Green Achievements

By using an integrated design process, homeWORD was able not just to provide green affordable housing for 35 families, but also to contribute to the local economy through the use of locally sourced materials, partnerships with other local organizations, and by preserving a portion of the site for agricultural use.

Synergy Through Up-Front Design and Planning:

By establishing performance goals early and planning carefully, the project team succeeded in reducing the project's carbon footprint, often through strategies that addressed other priorities, too. For example, two other project goals were to preserve open space by reducing the amount of land used for buildings, and to reduce the amount of impermeable surfaces on the land. An elegant solution addressed all three of these green priorities. Since Missoula County does not permit the use of pervious materials for parking surfaces, the team included an underground parking garage in the program. The decision to move a portion of the parking underground preserved the open space needed for the community gardens and orchard. Replacing pavement with gardens also encourages "food security" by producing food on-site.2 The orchard's trees help reduce car-


• Passive solar access maximized though building orientation and window placement

• Developed land reduced by clustering housing

• Existing cottonwood trees preserved

Organic farm and community gardens

• Impervious surfaces and asphalt reduced by placing parking underground beneath main building

• Located near major road arterials, public transportation, and a bike/trail system

• Free resident bus pass program available (bus stop is % mile away)


Landscaping includes native and climate-appropriate plants. Drip irrigation that will be phased out once plants are established

• Bioswales created to channel stormwater for on-site filtration

• Worked directly with plumbing contractor to select low-flow fixtures, including showerheads and faucets, and dual-flush toilets


• Passive solar shading techniques appropriate for the local climate

• Energy modeling used to select energy-efficient heating and cooling systems

• Buildings commissioned to evaluate energy performance.

Ground source heat pump for heating and cooling buildings utilizes Missoula aquifer

• Solar heat used to preheat domestic hot water

• On-demand, tankless hot-water heaters

• Photovoltaic system ties into grid (no on-site storage required) and provides part of general electrical needs.

• Double-paned, low-e, argon-filled double-hung windows

• Air-to-air heat exchangers provide continuous ventilation and recover heating/cooling energy from exhaust air

• Sealants and foam insulation create airtight barrier at the building envelope

• High R-value insulation

• ENERGY STAR® appliances chosen for refrigerators and washing machines

• CFL lighting fixtures and motion sensors installed where appropriate (parking garage, hallways, outside)

• Structural insulated panels used in roof structure of row houses

Materials and Resources

• Rapidly renewable materials, including small-diameter log fencing and wheatboard cabinetry

• Recycled-content products, including carpeting, metal roofing, recycled glass for road base, soundboard

• Natural linoleum flooring

• Locally sourced materials used, including sustainably harvested lumber, salvaged wood for barn doors, straw-bale walls in community barn

• Fly ash (a by-product of coal mining) used instead of cement in all concrete work (35% fly ash in four building foundations, and a 100% fly ash foundation for community barn)

• Fifty-two percent of construction waste diverted from landfills through on-site waste management

• PVC-free plumbing system

Health and Comfort

• Formaldehyde-free/ CFC-free polyurethane spray foam used for insulation

• No-smoking policy mandated during construction; reinforced during weekly visits by homeWORD staff and reminders to contractor

• No- and low-volatile organic compound (VOC) paints, sealants, adhesives, carpet.

• Bathroom fans ensure that humid air is removed, thus reducing opportunity for mold growth

Durability and Ease of Maintenance

• Resident manual includes instructions and tips for efficient operations

• Buildings designed with durability in mind through materials selection (such as heavy-gauge commercial-quality roofing) and construction techniques

• Direct digital control system installed to monitor and document trends in energy use from a distance; data provided also aid with maintenance and feedback to residents bon dioxide created by the buildings, which in turn sup- creation fostered yet more synergy. By selecting materials ports the goal of reducing the carbon footprint. that are not only sustainable (i.e., made with rapidly renew-

Encouraging a relationship between materials and job ing resources or with recycled content) but also locally sourced, Orchard Gardens was able to support the local economy as well as to conserve resources. Using heat recovery ventilators, which save energy while supplying fresh air in tight buildings, addresses connections between superior energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality.

