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High Performance and Durability Homes At Market Prices

Weiss Building & Development LLC introduces yet another first of a kind project in Illinois by completing the first DOE (US Department of Energy) Challenge Home in the state.  Challenge Home is the DOE’s new program that certifies homes to not only a high level of energy efficiency, but also addresses comfort, health, quality construction, durability, and advanced technology.  Challenge Home also requires that homes be net zero ready on top of their stringent energy requirements. This new custom residence at 4711 Northcott in Downers Grove, also received NAHB Green Building Emerald, their highest green certification level, EPA Indoor Air Plus, and is the first third party certified green home to be built in Downers Grove.  This home offers a great case study into the fact that healthier, very efficient homes, that are sustainable and built to a high level of building science can be done at market prices.  This 3600 sq ft home was completed for less than $140 per sq ft, proving that “green homes” do not have to cost more than code built homes.  Included in this modest budget was an extensive underground storm water system, and 35’ deep caissons for a foundation due to soil conditions and lot elevations. Part of the final performance testing of this home was our third party testing.  We tested the home for duct tightness, air tightness, and indoor air quality.  Our final numbers for the blower door test on this home were 1.25 ACH@50 (60% better than Energy Star 3.0 requirements) which with our insulation values, mechanical systems, lighting, and appliances led to a HERS score of 35.  HERS ...

Chicagoland’s First Certified Passive House : Part 3 of 3

WBD’s last entry and additional Q&A surrounding Chicago’s first Passive House project: So why wouldn’t you build a passive house? I can’t tell you how many times people came through the house under construction at our various construction tours and after the tour asked, “ So why wouldn’t everyone build a Passive House? It seems like a no brainer.” Once people tour this type of home they realize the many pro’s of this type of construction: money savings on utility bills, money savings on maintenance, ultra comfort, super air quality, and overall extreme durability. There were a couple instances where the client had to make some compromises such as an induction cooktop and a condensation dryer. However, after living in the home, they have no complaints on the dryer, and the cooktop gives chefs much more control and even cooking temperatures in their pans. The benefits far outweigh the compromises. Passive houses do not have to look a certain way architecturally. A passive house could look like modern, prairie style, craftsman, Mediterranean, or any other style you may like. A passive house can look however you envision your dream home. It also can be framed using many different approaches. It could be ICF, stick built, or SIPS. There are many options for designing or building. The only limit is the knowledge of your architect and builder. The design/build team for this particular house can build a Passive House in any price range, size, or style. What are some other highlights or green features of the project? • Diverted 96% of waste from landfill • Used windows from old house...

Chicagoland’s First Certified Passive House: Part 1

Weiss Building & Development has proudly completed the first Certified Passive House in the Chicagoland area and only the 28th in the United States. This is a great accomplishment of setting a higher bar for how efficient a home can be, without the necessity of expensive equipment. Architect and Certified Passive House Consultant Tom Bassett Dilley Architects designed the 3600 square foot home is in River Forest, IL. Passive House is the worlds most stringent energy efficiency certification that is only pass/fail; there is no honorable mention. The certification was founded in 1988 by Dr. Wolfgang Feist and the first “passiv haus” was built in Darmstadt, Germany in 1990. Since then over 30,000 certified projects have been completed in Europe and building codes in Germany are starting to adopt this type of construction as part of the code requirement. The United States is gaining traction slowly with 27 homes completed prior to WBD’s first Certified Passive House in Chicagoland. The homeowners of this Passive House decided to build a home because the house they wanted did not exist on the market. They wanted a home that was healthy, comfortable, efficient, super durable, and concrete. The Passive House approach was perfect for comfort and energy efficiency. Our knowledge, focus and air quality testing resulted in a healthier home. Insulated concrete forms (ICF’s) by Biltmore Insulated Concrete served as a perfect fit for the concrete home requirement, by providing a quick way to frame the home, a great r-value and airtightness. The durable aspect came from the level of building science and knowledge in our project team, as well as the...