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  306 W. Waldburg Residence306 W. Waldburg Residence

Developer

Trident Sustainable Group
210 E. Bay Street, Savannah, GA 31401
www.tridentsustainability.com

General Description

Location: Savannah, Georgia
LEED®-H Platinum
Date Bid: May 2012
Construction Period: Aug 2012 to May 2013
Total Square Feet: 2,588
Site: .06 acres. Number of Buildings: Two.
Building Sizes: First floor, 994; second floor, 994 (1,988 sq. ft.
conditioned); garage, 600; total, 2,588 sq. ft.
Building Height: Garage, 11’10”; basement; first floor, 11’6”;
second floor, 10’6”; total, 26’.
Basic Construction Type: New/Wood frame.
Foundation: Slab-on-grade. Exterior Walls: Brick, CMU. Roof: Membrane. Floors: Concrete, wood. Interior Walls: Wood stud drywall.

Project Team

Architect: Paul McKeever, AIA - 4843 Coldstream Drive, Atlanta, GA 30360
Structural Engineer: RWP Engineering - 31 W. Congress Street, Savannah, GA 31401
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Dulohery Weeks - 333 Commercial Drive, Savannah, GA 31406
General Contractor: R Peacock Construction - 128 Habersham Street, Savannah, GA 31401


Situated in the Historic Victorian District of Savannah, Georgia, 306 West Waldburg showcases how modern sustainability can be comfortably melded with the quaintness of neighboring Victorian homes, while still being affordable and elegantly managing the demands of a young family of four. Historically compatible materials used in a minimalistic style, brings a modern flare to the "floating box" imagery of the architectural form. Keeping the building location on the west side of the tenth-acre lot allowed for the creation of a private side yard influenced by an edible landscape design and enough space for a family-sized garden that complements the family's healthy lifestyle.

The main focus of this project was to illustrate how high-performance building practices and innovative sustainability techniques can be interjected into and complement the design restrictions and existing vernacular of a national historic district. This realization was achieved by bringing the owner, architect, designer, and contractors together during initial stages of design, allowing for specific modernist aesthetic and sustainability details to be achieved in a trade market where mainstream techniques are the normative. Working collaboratively across the trades and keeping an open mind led to numerous alternative building suggestions, including the framing contractor providing an innovative design for the floating staircase, and the mason suggesting the use of excess brick from the house for the courtyard pavers.

Sustainability of design was achieved by encompassing a wide array of different techniques focused towards earning LEED(R) for Homes Platinum certification and a phenomenal HERS rating of 32; all which are backed by a third party green rater and USGBC review. Featuring a 3-kilowatt solar PV array, plumbing fixtures that will reduce water usage by half, EnergyStar rated appliances, Cree and Eco-Smart LED lighting, 20 SEER variable speed heat pump with energy recovery ventilation, and Low-E laminated doors and windows, 306 W. Waldburg requires 70 percent less energy than a typical house.

Throughout the design and construction process, various challenges presented themselves as opportunities to promote new ways of addressing the architect/contractor relationship. During early stages of the project the designer, developer, and contractor worked collaboratively to help reduce costs and simplify construct-ability through specific design intent. A constant dialog was kept between all parties involved in order to provide solutions for problems that surfaced during the 8-month construction of the project. This involved a durability inspection checklist with over 25 specific instructions developed by the project team to ensure quality craftsmanship and long-term durability and a quality assurance program for the builder.

A functional floor plan and minimalist aesthetic contribute to the sometimes overlooked sustainable qualities of the project. On the lower level, an open floor plan was developed to cross-utilize spaces and the large sliding glass doors separating the dining room/kitchen from the deck add to the flow between the interior and exterior spaces. Strategically placed elements offer nodes of privacy while maintaining the general openness. Fewer walls and the removal of mainstream molding and trim accents throughout the house led to fewer needed materials, saving time, labor and money. The specific approach to this project has set the guidelines for sustainable design and construction in the greater Savannah region and throughout the Southeast and is leading the way in affordably transforming the energy-hungry urban fabric closer to net-zero.

306 W. Waldburg is a beacon for energy conservation, efficiency, and production of energy. On the roof, a 3-kilowatt Sunpower solar array with enphase microinverters helps produce energy for the building. Working towards net-zero, the system produces excess power during the day which is transferred back to the grid, while pulling back from the grid at night. Additional mounting brackets have already been installed to increase the system capacity another 30%. The HVAC system contains a 20 SEER Infinity Heat Pump with GreenSpeed, RenewAire ERV, and central dehumidification mode to keep the house economically cool and dry during months and warm during the winter months. The eMonitor energy monitoring system is constantly analyzing inputs from the different systems to maximize efficiency between them. Bosch appliances, which exceed EnergyStar requirements, have been used throughout the kitchen to reducing the demand for electricity and hot water. Conservation in energy used by lighting fixtures was reduced through the use of Cree LEDs, Eco-Smart LEDS, Lutron dimmers and occupancy sensor in storage and closet areas. EnergyStar celling fans help to reduce the need to run the AC to cool the house during temperate days and nights. Windsor Low E Laminate exterior doors and windows coupled with solar shades by Select Blinds minimize infiltration of air and solar radiation during the intense Savannah summers.