The Planning Process: The multiple benefits that derive from creating such connections are best achieved by establishing closer coordination and communication among the various building professionals. After homeWORD defined the basic program for this project, they held two design

"This discipline of thought is not applied, but rather, integral to the whole design process from beginning to end . . . it's holistic."

Don MacArthur

MacArthur, Means & Wells, Architects charrettes.3 First came a neighborhood charrette, intended to solicit neighbor input for an inclusionary design process. This charrette addressed issues of density, parking, open space preservation, and options for design vernacular.

Next came an "ecocharrette" that established ambitious green building goals and involved the project's design professionals, including a sustainable building and energy modeling consultants. During the ecocharrette, homeWORD and the design team established sustainable goals and brainstormed creative solutions. For example, homeWORD worked with the civil engineering and design professionals to set water conservation goals early in the charrette and then collaborated to develop a landscaping plan based on a natural approach to stormwater management. For guidance, the team used the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings system (using

LEED's Application Guide for Lodging because USBGC had not released criteria for residential projects at the time of the charrette).

The architectural firm MacArthur, Means, and Wells (MMW) created a schematic design based on the concepts that emerged from the charrettes. One question MMW kept asking was how local history could be reflected in the project. This led to a decision to preserve and re-create the garden concept of the original subdivision, which consisted of 5-acre plots with homes and gardens. Using the vernacular of local farm buildings as a starting point, the project's front face to the street became a deeply set-back, traditional-looking yellow farmhouse with a wrap-around porch.

Superior Energy Efficiency: Once the basic program had been determined, creating an energy model was the first step in selecting the project's heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems and energy-saving measures. This energy model showed the operating cost benefits of various measures and helped the design team to select a ground source heat pump, on-demand hot-water heaters, solar hot water, high-efficiency lighting, and improved insulation. The model predicted energy savings of 43 percent as compared to a conventionally designed project.

Early plans provided specific details about energy-efficient systems, advanced framing systems, insulation, and other options for saving energy. The team used this information in their fundraising efforts with a variety of private foundations to seek support for the sustainable aspects of the design.

Creating Innovative Partnerships to Reach Goals:

HomeWORD created several partnerships that supported the local economy by investing in locally sourced materials and reducing construction waste.

Reducing materials and construction waste. Home-WORD required the general contractor to reduce the waste produced on-site by developing an aggressive construction waste management program. The contractor diverted 52

A ground source heat pump, utilizing the local Missoula aquifer, provides the heating and cooling needs for Orchard Gardens. Each unit has individual controls for heating and cooling. © Mark Fritch.

percent of the construction waste. Waste disposal savings accrued to the contractor to support exploration of this method. One strategy the contractors implemented was to organize all lumber on-site. By holding to a high standard for keeping the site clean and organized, the workers were able to utilize longer pieces of scrap lumber and reduce waste. For example, during the framing process, they used fewer full sticks of lumber for blocking because they knew where to go to source scrap lumber. The general contractor discovered that implementing these systems for waste reduction reduced the cost of transporting the waste to the dump as well as tipping fees. He now plans to implement such processes into all his projects.

HomeWORD helped the contractor by creating partnerships to reuse materials with local organizations that support job training and creation. For example, homeWORD collaborated with Home Resource, a nonprofit organization that collects and sells reusable materials, to reuse wood scraps longer than 16 inches. After collecting the wood scrap, Home Resource then partnered with Opportunity Resource, a nonprofit that supports individuals with disabilities, to make shingles from the wood scraps. These shingles are sold through Home Resource to homeowners looking for moderately priced materials for home improvement.

Locally sourced materials. In its quest for locally sourced materials to use at Orchard Gardens, home-WORD developed partnerships that helped create markets for several locally sourced materials. One success story involves the wood used in the buildings. Montana is home to much timber production, and homeWORD felt it could promote the use of sustainably harvested timber while also supporting a fledgling local industry. By purchasing local products, homeWORD knew it could reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation and support good-wage jobs in the community.

