SK Collaborative Certifies First Platinum Level Home of 2021
DECATUR, GA / ACCESSWIRE / July 29, 2021 / This year's first Platinum-certified EarthCraft Renovation home, built by Alair Homes Decatur, is an excellent example of why a systems-focused approach is critical to improving a home's energy efficiency and comfort. The owners of a 1960's ranch house near Decatur, GA previously updated their heating and air-conditioning system (HVAC) and installed spray foam in the attic - but created more problems (especially around moisture) than they solved.
EarthCraft Renovation home by Alair Homes in Decatur, Georgia. Alair Homes Decatur, 2021
"At my very first meeting, the homeowners had started noticing some condensation," said Heather Shuster, renovator and Partner at Alair Homes. "Their thinking was, ‘we're updating our systems, this should improve not only the comfort of our house, but any humidity issues.' And unfortunately, the opposite occurred - they started having more significant humidity issues."
Georgia's high humidity and abundant rain is an ongoing challenge for home renovators like Alair Homes Decatur. (Many are surprised to learn that Atlanta averages more than 14 inches of rain than Seattle annually. Shuster said the homeowners were interested in EarthCraft because the green building program deals with moisture issues specific to the Southeast.
A Healthy Prescription
"The best thing that I could recommend to them was let's bring in a consultant who can really analyze how this home is functioning," said Shuster. "EarthCraft consultants really study the whole system, and are a great resource to help you figure out a very prescriptive approach for improving your home."
Carl Seville, Principal of SK Collaborative (the green consultant selected for the job), helped Southface Institute create the EarthCraft Renovation program that officially launched in 2011. Together, the company worked with Alair Homes Decatur to identify and resolve issues. At the top of the list was dealing with the moisture. Contributing factors included no insulation and lack of an air seal in the exterior walls of the house.
Interior view of EarthCraft Renovation home by Alair Homes in Decatur, Georgia. Alair Homes Decatur, 2021
A Troubling Topography
From the street, the house appears to be a single-story ranch - but the yard drops down to reveal three stories in the back. "Getting the gutter system working well, making sure the landscaping contributed to water management, all of those things had to be thoughtful and perfect," said Shuster. "We brought in Engineered Solutions of Georgia who did a trench system. They did a treatment at the wall. They installed additional sump pumps to manage water at the terrace level and at the lower level below the terrace."
For the walls, Alair Homes Decatur used ZIP System sheathing that combines advanced engineered wood structural panels with a protective, integrated water-resistive barrier (WRB) that's fused onto the panel so there's no risk of the weather barrier ripping and tearing. Shuster said they also reinstalled spray foam so there was a minimum of R-19 throughout, all the way to the exterior walls and properly sealed to the wall's top plate so that it was fully covered.
For the HVAC system, they installed UltraAire ventilating dehumidifiers on both systems to manage any excess humidity in the below grade levels and included ductwork to the closed attic to address any humidity in the sealed attic space.
Adding Up to EarthCraft
Other features integral to the home's Platinum certification under EarthCraft Renovation are smarter choices for interior finishes, Energy Star appliances, plumbing fixtures that conserve water, and sustainably sourced and finished flooring. "It's a big list of items that help contribute to the Platinum certification," said Shuster. "It's really exciting for a homeowner to achieve a Platinum rating. It shows that a lot of care has been put into the choices that they made during project development. And it shows that they are trying to have a home that's not only comfortable, but is using energy wisely. That they are putting clean, safe air into their family's lungs. These are important things to think about that often get overlooked in renovation and I love seeing homeowners that put a high priority on that."
About Alair Homes Decatur
Alair Homes Decatur was founded in 2001 by Peter Michelson as Renewal Design Build. He and his brother, David Michelson, who joined the firm in 2004, are fourth-generation builders, specializing in custom home building and home renovations and remodeling. In 2018, their firm became part of Alair, the largest and fastest-growing premium construction management franchise in North America, and includes Partners Heather Shuster and Ken Carter. Now, as Alair Homes Decatur, a partner in Alair Homes North Georgia, the Michelsons and their team of experienced and award-winning custom home builders and remodelers are serving local homeowners through personalized, detail-oriented residential construction services from small home renovations to designing and building multi-million dollar dream homes. Every client receives the same premium service, and remains fully informed, involved and in control throughout the design and construction process.
About SK Collaborative
SK Collaborative applies proven green building techniques to real-life situations. We work with developers, builders, remodelers, contractors, and architects to identify cost-effective techniques that can help earn financial incentives such as tax credits, utility rebates and financing discount programs. Our services range from consulting, design reviews and charrettes to envelope sealing inspections, testing, training, and building certification under LEED, EarthCraft, National Green Building Standard, ENERGY STAR, Enterprise Green Communities, FitWel, and Green Globes. We also offer building energy audits, Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) compliance testing, and building enclosure consulting. SK Collaborative is your one-stop resource in Making Buildings Better.
Marketing Coordinator, SK Collaborative
(404) 480-4600 x116
SOURCE: SK Collaborative