-- Sustainability --
Currently, human action is now the major cause of climate change. This trend is increasing and negatively impacting the quality of life at an alarming rate for all living things. We urge you to consider this: we—as individuals, communities, and nations—must consciously change the way we live to reduce our ecological impact. Choosing to reduce emissions, consumption of finite resources and waste is often described as living in a way that's more "sustainable." Sustainability calls for a change of world view that embraces contemporary science and pragmatic solutions to the challenges we face in every area of our lives.
One significant area that calls for a sustainable approach is the construction of new homes. Building a home consumes a significant amount of resources and can create a lot of waste. 40% of all landfill mass is construction waste. Operating homes also consume and waste massive amounts of power and water. In fact, 50% of US energy consumption goes to power residential and commercial buildings. We know that homes can be produced and can operate far more resource-efficiently.
ActiveWest Builders works hard to design the most environmentally considered production homes available today. To keep us honest, focused, and credible, we developed a sustainable building strategy based on achieving Certified and Verified homes by third party professional Raters and Providers. We source materials that are environmentally preferred with as many as possible being sourced within 500 miles of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to reduce transport.
To put this philosophy into measurable action, ActiveWest Builders uses the United States Green Building Council’s LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the most highly recognized national green building rating system to rate our choices of products and systems. The LEED® program also provides a way to understand and differentiate between homes that are called "green". Like the organic food industry before standardization, companies make big claims about the “green”-ness and efficiency of their homes. LEED® gives you a way to clarify the various dimensions that determine a home's impact.
-- Cost Efficient --
A low HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Energy Rated Home Certified by a HERS Rater is the starting point for a Net Zero Home. Near zero/net zero homes are homes that produce as much or more energy than they consume. The HERS minimum standards for rating an energy efficient home is a score of 100. Energy Star’s minimum standards are 15% better – and rate out with a score of 85. ActiveWest Builders is proud to be building homes on a production level in the range of 50-54 HERS rating scores – 50% better! A home energy rating involves both an analysis of a home’s construction plans, as well as onsite inspections and testing by a Certified Energy Rater. We are one of a very elite group in the Pacific Northwest that can not only say this, but have it Certified by a 3rd party Energy Rater.
ActiveWest Builders dramatically reduces energy consumption by installing energy-efficient lighting, appliances, windows and insulation. Our lighting packages use 1/10th the power of incandescent. Bulbs need only be changed once every year! Energy Star appliances are the most energy and water efficient appliances on the market. Furthermore, all of ActiveWest Builder’s hot water lines under the slab are foam insulated.
All these products and systems make our homes extremely energy efficient. In fact, most of ActiveWest Builder’s homes achieve Energy Star status of at least 35% more efficient than the Pacific Northwest Energy Stars requirement for energy efficiency in new homes.
To maintain a comfortable temperature in the home, we use an effective mix of efficient, healthy systems and sustainable insulation materials. Our radiant-heat floor using 95% + efficiency boilers with indirect water tanks create a very comfortable living space; eliminating the duct work from typical forced air units significantly reduces airborne contaminants and dust. We use R-21 (R-19 is Code) Eco-Batt wall insulation on a 2 x 6 (24” on Center) which allows for a greater area of insulation. We also blow in R-49 (R-38 is Code) attic insulation and build with an Energy Heal, which allows a greater insulation depth at the top of the wall in the attic on the perimeter of the home. R-10 Rigid insulation is inside of the stem walls as well as under the slab. Argon Gas filled windows with a U-Value equal or less than .30 is a standard in an ActiveWest Home.
-- Your Comfort and Your Health --
Did you know that the air inside an average home is more polluted than air outside? The EPA says that on average, indoor air is four times more polluted than outdoor air. Paints, building materials and furnishings emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and can contain compounds like formaldehyde and urea that can cause skin and respiratory irritation, nausea and even cancer. Pesticides can be unintentionally tracked indoors. Molds, bacteria, and dust mites can trigger allergies and other ailments. Since most Americans spend ninety percent of their time indoors (and 65% of that time at home), we should insure that the air inside our homes is better than the air outside.
ActiveWest homes are virtually free of indoor air pollution by using low- or no-VOC paints and stains, and low VOC millwork. Our radiant heating system doesn't force contaminants back into the air the way conventional forced-air systems do.
ActiveWest homes are tested against ASHREA 62.1 Standards – Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality. Based on the tests and computer modeling these results determine the amount of air that should be introduced into your home. As a Standard, ActiveWest Builders installs a Radon Mitigation System in every home. Your indoor air quality is of upmost importance to ActiveWest Builders!
ASHREA 62.1 – Purpose
The purpose of this standard is to specify minimum ventilation rates and other measures intended to provide indoor air quality that is acceptable to human occupants and that minimizes adverse health effects.
-- Tradition --
Active West Builders motto is "Preserving the Past and Planning For the Future". Active West Builders believes in this motto as well as the tradition of passing on of construction practices that will one day be building standards throughout the country. Our homes and buildings are examples, not just spoken about to the next generation, but are constructed and standing for future generations to experience.
Below is the Sustainability Scorecard that indicates how a home scores on the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) for Homes, the leading green building certification program.
USGBC LEED® For Homes
- Location & Linkages
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Materials & Resources
- Energy & Atmosphere
- Homeowner Awareness
- Innovation & Design Process
Designing and constructing homes and buildings to meet the United States Green Building (USGBC) LEED® standards is what ActiveWest Builders believes to be a positive “forward-thinking” tradition. Passing on a building construction method that we believe is sustainable, smart, and efficient.