Cleantech Homes, LLC Opens Sustainable Teaching Center

June 15, 2010

The Cleantech Homes, LLC Teaching Center, a Beverly, Mass. prototype home, will open to the public by appointment on June 26. The Cleantech demonstration home will be used as a vehicle for information and learning on the topic of sustainability in homes.

“We’ve come to realize that one of the larger obstacles in this initiative towards sustainability and high performance is the need for information,” Cleantech president Jim Farnham said.

The house will be a showcase for at least six months and will be featured in the first three episodes of DIY’s new show “This New House,” produced by Time Warner-This Old House Ventures.

Some things that make the house different from other “green” demonstration houses include:
  • Exclusive use of LED lights throughout the entire house
  • Energy monitoring system integrated with the home automation, lighting control and HVAC
  • Hybrid, modulating mechanicals including geothermal, solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, energy recovery ventilators, building pressure control and ultra-high-efficiency propane-fired back-up boiler
Cleantech is also calculating return on investment and providing information on cash flow and payback.

Farnham said Cleantech wants to prove that living in an environmentally-friendly way can make sense financially while still providing a comfort to the homeowner.

Trend USA is a sponsor of the Teaching Center, and Trend tile was used exclusively in the house. All plumbing fixtures in the house were from Kohler, and FSC-certified trim and low-voc paint were used in all of the rooms.

In the kitchen, Plato Cabinetry provided the bamboo cabinetry, and the appliances were all Bosch. FSC-certified cherry flooring was also used in parts of the kitchen. The bathroom exhaust systems are all tied to energy recovery ventilators and building pressure controls and are operated with timers.

“We have tasked ourselves with the idea of building a home that could be green and sustainable, but also comfortable and fun,” Farnham said. “We are keenly aware that if the broader marketplace does not embrace ‘green’ and sustainability, then these initiatives will be far from effective in addressing the larger issues.”

The Teaching Center has applied for LEED Platinum Certification, the highest level of LEED certification.

Currently, the house is not occupied when not in use, but the idea of residency is not out of the question. Farnham said there has been discussion on the subject, particularly as it relates to monitoring energy usage and comparing it to that in a typical home.

“Hopefully consumers and designers come away from the project understanding the greater connectedness of things, the importance of integration when building,” Farnham said. “Above all, this type of building involves a greater amount of creativity and innovation, and that when all of the information is considered, it really makes sense to embrace this new way of building and living.”


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