The Evolution of Sustainable Homebuilding on Display in the Nation’s Capital

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Published on: Nov. 24, 2015

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Thousands of sustainable building pros gathered last week in Griffin’s backyard at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for Greenbuild 2015. Unquestionably, the star among the more than 550 manufacturers in attendance was Unity Homes (Unity) – an offshoot of Bensonwood – who were responsible for constructing a net zero-energy home on the showroom floor in three days. Two of our clients were featured in this display and will be instrumental to its sustainability when the house returns permanently to New England.

Sleek and silent, the first thing visitors to the home might have noticed was the Mitsubishi Electric cooling and heating unit raised on a platform outside the rear wall of the house. Team members at Unity anticipate LEED® Platinum certification for the home; the cooling and heating system’s impressive efficiency is a significant part of that achievement.

Visitors to the home were also greeted by beautiful, functional windows from Intus Windows. Intus’ multi-chambered, in-swing windows in the main living area will help to maximize thermal efficiency by retaining heat in the winter and releasing it in the summer for natural comfort in any season. The result: a dramatic cut in energy use and costs.

Expecting a 300-year design life, the Unity team has been thinking ahead, building the house without load-bearing walls, but rather in multiple “flexible design platforms” to accommodate future innovation. The home’s flexible design means Unity is likely the measure of Greenbuild’s initiative for centuries to come.

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