The 125-year-old Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut, recently built a new eco-friendly home for faculty members to serve as a high-performance residence and learning space for students. The house, which features cutting-edge sustainable technology, has received multiple awards for environmental innovations, including the LEED Platinum certification under the Building Design and Construction rating system for Homes. It is the first building in Connecticut to achieve that status, as well as the first in the state to be certified as a Passive House by the Passive House Institute U.S.
BPC Green Builders and Trillium Architects were hired by the school to design the two-story, 3,891 square-foot colonial home. The private prep school wanted a high-efficiency structure that would fit in visually with the school’s historic campus, as well as showcase the latest advances in environmental sciences, serving as a living green energy laboratory for Taft’s students.
Some of these sustainable advances include a 13.1 kW solar system, solar thermal water-heating system, ENERGY STAR-rated appliances (like a high-efficiency refrigerator and dishwasher), and triple-paned hyper efficient windows to retain heat in the winter and block heat in the summer. In its first year of operation, the solar PV system has already produced four times as much power as the home is using.
Monitoring systems have been installed throughout the house to transmit data back to classrooms, where students can analyze energy use in passive homes in real time. There is also a vegetable garden, rain garden, and a chicken roost (complete with chickens) as part of an all-inclusive eco-site.
The home is the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 Housing Innovation Award Grand Prize winner in the Custom Category and additional certifications are pending for LEED for Homes platinum level and the National Association of Home Builders’ National Green Building Standards.
Having a physical space for students to go to study sustainability and energy usage seems like a much better alternative to learning about green buildings in a textbook. Do you want your kids to learn about green living? Maybe it’s time to think about going solar! Call or contact us today at 407.331.9077 to learn more today.