Entering 723 Spring Street is like entering a modern museum. Visitors are enveloped in air that is highly controlled and comfortable. Snowy shivers as well as piercing train whistles stay outside. The crisp white oak floors gleamed as Ann Arbor community members enjoyed a Friday afternoon tour of the city’s first LEED-certified Platinum home.
Among the highlights of the tour given by Meadowlark Builders:
1. Such refreshing air is due to the combination of a well-crafted duct system and mechanical ventilation systems, the former of which is required by the home’s tight envelope. While many homes in Ann Arbor have air leakage rates of 1 full air change per hour, this home boasts a rate of less than 0.2 percent. Fresh air enters continuously and strips the heat and moisture from the outgoing stale air. Overall 72 uses 70% less energy and 60% less water than an identical home built to energy code standards.
2. The pristine silence and air are also made possible by insulated concrete forms (ICFs), whose structural integrity can withstand severe storms. ICF composition at 723 includes fly ash, a toxic byproduct of coal-burning, which has a chemical structure similar to Portland cement and otherwise is stored or spills into devastating disasters. Structural insulated panels used on the roof top it all off.
3. The quarter-sewn white oak floors come from Lenawee county. The ducted floors extend throughout the quite-spacious house that has a footprint of only 1125 square feet and 4200 finished square feet of space.
4. A tiny device called The Energy Detective (TED) helps the family to monitor their energy use, comparing energy consumption peaks throughout the day and across longer durations. This sort of technology and evidence, says Meadowlark’s Doug Selby, enables and encourages major behavioral changes. TEDs can live in any home.
5. In addition to meeting TED, attendees of the 723 Tour conversed with Doug about scales of geothermal heating, learned about 723 historic surprises during construction, and exchanged information on greywater recycling policy development.
***Newsflash! The next Ann Arbor 350 home tour will take folks inside Matt and Kelly’s Net Zero home built in 1901, with a lovely garden and chickens. Sign up here to receive an invitation and register.***
Knowing that 723 is not just any house on the block, the family promotes transparency in energy conservation by publishing their energy consumption stats online. Sustain your interest there or comment here to engage in issues of our living museum, or name your favorite induction cookery (regular but still pretty 723 stovetop pictured below).