LEED Gold Certified Campus Housing

What are Green Homes?

Green homes are built to substantially exceed the performance levels offered by conventional, code-compliant new homes. A green home is designed and built to be healthy, comfortable, durable, energy efficient, and environmentally responsible.

What Can a Green Home Do for You?

COST SAVINGS: Can save thousands of dollars a year in utilities and maintenance costs.

WATER CONSERVATION: Can greatly reduce water consumption, saving thousands of gallons per year.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Can reduce energy consumption by more than 50 percent.

HEALTHIER HOMES: Provides a healthier indoor air quality and reduced infiltration of mold/mildew.

RESOURCE CONSERVATION: Saves resources in both the construction and in the operation of the home.

INHERENTLY GREEN: Lowers carbon footprint (measured CO2 emissions) by nearly 50 percent.

What is LEED for Homes?

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building certification system administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. It provides third party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions and indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources. There are four levels of certification from Certified to Silver, Gold and Platinum.

At Greenwich Country Day School sustainability is now integrated into the design and construction process and the operation of all its buildings.

Top 5 Features of your LEED Gold Home!

1. BUILT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME Building “green” begins with your approach: conventional stick-built or state-of-the-art modular. With modular building, your home is custom designed using advanced computer-aided design, then constructed in a precision, climate-controlled factory. On “day one” at your building site, your home is 80% complete, dramatically reducing the impact on the environment at your site. Conventional stick-built homes, by comparison, will interrupt the ecosystem for an average of 180 days.

Because your home is built in a closed indoor environment, lumber and other materials never get wet, eliminating mold and mildew problems. This creates a healthy living condition and clean nontoxic air in your home for your family to breathe.

2. TIGHTLY SEALED WITH A HIGHLY ENERGY EFFICIENT ENVELOPE A home’s “envelope” is the ‘skin’ that is exposed to the outside; the uppermost ceiling, wall, basement and windows. The better performing the envelope, the less heating or cooling is lost to the outdoors.

Builders measure the efficiency (heat loss) of the envelope using “R values,” which stands for ‘resistance to heat flow’ and the higher the R value the higher the resistance to heat flow and the lower the heat loss. Your home was built using “open cell foam” insulation to achieve R values superior to conventionally built homes.

  • Walls: your home R-26 (conventional home R-19)
  • Ceiling: your home R-60 (conventional home R-38)

Builders measure the efficiency of windows in “U factors.” The lower the U value, the greater the resistance to heat flow and the lower the heat loss. Your home’s windows are Andersen model 400 double paned low E Energy Star with a U-factor of 0.29/0.30 (roughly an R value of 4); single pane aluminum-framed windows have a U factor of 1.2 and an R value <1.

PRODUCING A HIGH OVERALL ENERGY EFFICIENCY RATING: R and U values measure how the home was built. A “Home Efficiency Rating Score” measures how the home actually performs. The HERS index provides a way to compare buildings versus the base “100” score of a conventionally built, code-compliant new home. The lower the HERS the higher the efficiency! Leaky, older homes can have HERS scores as high as 120, whereas new homes built using an Energy Star Standard receive typical HERS ratings around 80. Your home has a HERS rating of roughly 50!

3. A HEALTHIER HOME! Every home needs fresh air and circulation to maintain a healthy environment. How can a tightly-sealed building get fresh air (besides opening the windows, which is always a great idea in good weather)? Your home is equipped with a ventilation and air filtration system that pulls out airborne pollutants and brings in fresh air before heating or cooling and circulating it around the house. And, because the materials in your home are healthier than conventionally built homes, there are fewer pollutants floating around inside. (Some are inevitably brought in, if only just on your shoes.)

Your home was built with:

  • Paints, adhesives, and other materials that are “Low VOC” or “Zero VOC” (Volatile Organic Chemicals) meaning they off-gas none/very few harmful chemicals
  • Formaldehyde-free wood products and insulation (formaldehyde is a known carcinogen)
  • No wall-to-wall carpeting. W2W carpets typically contain dyes, glues, and other materials that off-gas VOCs. (If you want to install carpet be sure to look for carpet that is “Green Label Plus” or Low VOC.)
  • A mudroom and shoe storage specifically designed to keep outdoor pollutants and particles there and away from the living areas of your home Note, as you choose mattresses and upholstered furniture, you can maintain the Low VOC environment by avoiding “PBDE’s” or flame retardants, which are not effective and cause human and ecological harm. (Here’s an easy reading blog summary http://ecologycenter.org/ blog/ask-the-ecoteam-my-new-carpet-isoff-gassing/ and there is also plenty of scientific research online).

4. HIGHLY ENERGY EFFICIENT SYSTEMS The basic systems in your home to heat water, heat and cool air, and the appliances were selected for efficiency and performance. Specifically:

  • Condensing tankless water heaters, which heat water only when hot water is called for and convert fuel to hot water highly efficiently (an “energy factor” of 96-99%)
  • Furnaces with an “Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency” (AFUE) of 96%, which means it converts 96% of fuel use into usable energy to heat your home; only 4% is lost through the exhaust. (Conventional natural gas furnaces have an AFUE of ~60%)
  • Energy Star-rated appliances, which use up to 50% less energy and water than standard models
  • LED light bulbs throughout, which burn cool (requiring less A/C) and use ~75% less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs, and with an estimated lifespan of 25-50,000 hours will rarely need to be changed, if ever.

