Advanced Framing Techniques (e.g. 24” OC studs and engineered wood)

·Airtight building using gaskets, embedded polyethylene air-barrier, high quality tape, spray foam, caulking and minimal, sealed penetrations.

·Super Insulation: Roof has closed-cell spray foam and sprayed Spider Fiberglass (R-70); double-walls of Spider fiberglass (R-44); Basement walls Spider Fiberglass and EPS foam boards (R-30); sub-slab insulation spray foam (R-20).

·Testing: Blower door, smoke test and infrared cameras to find flaws (final result: 1.1 ACH CFM50).

·High Efficiency Windows: Triple-pane, low-e coated glazing with thermal spacers made from FSC wood with aluminum exterior cladding.

·Integrated radon capture and venting system.

In Systems:

·Solar thermal system for heating and domestic hot water.

·Ground source heat pump for secondary, but primary heating source.

·Heat pump water heater for boosting DHW capacity.

·Central wood stove for high-efficiency, EPA certified auxiliary heating.

·No A/C system - passive cooling instead.

·Photovoltaic system grid-tied, 10.7 kW solar PV system on barn roof.

·High efficiency lighting (100% LED and CFL’s)

·All appliances are Energy Star rated.

·Whole house ventilation: Central HRV and Energy Star rated fans.

·Structured plumbing and regulated hot water recirculation pump.

·Low-flow toilets and showers: Watersense certified.

·Advanced control systems: to manage and monitor energy use.

In Materials:

·Reuse of site material: Felled trees used for interior finish, fencing, mulch, and firewood. Stone used for walls and paths. Topsoil re-used for landscaping.

·Use reclaimed materials: Almost all finish wood is reclaimed: exterior siding (both house and barn), flooring, interior walls and ceilings.

·Use recycled material: Metal siding, roof and I-beams are made from recycled US steel. Greenroof material from recycled sources.

·FSC wood: Used for all structural wood. (95+% of wood is FSC or reclaimed)

·Minimal use of “red-list” materials: such as PVC, urea-formaldehyde, polystyrene, drywall and copper.

·Low or No VOC paints, stains, caulking and adhesives. Clay paints and natural plaster on interior walls.

·Recycling waste: over 95% of all off-site waste (70% excluding organic matter) Even the recycling bins are recycled!

·Local sourcing of wood, stone, rock, concrete, soil, insulation, and interior finishes.

Designers, Vendors and Suppliers

Architecture: MWA, Inc. - Architecture and Engineering.

Contractor: Heller Construction, Inc.

Green consultant: Ann V. Edminster

Geotech engineers: Holdrege & Kull

Structural engineers: Gabbart & Woods

Ground Source Wells: Bruce McKay

Site Work: Al Pombo, Inc

Energy Systems: Bender Engineering

Photovoltaic: Solar Wind Works

Interior Design: Heller Construction, Inc., Katherine Elkins Rule , ASID and Patty Heller

Roofing system: Sierra Sage Roofing

Landscape Design: L+P Designworks

Landscaping: Tahoe “C” Company

Insulation: Sierra Insulation

Air-Seal Testing: Lake Tahoe Home Performance

Plumbing (heating): Craig Price

Plumbing (domestic water): MJ Berenbak Plumbing

Electrical and Controls: Squaw Valley Electric

Sheetrock and Plaster: Mudslingers

Living Wall: Habitat Horticulture

Metal Fabrication: Hunter Metal

Masonry: Ken Saling Masonry

On-site wood milling: Dan Borghi


Exterior wood siding: TrestleWood II and Picklewood from Trestlewood

Exterior metal siding: 22 Gauge, A606-4 steel sheets, 70% recycled content

Exterior cedar fascia, decking and fence posts: Milton Holsten Forest Products

Barn siding: Yankins Lumber

Structural lumber: (FSC and Engineered): Truckee Tahoe Lumber

Interior wood floor and paneling: Superior Hardwoods

Interior doors and front door: High Sierra Doors

Interior paints: Benjamin Moore Natura and Bioshield Clay Paints

Interior wood stains: Bioshield Aqua Resin with natural bees wax

Interior plaster: Stucco Italiano natural lime plaster

Roofing: A606-4 corrugated steel (“corten”), CertainTeed Landmark Pro 50 year asphalt shingles, IB RoofSystem membrane for flat decks.

Insulation: Johns Manville Corbond III Closed Cell Spray Foam, JM “Spider” blown fiberglass; EPS foam from Insulfoam.

Windows (and glass doors): Loewen; Green-house skylights from Crystalite.

Building gaskets: Conservation Technology for sill plates and windows

SIGA air-sealing tapes (Small Planet Workshop)

Polyethylene air-barrier: Tu-Tuf XF

Solar thermal system is Heliodyne Heliopak with collectors from GOBI

Ground source heat pumps: Geocomfort GWT048B, COP 3.1, Energy-Star

Heat pump water heater: GE Geospring Hybrid, 2.4 Energy Factor, Energy-Star

Barn hardware: Crown Industrial

Fireplace: Xtrodinair 44 Elite, 76,000 BTU, 2.5 gm/hr emmisions.

Generator: GE 30 KW, propane

Photovoltaic system is 42 AUO 255W modules with Enphase micro-inverters.

Ventilation system (HRV): Zehnder 550 (80% heat recovery at <1w/cfm) and Panasonic WhisperGreen fans.

Green roof system: XeroFlor

Control Systems: Lutron (for lights), Savant (A/V, Energy), Rehau/ENV (heating), Cyber-Rain (irrigation)

Project Description: New Construction home, five bedroom, four full baths, two half baths

Owners: Montgomery

Size: 5,600 SF plus 1,600 SF barn, five acre lot

Schedule: Design began Spring 2010, Construction began July 2011, completed Sept 2013

Architecture: MWA, Inc. - Architecture and Engineering.

Builder: Heller Construction, Inc.

Green consultant: Ann V. Edminster

Energy Systems: Bender Engineering

Landscape Design: L+P Designworks

Tags: New Construction
Passive Solar
Passive Cooling
Solar Photovoltaic
Solar Thermal
Advanced framing
Water Conservation
High Thermal Mass
Building Performance
Healthy Interiors (IAQ)
Ground Source Heat Pump
Reclaimed Wood
Recycled Materials
Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating

Mail can be sent to: SiGBA P.O. Box 4245 Truckee, CA 96160

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