We recently finished the construction drawings and are ready to break ground on this new high performance home for homeowners in Roswell, Georgia, which is near Atlanta. It is one of our first design-build projects where LG Squared is the architect, the interior designer, the HVAC designer, AND the builder. In fact, we're teaming up with award-winning builder, Luis Imery of the Imery Group, to build this house, because we had so much fun and success working together on the Proud Green Home at Serenbe.

Design-Build Roswell High Performance Home_West Elevation

We should break ground some time in September, and we look forward to sharing the progress every step of the way. We have some exciting collaborations that we'll be talking about during construction, not the least of which is with Owens Corning, who is making this little bungalow a case study for designing and building an all-"Pink House". Not pink on the outside, or even the inside, but the entire house will be insulated and air sealed with their products. All of them, pink! Not light red, fellas. Pink.

Design-Build Roswell High Performance Home_South Elevation

Jodi and I have been working with the homeowners since last year to develop the design based on their wishes of having a single-story, new traditional, bungalow with a modern-rustic feel near downtown Roswell, GA, designed and built to be a high performance home. The final design is what you see in the two elevations above, and will include the following:

  • 3 bedrooms, 2-1/2 bath
  • 2,548 square feet of conditioned space that includes a loft
  • Art studio opening up to the owners' garden and backyard.
  • Deep overhangs at large window areas with decorative brackets.
  • Loft area for library, yoga, storage and other miscellaneous.
  • 2-car garage extended to make room for storage and a wood working area
  • Exposed heavy timber framing in main living and kitchen areas
  • Stained concrete floors throughout.
  • Barn doors, custom-built ladder to loft, and custom built-ins for storage.
  • Here are images on Houzz showing the owners' ideas for the aesthetics house: Design-Build Roswell Bungalow

The High Performance

One of the first things the owners said to us in the first design meeting was, "We want a high performance home!" Specifically, they want the house that consumes very little energy (efficient), last a long time (durable), be healthy (indoor air quality) and, most importantly, be consistently comfortable year round no matter where they are in the house. All these things start with good design, good building practices and are delivered with good execution. The design-build approach allows us to have full control of the outcome to ensure that our design is carried out to meet the aesthetic and performance goals.

Design-Build Roswell High Performance Home_Short_Section

Here are two overall building sections, cutting through the short and long dimensions of the house. The dashed line represents the "Complete Thermal Boundary" where the inside meets the outside. This is the "environmental separator", where we control all the environmental conditions that effect the performance and comfort of the home. Specifically, we control heat, air, water and vapor, and it's done with uninterrupted control layers. The wall section below will show more of the details on how we achieve this continuous condition.

Design-Build Roswell High Performance Home_Long_Section

Click on the wall sections below to get a closer look at the details. You'll see that all control layers (moisture, air and thermal) are integrated and continuous from foundation, to roof, to foundation, to roof, to foundation, you get the idea.

Design-Build Roswell High Performance Home_Wall Section Upper 2

A few things to note in this upper section:

  • Continue rigid insulation to underside of roof deck without interruption by trimming around rafters and sealing joint
  • Rainscreen is provided by furring strips behind siding to allow for moisture to easily exit the wall assembly, but only with adequate ventilation at the top and bottom of the wall.
  • Rigid insulation extends past the exterior wall to the eave, which helps maintain a constant temperature at the roof surface. In cold climates this is a useful practice to help prevent ice damming.
  • Sealant, sealant, sealant! At every turn and connection you see continuous sealant, but it's not overkill. Notice that at the bottom and top plates, as well as the sill, there is continuous sealant to prevent air from getting in to the wall cavity. This is one of the most vulnerable areas in a wall.
  • Staggered joints: the rigid insulation is being installed in two layers to allow us to stagger the joints that we will tape well on both layers. Staggering and taping reduces the infiltration at these joints.
Design-Build Roswell High Performance Home_Wall Section Lower

In this lower section, you will see several similar practices as in the upper, but be sure to note:

  • Flashing tape at the window sill extends up a minimum of 12" to help prevent water intrusion.
  • Non-expansive foam, with backer rod, helps prevent air infiltration at the window opening.
  • EPDM Gasket between the bottom sill and foundation will help prevent moisture intrusion through capillary action, and air infiltration at this critical junction.
  • Slab edge insulation, and 4'-0" wide under-slab insulation will help minimize heat loss through one of the most vulnerable places for heat loss in a slab-on-grade condition...the slab edge. A little insulation goes a long way, so even just the 2 inches right at the edge would have significantly reduced the heat loss.

We will be following this home very closely in the months to come. Join us by following along and interacting with comments below. We welcome your questions and feedback!

See you soon. Thanks for visiting the LG Squared Blog!


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