Green architecture – Helios NW Eco-House
After taking this project from the previous builder who didn’t complete the certification due to economic downturn, the new owners managed to construct the Helios NW Eco-House – the first vacation rental property in Oregon which received the LEED for Homes Gold certification. This modern home opened its doors as a luxury vacation rental property in early 2010, appealing to visitors who wish to protect and conserve the environment.
The radiant heated floor system and whole-house fresh air exchange system improve indoor air quality by reducing excess moisture, circulating dusts and pollens. The recyclable aluminum roof keeps the house cooler in summer by reflecting UV (ultra violet) radiation. High R-value insulation reduces unwanted heat loss or gain and decreases the energy demands on the heating system.
Low-E wood windows increase energy efficiency, dampen noise and maximize natural light. Installed liberally throughout the home, compact fluorescent light bulbs use 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. Compact fluorescent bulbs are also used in exterior light fixtures.
Efficient hot water distribution is achieved by using compact design and the 96% efficiency boiler. The boiler uses less energy than conventional systems by activating less frequently and reduces pollution by burning the small amount of natural gas it needs more efficiently. Te owners said they plan to incorporate the usage of solar panels in the Fall of this year.
In the xeriscaped yard, more than 90% of the plants installed are drought-tolerant. Landscaping maintenance utilizes hand weeding and Integrated Pest Management practices. An automated drip irrigation system delivers water directly to the target plant for a specified time, eliminating indiscriminate over-watering. Helios’ yard contains a water runoff gathering system and more than 80% of the property is water permeable. Dual-flush toilets, low-flow plumbing fixtures, high efficiency washing machine and the water smart dishwasher are applied to lessen the water usage.
Environmentally preferred products, such as FSC certified Oregon cedar siding and the composite decking on patio and balcony, utilize renewable, recycled and reclaimed content. The materials and products used in this house are locally extracted, processed, and manufactured. Examples of other applied green and recycled materials are PaperStone countertops, cork tiles, wool carpeting, recycled content Eco-Terr tiles, and low VOC. Some of the low VOC products used are the loose-fill cellulose, bat insulation, eco-stain sealer, paint and wood finish. In the bedrooms, 100% natural wool carpeting minimizes airborne particulates as dust and dirt naturally remain on the surface of wool fibers for easy cleaning.