Posted on January 2, 2014 · Posted in Awards, News, Press

LEAP

(Charlottesville, Virginia). ecoREMOD1 Energy House at 608 Ridge Street was awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification (the highest rating possible) by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for achievement in green homebuilding and design. LEED for Homes is a green home certification program that rewards homes that are designed and built to be energy- and resource-efficient and more healthy and durable for the occupants. LEED-certified homes complete a technically rigorous process that often includes a home energy (HERS) rating and onsite inspections to verify that the home is built to be energy and water efficient, environmentally sound, and a healthier place to live.

ecoREMOD1 is one of two local homes that have been certified platinum using LEED (one of 10 local homes with any level of LEED certification). This historic home in the City’s Ridge Street Neighborhood was substantially rehabilitated through a partnership of the City of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia by Alloy Workshop (known for their expertise in energy efficiency renovations), and with a generous donation by Dominion Virginia Power. LEAP (the Local Energy Alliance Program) was also a major sponsor and participant in informing the deep energy retrofit vision. ecoREMOD1 is the first of several sustainable renovation projects designed by UVa’s ecoMOD / ecoREMOD Project, a partnership of the schools of architecture and engineering. Green homes may have substantially lower utility bills[

] and may qualify for advantageous financing, lower insurance rates, and government incentives.

Specific information about the home ecoREMOD1 at 608 Ridge Street, designed and funded by the City of Charlottesville and University of Virginia (UVa), inspired by the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) and with the support of a host of fantastic community partners, was transformed from a formerly neglected historic home into an innovative energy demonstration house between 2009-2011. A wonderful example of a community’s (re)investment in both its history and its future, the house was in a state of neglect and disrepair when the City purchased it in 2007. Rather than condemn and demolish – and sacrifice the historical significance of this home which stands on a prominent corner of a historic neighborhood – the City undertook an extensive renovation effort to bring the house back from the brink. The challenge for the City and its partners was to preserve the home’s historic character, optimize energy and water efficiency, and incorporate real-world, economically viable strategies to do so.

Key parts of the successful certification include a rainwater harvesting system, solar panels to provide electricity, solar thermal hot water, and minimizing impervious surfaces onsite. To showcase the largest benefits to energy efficiency – air sealing and insulation – which often are not visible, the house features “Truth Windows” that allow visitors to see the work done behind the walls. ecoREMOD1 is currently used as offices for LEAP as well as a space for the community to access resources related to home energy and water efficiency.

The design of the house, and the pursuit of EarthCraft and LEED certification are thanks in large part to a team of architecture and architectural history students from UVa. A team of UVa engineering students has designed and installed a monitoring system at ecoREMOD1 to track energy use, temperature, humidity and other environmental conditions. Individuals can find data on the amount of electricity produced by the ecoREMOD1 solar PV array (and compare to their own residential electricity use) at charlottesville.org/citysolar.

The house is currently being rented by LEAP to be used as an office and as an educational and outreach resource on the topic of energy efficiency in our community’s existing building stock, both residential and commercial. A small apartment unit is rented to a member of the community.