45-12 11 St. is designed to human scale, using only what is needed, remaining open and airy. High ceilings, warm materials, clean lines and abundant light and breezes will make the home feel even more spacious. A full-home, automated smart technology system enables the Homeowners to control heat, lighting and cameras, as well as track utility consumption in real time.
Throughout the home, materials and technology will help save energy.
Wood joists and other wood members to be recycled to local artisan.
45-12 11 St. will feature an array of water-efficient technologies and appliances, such as low-flow shower heads and dual-flush toilets that generally use less than a gallon of water each flush.
From the ground up to the roof, 45-12 11 St.’s landscape design will demonstrate an eco-friendly aesthetic with systems that sustain and replenish the environment: green roofs, rain barrels, porous paving and rain gardens.• Native plants have extensive root systems, are welladapted to our climate, and attract beneficial insects.
• Green roofs reduce energy costs; decrease the urban heat island effect by cooling air temperature
and slow stormwater run-off.
• Rain barrels harvest rainwater to irrigate plants, so we use less drinking-quality water.
• Fresh vegetables and herbs are available during three seasons.
The green roof helps insulate, absorb rainwater and minimize runoff. Solar rooftop panels generate much of the home’s electricity. ENERGY STAR appliances and an array of energy-efficient
technologies help save energy as well.
Heat-retaining building shape
45-12 11 St. has a simple, rectangular shape to minimize the ratio of surface area to volume. (A cube
would be even better. A sphere has the lowest ratio.)
The walls are more than a foot thick to achieve an insulation value of about R-50. In comparison, NYC’s building code requires a minimum side wall insulation level of just R-13.
The triplepane windows achieve an R-11 insulation value in the center of the glass, and they close like a bank vault to stop cold drafts.
All the holes and seams in the building envelope (the outer perimeter
of the living space) have been carefully sealed. As a result, it’s expected that the “draftiness” of
45-12 11 St will be less than 0.6 air changes per hour when measured by a pressurized blower door test. In comparison, a typical new house might have 3-6 air changes per hour, and a drafty old house might be as high as 20.
Thermal bridge-free construction
The walls in 45-12 11 St. are designed to eliminate such thermal bridging with the strategic placement of insulation.
Ventilation and moisture control
No combustion sources — Combustion creates carbon monoxide and other air
pollutants, which is why gas furnaces and appliances need to be vented to the outside.
But that venting wastes a lot of energy. Why blow warm air out of the house in the
winter? 45-12 11 St. will have no combustion sources—no furnace, no fireplace, no gas stove, no gas hot water heater, no gas clothes dryer.
In the future, it will probably be unusual to experience a house with a gas-fired furnace
or boiler. It will be strange to hear the noise of a blower motor and feel a blast of hot air
or to hear the clanking of steam pipes. It will seem uncivilized to live in a house with
drafts, cold spots, and room temperatures that fluctuate wildly as the furnace cycles on
and off. And it will seem ridiculous to pay a lot of money for heating bills.
An airtight house can develop indoor air quality problems if adequate ventilation is not provided. But when you vent stale air from a house, you also lose heat. So 45-12 11 St. ventilation system transfers the heat of the outgoing air to the incoming fresh air. The energy is transferred at 84 percent efficiency. As a result, the house has healthy fresh air with little energy penalty.
45-12 11 St. is designed to maintain temperature like a thermos. The heating demand will be so low that the home needs no conventional furnace.
45-12 11 St.’s energy recovery ventilation system will provide a continuous flow of
fresh, filtered air at the proper humidity. In addition, the walls are designed so moisture
cannot accumulate and create mold. (Some of the passive solar houses of the ‘70s had problems because they failed to address this.)
Energy-recovery ventilation (ERV) exhausts stale air and brings in fresh air while
capturing approximately 84 percent of the heat, controlling humidity, and filtering the air.
Energy-efficient appliances and lighting
It makes no sense to build an extremely energy-efficient house and then fill it with energy hogging
appliances and lighting. So 45-12 11 St will feature Energy Star appliances and extremely efficient
Low-VOC paints and materials
45-12 11 St. will be built by using non-toxic materials: no- or low-volatile organic compounds (VOCs) paints; air filtration and purification systems Volatile organic compounds off-gas from drying
paint and can be hazardous, so they should be reduced as much as possible. Other materials in the home are chosen with this in mind. Hard-surface floors — Carpeting can be a trap for dirt, dust, allergens, mites, mold, and other things that can affect your health. 45-12 11 St. will
have recycled hardwood floors that are easier to keep clean, along with carpet tiles and
rugs that can be washed.
With its thick, well-insulated walls, high-performance windows, and no noisy forced-air furnace, 45-12 11 St. should be a quiet refuge from all the noise pollution in the rest of our urban environment.