Through the use of mechanical systems and plumbing fixtures, The home was able to reduce building water use by over 50%. As water enters the house from the city sources, it passes through a Rinnair Instantaneous Condensing Gas Hot Water Heater that conserves natural gas by being a tankless system that only raises the temperature of water that is actually needed at that time. On the other end of the system, innovative plumbing fixtures conserve water by reducing the flowrate. The lowest flow dual flush toilets on the market, the Caroma Sydney Smart Dual Flush, were installed in each bathroom. Typical dual-flush toilets use 1.6/0.8 (or 1.1) gallons per flush and this toilet uses only 1.28/0.8 gallons per flush, for an average flush rate of 0.9 gallons per flush. The lavatory faucets, Moen 90 degree collection, are QaterSense rated at 1.5 gallons per minute and showerheads use 30 percent less water than one that meets minimal code requirements. These design decisions come together to reduce water usage and, inevitably, the buildings added waste to the Savannah sewer systems.

A majority of the building materials used during construction was low-impact, local, and were used in an innovative fashion. Using raw materials that are regionally sourced and manufactured, a ZIP sheating system building envelope helps to eliminate wasted building wrap, prevents water intrusion, and offers a better sealed building envelope than traditional envelope systems. The HardiPanel siding boards, by James Hardi, and the brick, from Taylor Clay products, are both regionally sourced materials used for exterior applications. Locally sourced pine was used for the riser-less stair case, the trusses in the house, and the decking on the sides and back of the house. Underneath the photovoltaic arrays lies a GAF modified bituminous roof with GAF EnergyStar white coating, helping to reduce intense solar gain caused by conventional asphalt roofing materials. The interior walls were surfaced with 100 percent recycled drywall, sourced from within 500 miles of the project location. Rapidly renewable bamboo flooring was installed in the second floor and extra brick remaining from cladding the house was repurposed for landscape pavers. Sherwin Williams Emerald Paint with 0 VOC emissions and low emitting sealants and adhesives were used for final detailing inside the home adding to the indoor air quality.

Building Techniques
It was very important for the architects and design team to work closely with contractor, in order to utilize innovative trade practices, to maximize the sustainable potential of the project. Early in the planning stage, 2x6 framing at 24 inches on-center and trusses at 19.2 inches OC was decided upon to reduce the necessary volume of framing lumber for the project without sacrificing the structural integrity of a building situated in a region prevalent to hurricanes. To best shield the house from moisture intrusion, a rainscreen was installed behind the cladding and on top of the ZIP sheathing. This provides a drainage plane behind all the siding so water can properly drain down the face of the house. The amount of glazing was minimized on the west façade, while the larger glazing on the east façade is shaded. For insulation, 6-inch Open Cell Spray Foam by Demilec helped to seal any air leaks while exceeding the state's code insulation levels by over 47 percent. Collaborative pre-design and open communication between architects, designers, and contractors led to less mandatory meetings during the latter half of the project and an overall smoother construction process. This style of project leadership is sustainable from a business standpoint and is sometimes an overlooked aspect of the construction and trades industry. Green Acres recycling promptly handled the construction waste from the site to further reduce waste output generated from the project.

Indoor Air Quality
In order to promote and maintain healthy indoor air quality, 306 W. Waldburg focused its efforts on the interior surfaces of the home and proper installation and specification of the HVAC unit. Honed concrete floors were used on the first floor of the project, creating a floor surface that is easy to clean and maintain. Sherwin Williams Emerald 0 VOC paints and low emitting sealants and adhesives were used throughout the home reducing the amount of volatile-organics release into the environment. The bamboo flooring and subfloor have no added urea-formaldehyde. All the ductwork was taped and sealed during the construction process to prevent contamination and future exfiltration, and the entire house was flushed with fresh air for 48 hours prior to occupancy. Interior air passes through 3M Filtrete 2200 Microparticle Performance Rating air filters before it is mixed with preconditioned air coming from the ERV unit keeping the house positively pressurized.

Site Design
A carefully full planned site design for the empty corner (infill) lot resulted in a project where building hugs the south-western corner of the property and allow for room for a spacious side yard and garden space between the main house and the carriage house.

The concept of the lot layout allowed for the edible and local landscaping, with the goal to bring homegrown foods into the kitchen, but as well for a potential future expansion of the residence.

The design of the site optimizes maximal space use for the size of the lot, which is only a tenth acre.

Results

  • LEED®-H Platinum

  • HERS rating of 32

  • 3rd party green rated.

  • Directly reducing dependence on the traditional utility grid - 70% more efficient than a traditional home and generating electricity with on-site solar.

  • 50% less building water consumption

  • Innovative, local, and low-impact materials

  • Sustainable construction and trade practices

  • High levels of indoor air quality

  • Integration with surrounding neighborhood

  • Backed by quantitative data
     

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