Northwest Energy Star Super-Efficient Homesó#4: Kepler Ridge in Ashland, Oregon
Kepler Ridge, in Ashland, Ore., is one of six super energy-efficient homes being highlighted this year by Northwest Energy Star Homes—in collaboration with builders, utilities and homeowners—to increase awareness and adoption of advanced building practices and products that can improve quality, comfort, and energy efficiency in new homes.
Check out #1, The Inspiration Home blog post, #2, The House of the Immediate Future, #3, The O'Neill in Meadow Ranch, and visit soon to read up on the rest of the houses, which will be profiled in the weeks to come.
Dan Jovick, owner of Talent, Ore., based Jovick Construction, which specializes in green building, knows that everything old can be new again. Fortunately, the new owners of Jovick’s Kepler Ridge home share his views.
Taking the concept of repurposing to a new level, Jovick deconstructed a 1970s Ashland home and is reusing many of the original materials to build a new home on the same site.
Old Materials, New Technology Intersect
The two-story, 2,263 square foot home has three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms, with an additional studio and accessory unit bringing the total to 2,985 square feet. When complete this spring, it will represent the best of what’s old and the best of what’s new: a home that captures the patina and charm of reclaimed materials while embracing the performance and energy efficiency of leading-edge technologies.
Both Jovick and the clients for whom the Kepler Ridge home is being built share a deep dedication to lightening their footprint. The owners are motivated to reduce their use of energy and natural resource. And for Jovick, the decision to reuse materials just makes good sense. The quality of the reclaimed beams, interior trim and cedar decking, for example, is better than he could get elsewhere, even at a premium.
The family, Jovick Construction and architect Carlos Delgado shared a commitment to creating a home that would be both beautiful and highly functional. For the new homeowners, concerns about cost of living and scarcity of resources made energy efficiency imperative.
The house needed to maximize energy efficiency and provide a clean, comfortable living environment with consistent temperature control room-to-room, all while staying within budget. They were pleased to find that comfort goes hand-in-hand with energy efficient design, noting that, when you build with energy efficiency in mind, creature comforts seem to follow.
Weighing Costs, Gaining Efficiency and Comfort
Says Jovick, “Once we educate clients about building to Energy Star levels and beyond, they don’t want to build anything less. In the end, our clients get daily satisfaction, comfort and savings out of living in a home that was designed and built to their specific needs.”
The homeowners’ decisions about what energy efficiency upgrades to include from the start—and what to finish down the road—were largely answered by weighing upfront costs against their return. An experienced green builder, Jovick guided his clients through an evaluation of an array of energy-saving options, both large and small, to arrive at solutions that worked with their budget.
For instance, since insulation provides the single greatest opportunity to reduce unwanted heat loss and techniques, an advanced method known as “flash and bib” insulation made the cut. This method of insulation utilizes a combination of spray foam and blown-in cellulose to trap heat and fill gaps through which it could escape.
A ductless heating and cooling system also was deemed a must-do. Also known as a ductless heat pump, these systems provide highly energy-efficient, zonal heating and cooling and create a cozy, comfortable environment and excellent indoor air quality. These systems are safe, quiet and heat homes evenly. It was used in conjunction with an energy-recovery ventilator system (ERVs), which uses a heat exchanger to pre-warm incoming fresh air.
The homeowners also chose to include a solar hot water system in the initial construction because it makes sense in the Ashland climate, but decided to wait on installing solar photo-voltaic (PV) panels. The home is pre-wired to accommodate the PV panels, which can be added at a later date.
When completed, the Kepler Ridge home will be Energy Star, LEED Platinum, and Earth Advantage Platinum certified.
Some of the key energy-efficient and sustainable features of the Kepler Ridge home include:
- Mitsubishi ductless heating and cooling system
- Solar photo voltaics-ready
- Solar hot water
- Gray water recovery
- Hot water recirculation pump
- Panasonic energy recovery ventilator (ERV)
- Panasonic bathroom fans with humidistat and occupancy sensor
- Flash and bib insulation using spray foam then dense pack cellulose
- Rinnai condensing tankless hot water heater and radiant tile floors
- LED lighting
A family-owned company, Jovick delights in creating homes that are healthy for families and healthy for the environment. With the Kepler Ridge home, the roots run especially deep.
To learn more about Kepler Ridge and other super-efficient homes, visit www.northwestenergystar.com/super-efficient-homes.
Neil Grigsby oversees NEEA’s Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes initiative, which encourages builders across the region to build more efficient homes using new technologies and building practices. His experience includes a degree in urban studies from the University of Washington, and in designing, planning, and implementing energy-efficiency programs along with public outreach and education.
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