The Green It Series with the Arlington Green Home Choice Program featured speaker Marta Layseca of EnviroHomeDesign at last night’s lecture series at the Arlington Central Library.
Arlington County has a very strong green building community and they keep it so by hosting community based lecture series such as the one hosted at the Central library last night featuring award winning architect Marta Layseca of EnviroHomeDesign. The series topic focused on the retrofitting of existing homes which are being remodeled in the Arlington area. Marta spoke on the importance of bringing together a team of professionals to review the existing conditions of the property, assess the requirements of the design and the specifics of the clients’ needs for functionality, the certifications needed to become a truly green built property and the homeowners own verification.
There were two case studies in which Marta highlighted, and Eco-Spanish Colonial and an Eco-Brick Colonial, both homes were requiring retrofitting and remodeling to different levels, but Marta and her team were able to bring these homes to higher green standards through ensuring that the homes thermal envelope was properly sealed, the mechanical systems were properly addressed and that the resources and design were addressed not only with the homeowner but thoughtfully considered through passive design. Marta spent quite some time discussing the concept that window frames in the US are not insulated window systems and that this causes a lot of energy loss. Having a third party verification system such as EarthCraft, Marta advocates is a great way to ensure that the home is sealed properly at pre-drywall. “Energy conservation strategy, especially at the windows and at the concrete foundation and insulation of crawl space and attic creates a thermos.”
What Marta means by creating a thermos out of the home is that, once you have created a very tight thermal envelope, there is a point at which fresh air needs to be introduced into the home to create a mechanical system that is healthy such as an energy recovery ventilator, or ERV. Both homes in her case studies presented had ERV systems and both were tightly sealed. The client who lives in the Eco-Brick Colonial property was at the lecture to participate in discussion: “At first I was skeptical; I wasn’t ever sure what we could even do regarding a green home… but now we absolutely love where we live.” Regarding the ERV system, she states that it is “nice to have the fresh air coming into the home… it even smells fresher.”
The other systems such as energy efficient resource selection, i.e. the high heel trusses, high fly-ash concrete, grey-water tanks for flushing the toilets, and many other eco-friendly selections were discussed in more detail. The fact that Marta creates beautiful, functional, healthy homes which make her clients happy was almost appeared as a side note to the high performance features and systems that go into these award winning homes in this discussion.