Ultimate Home Design – November/ December 2006
“The goal is to demonstrate how today’s products and building methods can make life safer, more comfortable, and more enjoyable. The science of optimum performance homes is about building structures that use less energy, are quieter and more comfortable, have fewer problems with material degrdation, provide clean air and water, and do less damage to the environment”
This is the sixth article in the series documenting the design and construction of the first Optimum Performance Home™. The project has been selected by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for inclusion in the national Leadership In Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®) for Homes pilot program, their new green build certification initiative.
The home will be built at The Sea Ranch, located in Sonoma County, along the Northern California coastline of the Pacific Ocean.
The showcase project is exemplary of the “Ultimate Home Design™” concept, which integrates age-friendly universal design with the best sustainable building practices while exerting minimal impact on the environment. Universal design is the inclusive, non-discriminatory design of products, buildings, environments, and urban infrastructure, as well as information technologies that are accessible to and useable by (almost) all. With respect to home design. the idea is to design and build homes that have no physical barriers, thus sustaining people of all ages and all capabilities in a functional, comfortable, and aesthetic lifestyle.
A building science systems approach to home building is the cornerstone of the project with emphasis on the relationships between the home’s components and the envelope they create. Also paramount is good stewardship-proper regard and respect for the rights of neighboring homeowners, resource efficiency, and the surrounding natural setting. The goal is to optimize occupant health, comfort, and safety; maximize energy efficiency and structural durability; and minimize environmental impact. In addition, the aim is toward providing a nurturing home environment to support independent living and sustainable lifestyles.
The home’s 3,272 square feet of living space (4,899 square feet including garages, covered walkways, courtyard, and decks) will be arranged in a three building compound using a well-sealed, well-insulated, super-tight building envelope that reduces temperature fluctuations and enhances overall energy efficiency.
The slab foundations are designed as two structural elements: one foundation to support the main residence and guest quarters, including the garages and insulated- and solar-gain-reduced-glass vestibule and covered walkway. The second foundation is dedicated to support the home office and state-of-the-art Optimum Performance Home Theatre and integral rear-projection room. This foundation is physically separated from the main residence/guest quarters foundation by an inch. The purpose is to isolate the acoustical vibrational properties of the home theatre complex from the living quarters.
The design of the foundations is such that each flooring surface is perfectly level with the other. This is an important aspect of the home’s universal design floor plan that eliminates any challenging physical barriers such as steps, humps, bumps, edges, or uneven surfaces that could pose a potential accidental trip or fall. Where steps are required at the home’s entrance, a ramp is also provided as an alternative approach. The second story guest quarters are accessible by either stairs or a residential elevator.
As the home’s site is subject to wet or moist soil conditions most of the year, the foundations are designed to be water impenetrable. Working with concrete admixture technology companies and the local concrete mix supplier, Bed Rock of Point Arena/Gualala, a unique mix formula will be utilized for the foundations’ pour and for the interior concrete web of the Amvic Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) walls.
Kryton’s KIM® Admixture System will be used to create waterproof concrete and replace expensive external waterproofing membranes. KIM admixture renders hardened concrete impermeable to water penetration, reduces drying shrinkage, protects steel reinforcements from corrosion, and improves concrete durability.
KIM admixture is part of Kryton’s Krystol Concrete Waterproofing System, a complete system for tanking
below-grade foundations and water containment structures. An advanced integral crystalline technology, Krystol chemicals react with water and unhydrated cement particles to form millions of needle-like crystals. Over a period of weeks and months, these crystals grow, filling the naturally occurring pores and voids in concrete, and permanently blocking the path ways for water and waterborne contaminants, even against extremely high water pressure. Krystol will not deteriorate. It lasts the lifetime of the concrete structure.
The ability to reactivate in the presence of water gives Krystol-treated concrete the ability to “self-seal.” When cracks form due to curing shrinkage, settling, seismic activity, etc., water entering through them causes new crystals to form and grow, blocking and filling the cracks. Its ability to self-seal cracks is one of crystalline technology’s most unique and useful features and can help to dramatically reduce the long-term maintenance and repair costs of a concrete structure.
Additionally, the concrete foundation surface for the garages will be treated with Kryton’s Hydrostop water-repellent sealer. It contains a blend of silane and siloxane compounds that react with silicates below the surface of the foundation. This reaction forms an insoluble, water-repellent barrier that won’t crack, peel, or fade away with time. Hydrostop is resistant to moss, mildew, rust stains, and efflorescence. It dries to an invisible finish, meaning the concrete’s original appearance is maintained. As it is breathable, Hydrostop won’t contribute to condensation problems.
Kryton’s KIM Admixture System
KIM admixture renders hardened concrete impermeable to water penetration, reduces drying shrinkage, protects steel reinforcements from corrosion, and improves concrete durability. The advanced integral crystalline chemicals react with water and unhydrated cement particles to form millions of needle-like crystals to permanently block the pathways for water and waterborne contaminants.