Rather than purchase wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and trucked in from another state (with its associated cost premium and transportation impacts), homeWORD partnered with Wildland Conservation Services, an organization that encourages local forest stewardship by monitoring and sustainably logging local forests. Wildland Conservation Services sourced the timber from a nearby forest that was logged using sustainable practices. This practice cut out the middle men, sending timber straight to Orchard Gardens from the mill. Says project architect Don MacArthur, "At the end of the day, the product's cost was within pennies per linear foot of the cost of nonsustainably harvested timber. The logging practices that put primacy on forest health and regeneration of the ecosystem were supported by this project."

Since May 2006, this product, now called Good Wood, has been available to the larger community through Home Resource, a not-for-profit, sustainable building product store based in Missoula. (Good Wood is a partnership between Home Resource and Wildland Conservation Resources.) The successful use of Good Wood at Orchard Gardens demonstrated that there was a market for it, and Home Resource is now selling it just as fast as they can get it. As a nonprofit, they aren't interested in a markup, but rather in keeping it as affordable as possible for the local community.

The design team also incorporated fly ash into the concrete at Orchard Gardens. Fly ash is a by-product of coal combustion and replaces portland cement, a virgin product that is high in embodied energy. Fly ash is frequently used to replace up to 20 percent of the portland cement in concrete, but at Orchard Gardens, 35 percent fly ash content was used. In the community barn's foundation, 100 percent fly ash was used, eliminating the portland cement content completely. Requiring fly ash in the concrete at Orchard Gardens created a local market for it, and fly ash is now cheaper in Missoula than portland cement. There are two concrete plants in Missoula, and neither one used fly ash, so homeWORD used a concrete plant in Hamilton. The structural engineer for Orchard Gardens wrote a letter to the two Missoula plants, explaining that they needed to reevaluate their policy on fly ash, and the Missoula plants have now made fly ash readily available.

Straw-Bale Community Barn: The team dreamed of including a barn on-site to store tools for the orchard and gardens, as well as to offer a community space for gatherings. After original plans to salvage and rebuild a nearby historic barn fell through, the team decided to build a structural straw-bale barn to demonstrate the feasibility of build ing a load-bearing straw-bale barn instead of a typical post-and-beam barn. Betsy Hands, homeWORD's program manager, says, "This straw-bale barn is an incredible success. It features many of the ideals in green building— energy efficiency, rapidly renewable materials, salvaged materials, and a nontoxic environment"—not to mention the fact that the community helped to construct the barn by stacking the straw-bale walls and helping to apply the stucco finish on the walls. In addition, the large barn doors are made from salvaged wood and open up onto the courtyard with a public art project financed through a "1 percent for art" program (in which a portion of the construction budget is earmarked for an art installation that adds interest to the central community space).

PVC-Free Plumbing Systems: Another unique aspect of this project was the team's commitment to avoiding the use of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, in the plumbing systems. The production of PVC creates dioxin and other toxic by-products. PVC also contains harmful additives such as lead and phthalate plasticizers, which leach out during use. Committing to reduce the usage of PVC was an unusual step and required replacing PVC with copper, cast iron, and PEX (cross-linked high-density polyethylene) piping. Despite the design team's efforts, many building products contain PVC that could not be eliminated, such as in the insulation of electrical wiring. The general contractor submitted a base bid that included standard PVC products, and an alternate bid that included no PVC in the plumbing system. The team's choice to accept the alternate bid added 1 percent to the project's construction cost. However, homeWORD feels strongly about addressing this issue and, with future projects, plans to continue to research ways to further eliminate PVC.

Food Security: HomeWORD believes that food security is an important component of affordability for families on a limited budget. Food security measures contribute to sus-

tainability by encouraging local self-sufficiency and reducing the cost of transporting food over long distances. After creating a rooftop community garden in a previous project, homeWORD wanted to expand the use of food security strategies at Orchard Gardens. A local nonprofit will manage the gardens and ensure a consistent income stream to support the garden. In addition to the working farm, residents have been given plots to do their own gardening. Some food will go to a local food shelf, some to a community-supported agriculture organization (known as a CSA), and some to volunteers.

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.

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