5. LESS WATER WASTE Your home includes water fixtures that are all “WaterSense Certified” meaning that they are ~20% more efficient than average fixtures in each category. Note that these include dual flush toilets, which can significantly reduce unnecessary water use. (www.epa.gov/WaterSense)

Your Role in Keeping Your Home Green

Like a car, your home needs regular maintenance to prevent equipment malfunctions, minimize health risks, and keep it operating as efficiently as possible.

Maintenance will be carried out by the Maintenance Team at the Greenwich Country Day School on a regular basis to help ensure that your home remains efficient at all times.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CALL THE HEAD OF MAINTENANCE if you notice any repairs that needs to be done.

This manual also includes operations and maintenance tips for LEED for Homes features installed in your home that require user operation.

How to increase your energy savings?

  • Turning the heating off half an hour before bedtime should cut your heating bill by 5 %;
  • Don’t scald yourself and ask your water-heater thermostat at 120⁰ F;
  • Turning off the faucet while brushing teeth can save up to 2 gallons of water each time.
  • Taking a five-minute shower uses about 8 gallons of water compared to 20 gallons for a bath.
  • Your Energy-Star dishwasher uses up to 40% less energy than older models, cutting carbon emissions by approximately 150 lb. a year. Turn your dishwasher off when not in use because a dishwasher can consume 70% as much as power when it’s on but not running as it uses during the actual wash cycle.
  • Electronic devices account for about 20% of the average American household electricity bill. Unplug your phone or tablet charger because, unless it is a –dv charger, a phone charger left plugged in all the time uses as much as 95% of the energy it consumes when in use.

How to clean indoor air?

Some houseplants can help clean indoor air: NASA discovered that plants help reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and can be an efficient way to filter the air in living compartments.

The Plants for Clean Air Council have tested different houseplants for their ability to remove various toxic gases such as formaldehyde, xylene/toluene, and ammonia. Plants absorb VOCs from the air into their leaves and then translocate them to their root zone, where microbes break them down. Microorganisms in the soil can use trace amounts of pollutants as a food source.

Plants sold at the Greenwich Garden Center: Gerbera Daisies, Peace Lily, Peperonia, orchids, Pot mums, Dracena, Mother-in-Law Tongue, Pothos.

Emergency Information and Safety Tips

This section offers emergency and safety tips that are important for any home. These tips are meant to be a brief summary and not a complete list. For more detailed emergency and safety information, go to:

U.S. Fire Administration www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens

Home Safety Council www.homesafetycouncil.org/index.asp

Emergency Information

Immediately after moving into your home, take a few minutes to do the following. Don’t wait until you have an emergency!

  • Locate central shut-off valves for each of the following:
  • Water supply;
  • Electricity supply; and
  • Heating fuel (e.g., gas, oil, propane).
  • Find the number for your local poison control center, especially if you have small children.
  • Locate the nearest hospital emergency room(s).
  • Contact local authorities for emergency suggestions for local and regional natural disasters (e.g. flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake). Identify fire escape routes, particularly in multifamily buildings.

Safety Tips

  • Regularly replace batteries in smoke alarms and check that they are functioning.
  • Periodically check electrical cords, plugs, outlets, and other equipment for damage, and call The Greenwich Country Day Head of Maintenance to replace as needed. Also, don’t overload electrical circuits.
  • Keep the area around furnaces, hot water heaters, and other combustion equipment clean and free of clutter to help prevent fires.
  • Never use any unvented combustion equipment inside your home or garage, such as barbeque grills, camping stoves, kerosene heaters, etc. These can release large amounts of deadly carbon monoxide inside your home.
  • Inspect your hot water equipment annually for rust, disconnected vents, or other signs of a problem. For example, the pipe carrying exhaust from a hot water heater may become cracked or disconnected over time, which can cause carbon monoxide to be released into the home, or a fire.
  • Set your hot water heater at or below 120⁰ F. This is recommended by the Home Safety Council for safety, and it will also save energy.

Green Home Manual

The full GCDS LEED Certified Manuals provide additional information about the LEED features of the GCDS campus housing and green lifestyle tips.

Download GCDS LEED Certified Multifamily Home Manual

Download GCDS LEED Certified Single Family Home Manual

Purpose and Structure of this Manual

A list of all of the measures installed in your LEED-certified home is shown in the Project Checklist in Appendix A of this document. Further information on these measures can be found in the LEED for Homes Rating System . Note that builders have some flexibility in which green measures (or LEED credits) they install in each LEED-certified home. Some of the features described in this manual may not be included in your LEED-certified home. Review the LEED for Homes checklist that was filled out specifically for your home to find out which features are installed.

The purpose of this document is to:

Part 2 Highlight the operation and maintenance procedures for the LEED for Homes measures that are installed in your home. Note that many of the LEED for Homes measures installed in your home should not require any operations or maintenance. For example, insulation that is more effective than what is required by code is installed behind the drywall. This and other measures installed behind the drywall should provide their intended benefits throughout the life of your home, without the need for maintenance. Features that do not require maintenance are not included in this manual.

Part 3 Describe operation and maintenance information for special LEED features that your builder has installed in your home. Your builder has included these special features to substantially improve the overall performance of your home.

Part 4 Suggest resources if you decide to do a renovation or addition to your home.

Part 5 Provide green lifestyle tips. Your LEED-certified home includes many measures for efficiency (i.e., getting more useful output, such as light, hot water, etc. for the amount of energy supplied). You can further reduce energy and water bills, and your environmental footprint, by following basic measures for conservation (i.e., using less energy, water, and other resources). In addition, the day to day behavioral choices that you make in other areas of your life, such as transportation, cleaning, and purchasing, can greatly affect your overall environmental footprint. The green lifestyle tips suggest behavioral choices that will help you live more sustainably, and that will often help save you money as well.