Small is not only beautiful these days, but also more practical, adaptable, and sustainable, as exemplified in the 640-square-foot BrightBuilt Barn prototype production house. Every aspect of this LEED-Platinum home, from materials selection to net-energy performance to water efficiency, was thoughtfully integrated into its design and carefully executed in its pre-fabricated construction.
The judges commended BrightBuilt’s simplicity of form and how well it “lives” for its size due to its flexible open plan. But they also appreciated the performance-focused features integrated into a replicable package, and the obvious results, including a HERS rating of 23 and an ACH@50 of 0.590. “From its inception, the design was driven by five guiding principles: livability, sustainability, replicability, disentanglement, and education,” explains Robin Tannenbaum of project designers Kaplan Thompson Architects.
The prototype is packed with every option available now in the for-sale models that Kaplan Thompson and Bensonwood Homes are offering: a super-insulated shell (R-40), a 6.2-kW grid-connected PV array and an evacuated-tube solar thermal system, a supplemental heat pump and heat recovery ventilation, high-efficiency lighting fixtures, and water-efficient plumbing fixtures. A way-cool real-time energy monitoring system includes an LED light skirt on the exterior perimeter that glows green when the house is a net-producer and red when it’s using grid power.
Production models are fitted for options, shop-fabricated, and shipped to the site for fast, efficient assembly. “This house pulls everything together,” said one judge. “You don’t have to say it’s a good green house, it’s just a good house.”
BrightBuilt Barn, Rockport, Maine | Size: 640 square feet | Price: $125,000 to $225,000 (depending on options) | Completed: Fall 2008 | Certifications: LEED-Platinum; Living Building Challenge | HERS Rating: 23 | Architect: Kaplan Thompson Architects, Rockport, Maine | Builder: Bensonwood Homes, Walpole, N.H. | Verifier: Fore Solutions, Portland, Maine
Energy: R-40 shell / Thermotech triple-glazed windows (unit value R-4.6, U-0.20) / 6-kW SunPower PV system / Thermomax Mazdon evacuated-tube solar thermal / Trane Wethertron heat pump / Aspen dual coil air handler | Resources: Locally milled lumber and finishes / engineered framing / Atlas metal roofing with 31% recycled content | IAQ: Huber Advantech formaldehyde-free sheathing / Lifebreath HRV / low-VOC paints and finishes | Water: low-flow Kohler, Delta, and Sterling plumbing fixtures / drought-tolerant landscaping
Windows and Doors: Thermotech Fiberglass Fenestration / Polycarbonate Panels: Duo-Gard / Door Hardware: Stanley / Timber Framing: Nordic Engineered Wood / Siding: Locally milled pine
Roofing: Atas / Decking: Locally milled Eastern white cedar / Insulation: Dow; National Fiber; Bonded Logic / Appliances: Danby (refrigerator); Verona (stove); Fisher & Paykel (dishwasher) / Countertops: Jon Meade Design / Cabinetry: Liza Wheeler / Kitchen Faucets: Kohler / Bath Faucets: Kohler / Showerhead: Delta / Toilets: Sterling / Flooring: Locally sourced white pine / Paints & Stains: Land Ark; Painter’s Touch; Cabot / Interior Lighting: Lightolier; Philips Color Kinetics; Lithonia Lighting / Exterior Lighting: Philips Color Kinetics; Intense Lighting / HVAC: Lifebreath; Trane; Aspen / Alternative Energy: SunPower (PV); Thermomax (solar hot water)