Project Profile: DOE Performance House by Preferred Builders
DOE-Endorsed Performance House Excels
With eight certifications under its belt, the Performance House serves green building practices
alongside eclectic home features to satisfy interested green home buyers.
By Carly Caumiant
With its historic
mansions and grandiose
knows how to build bigger
and fancier than most. However, when
Preferred Builders set their sail in the
coastal town, they were more interested in
building for performance.
Preferred Builder’s 21st century
Performance House was built to mirror
the town’s traditional historic design
with steep gables, dormer windows, and a
columned porch. The DOE-endorsed home
was completed in October 2012 and has
since earned a respected collection of green
Sitting on 2,700 square feet, the home
has earned eight certifications including
second place for the Department of Energy
Challenge Home in the U.S., and holding
first place in New England. All of the
home’s appliances are ENERGY STAR rated,
earning it the ENERGY STAR for Homes
Version 3 certification.
“All of the cardboard, wood, gypsum,
and scrap metal were recycled,” explained
Preferred Builder owner Peter J. Fusaro.
“The kitchen and vanities are Forest
Stewardship Council certified, countertops
were made of 93 percent recycled quartz,
the sheetrock was a 100 percent recycled
content product, and all of the concrete
contained recycled glass.”
The home also met DOE Challenge Home
Indoor airPlus and WaterSense criteria,
while abiding by disaster-resistance
recommendations. The home’s green
awards and designations have pleasantly
allowed Fusaro to stand above the
competition that resides in the coastal town
of Old Greenwich.
The home has achieved the National
Green Building Standard Emerald level,
LEED Platinum, the Connecticut Home
Builders Industry Awards for Best Green
Energy Efficient Spec Home and Best Green
Energy Efficient Home Overall, and was
a runner up in the Connecticut Light and
Power Utility Company competition “2012
Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge.”
Standing as a building block certification
for both DOE Challenge Home and LEED for
homes, ENERGY STAR Version 3 created a
convenient path toward green success for
Fusaro. “It saved a lot of paperwork and it
allowed me to go the performance path for
LEED platinum,” said Fusaro.
The 2-story, 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath home
contains two SEER-16 air conditioners
and a full finished basement. And with
push-button hot water circulation pumps
and EPA WaterSense-approved shower
heads, faucets, toilets and irrigation, waterconservation
is set to a high standard in the
home. A storm water management system
even channels rainwater to retention
chambers buried in the front yard.
“To improve water resistance in the
bathrooms, KERDI, a water proofing,
breathable fabric product by Schluter was
installed on the backer board with thinset
before the tile was installed,” said Fusaro.
For water heating, there is a line from the
boiler to the 78-gallon storage tank. The 95
percent gas-fired boiler has hot water coils
to air handlers with variable-speed fans in
the basement and attic of the home. There
is even an energy recovery ventilator (ERV)
separately ducted to supply fresh, outside
air to main living areas.
The home achieves a HERS Score of 42
without solar PV and a HERS Score of 20
with solar PV. The above-grade walls have
R-24 blown cellulose plus R-7.5 high density
EPS rigid foam, membrane-coated OSB
sheathing, and a mesh rain screen.
“The 0.25-inch-thick mesh layer can be
used in place of furring strips to provide
continuous air space for drainage and
drying with a thermal break behind
exterior cladding,” explained Fusaro.
The exterior of the home helps to enhance
its efficiency and durability with weather
resistant PVC trim and decking, casement
style windows of low-emissivity, and a
roof that meets ENERGY STAR
and LEED for Homes criteria. The
above-grad 2x6, 16-inch on-center
framed walls were sheathed
with a treated wood product that
has an integrated coating on the
exterior side that is both water
and weather resistant.
“This coating prevents the
need to install house wrap when
all seams are taped with the
manufacturer’s proprietary tape,”
Fusaro adds. “Over the coated
sheathing, high-density EPS rigid
foam was installed. The 1.5-inch-thick
sheets provide R-7.5 of insulation value
and have tongue and groove joints that are
taped for a water-tight, wind-proof seal.”
The main roof was insulated along
roofline with 4 inch (R-27.6) closed-cell
spray foam, 3 inches (R-12) fire-rated
mineral wool batt and 3.5 inches (R-13) foilfaced
fiberglass batt for a total of R-52.6. The
garage ceiling has a R-50.7 closed-cell spray
foam plus R-15 batt.
The roof also contains cool roof shingles
with SRI 29, roof-mounted fixed 7.44 kW
PV panels and OSHA-approved permanent
footing anchors. Insulations on the roof
provided a total of R-52.6 of insulation in
the main roof assembly.
Below the home’s exterior, footings are
made of concrete that includes a waterproof
additive. The foundation sits on an 8-inch
bed of trap rock; on its walls a copper
flashing termite barrier enveloping the
bottom of the rigid foam.
With an electric car charging station,
fun and fancy features also envelope the
home life at the Performance House. Also
installed in the garage is a timer-controlled
exhaust fan with nearby, on-site recycling
for construction debris.
Completely enveloped by green building
practices and filled to the brim with
eclectic home accessories and features, the
Performance House is sure to please green
home buyers all across the nation.
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