Article No: 232

2008-04-03 11:53:29
Growing a Green Oregon
By: Chelsea Wallace

 architecture by Peter B. Coughlin • engineering by Glacier Inc. • built by PeterBuilt Homes LLC
• photography courtesy of Peterbuilt Homes
When architectural beauty fuses with energy efficiency, a “green” masterpiece is created, boasting its aesthetic and practical qualities. Such a gem belongs to Bob and Kaye Eberhard, and with one glance at the residence, it is no wonder the home 2007’s Insulating Concrete Form Association (ICFA) Large and Grand Residential Award.

The project began when Bob and Kaye Eberhard, owners of a local dairy, decided to build an energy efficient home on a lot they had purchased a few blocks from their residence. Word quickly spread to the Eberhards about Peterbuilt Homes, a builder of energy efficient insulating concrete form (ICF) homes in their area. Soon enough, father-son duo Peter Coughlin and Peter Coughlin Jr. met with the couple to discuss their desires for a new abode.

The home had to be one story, and the Eberhards wanted SolarSheat air collectors and radiant floor heating as well as other elements to make their home more energy efficient. But with an oddly shaped lot on the edge of a cliff, design changes were in order.

“They had some plans for a house that wouldn’t quite fit on the lot,” says Peter Coughlin, who has been in the business for 19 years. “I took some elements of the house and put them together in different places. I added some round elements—a round living room, mainly—and I kind of surprised them with the first draft.” After a few more meetings, the Eberhards were extremely pleased with plans for their new home.

The Coughlins then began work on the house using Logix 6-foot ICF Block with a 35 percent concrete mix and poured Fastfoot foundation system damp-proof footings. Instead of the typical 2-by-8s or 2-by-10s used for forming, the Fastfoot foundation uses 2-by-4s set to grade. Then, a special fabric is stapled to the 2-by-4s and concrete is poured into the form. The process saves wood and makes building ICF radius walls easier.

One of the more complex aspects of the home was the roof, which was a raised heel wood truss system. Ceiling boards were installed, and then insulators blew in 3 inches of Demilec Foam in areas that were vaulted and on top of the dry wall in the flat ceiling areas when possible. An R-49 Cellulose was then blown over the foam in the ceiling. This process essentially sealed off the entire roof, and the dry wall was then applied over it, giving the roof an R-value of 64.

 Even the windows and doors utilize the highest green technology. Sun 240 glass, a double-sided low-E glass with blue tinting, gives the performance of a double-glazed window by reflecting the sunlight instead of allowing it inside. The sustainable interior wood/exterior aluminum clad windows are made with 40 percent recycled materials from Sierra Pacific Windows, a company dedicated to environmental conservation.

The doors are Therma-Tru Fiberglass foam insulated man-doors, which are low maintenance and have a high R-value, but the main entry door is what grabs attention. A stunning Jabota Brazilian Cherry double door, the heavy-duty hard wood broke at least 15 titanium drill bits in attempt to install hinges, according to Coughlin.

The energy saving features of the home are also impressive. On the south-facing wall of the home, three SolarSheat solar air collectors pre-heat the incoming fresh air to provide warmth for the house. In the summertime, a switch can be flipped to turn on a motorized damper and pull in air from a shaded area instead.

The Eberhard Residence also features solar hot water, which Coughlin says is leading-edge technology for the area. “I was one of the first builders to put the evacuated tubes up on the roof, and those things are incredible,” he says. Utilizing a 400-gallon storage tank, the system pulls water up into the 180 A-30 evacuated tube collectors and picks up BTUs from the sun. The tank stores those BTUs from the daytime, and the domestic hot water and radiant floor each pull the BTUs from the tank through a heat exchanger. “There are times of the year when that solar [energy] does everything,” says Coughlin. “The system is pretty proficient, even in zero-degree weather, as long as the sun is out, because they use vacuum tubes.” Both these systems provide a significant amount the home’s total energy.

With 4,247 square feet of living space, the Eberhards’ home has elegant and practical design features as well. Automatic motorized shades are programmed to lower when the sun angles into the home, blocking out 70 percent of the light. The powder room has unique design features like a free-spun natural glass sink over recycled mosaic tile, and natural fossil stone columns from Mexico add character to the entry. Perhaps the most breathtaking element of the home, the radius walls in the great room and living room showcase stunning mountain views, since Coughlin situated the floor plans at just the right angle.

Coughlin says the home also takes advantage of the latest electronic equipment. A Cat-5 programmable low-voltage electrical lighting control system manages the home’s 50 light switches. LCD custom displays located in the kitchen and entry can turn on or off specific lights in the home, all of which are hooked up to a security and phone system. All appliances in the home have high Energy Star ratings.

With Oregon’s new Residential Energy Tax Credit offering incentives to people who build with the environment in mind, more green exemplars such as this home should be popping up across the state—but until then, the Eberhard’s home will stand above the rest.