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Green Boots Class Notes – Budding Green Project with Barley & Pfeiffer Architects / ACC

My assistant Project Manager Mark Epler has been taking Green Boots training through our 
Austin HBA and here’s his notes from the last session:
Green Boots – The Budding Green Project – Notes by Mark Epler
A collaborative project between ACC’s (Austin Community College) Building Technology Program, Austin Energy’s Green Building Program, Barley & Pfeiffer Architects, HBA and BASF.
A good primer for much of the impetus and raison d’être for this project is this March 2013 article from Forbes Magazine, which discusses the shortage of skilled trades in the U.S. 
Although what we now refer to as “Green Building” can be traced back to the 70’s, many of the educational programs are still far behind in providing adequately trained and knowledgeable workers. Based on today’s green boots discussion, the general consensus is that a lot of contractors are spending a significant amount of time and resources to retrain their employees, whether they are new hires or longstanding employees. In short, even those that might be coming out of a building program can still be ill-equipped when it comes to sustainable building practices. We could spend a lot of time on the factors and variables playing leading to this current state of things but it has brought to light the need and desire amongst some in the industry to more intentionally engage higher education to better equip students with skill sets vital and valuable to the industry. 
To that end, the partnership between the three aforementioned parties, as well as trades and product manufacturers, had the task of building a high performance home (12’ x 24’) … in 16 weeks. It was taught as a class, over one semester with donated materials, labor and instructional time. See the above link to read more. 
Two of the takeaways that were highlighted by Mikki Cook of Austin Energy’s Green Building Program and MC2 Consulting, were 1. The importance of relationships – between and with all parties, on all aspects and parts of a job
2. Project Management is, more than anything, about being able to land on your feet and keep the project going when you get knocked down – because you will, and you do … a lot.
Peter Pfeiffer, FAIA speaking:
Continuing education is vital – avg builder is still way behind the times (he had an anecdote of a builder he’d spoken with the previous week who asked why they needed to do window flashing, and that they had never done that, or been asked to do that).
In our climate, the two most important factors we have to deal with are Humidity and Sun. Heat does not necessarily always rise, it travels from Hot to Cold too). The two ways to deal with Sun are Radiation and Ventilation. Just adding insulation, can have negligible effects in our climate. Orientation and passive design techniques also can account for a significant increase in comfort level and energy reduction in a living space. 
Low-E or Low Emissivity is a very important concept. This refers to low emission of heat. Let’s take for example the material Galvalume – an excellent product here in TX – comprised of a coating that is about 50% zinc and 50% aluminum. This is an excellent product not just for it’s weathering properties but also it’s low-e factor. Much of the heat it absorbs is not emitted – as long as it is not being touched by another surface. For context, we are referring to the benefits as it relates to the roof assembly of this house. Galvalume is used on the roof, with furring strips below to create an airspace (ventilation) but also to create a separation from the Galvalume such that it’s inherent low-e properties are not compromised by contact with the surfaces below the furring strips. There are three types of heat transfer – Radiation, Conduction and Convection. If we think of heating food, the first is the most efficient and the third, the least – taking a minute or two in a microwave to heat up a frozen burrito versus 20 minutes or more in the oven via convection. Another way to think of the concept of low-e, particularly as it relates to aluminum is to think about hold ing your hand over the stove top. You’ll feel plenty of the heat, even if there is a pan on the burner conducting the heat. However, put a piece of foil over the pan and though plenty of the heat is reaching the foil and being absorbed, little is actually felt by your hand, or at least is tolerable for a much longer period of time. 
Budding Green Project House nearing completion
All plumbing penetrations have a drain pan underneath for leak safety.  
Panasonic fans used in the bath and kitchen area for ventilation.  This is the 110CFM Model.  
Neopor insulation by BASF & MoistureShield Trim
This side of the house is designed to be oriented South.
Neopor from BASF
DuPont tyvek commercial wrap D – commercial grade. 9mo exposure. Thicker more durable. Enhanced drainage plain. 
Dupont FlexWrap + Flashing Tape peel and stick for window sill pans etc. Butyl based adhesive vs asphalt and good for higher temps.     
Stinger Cap Stapler – Works great for securing Tyvek with plastic caps.  Prevents blow-off                    
Millgard windows and doors – Thermally broken aluminum windows (Full lifetime warranty on parts and labor)
Executive cabinets – green guard certified cabinet. 
Kohler fixtures and Cimmarron 1.28gpf (TX mandate) toilet with Aqua Piston Technology
Mitsubishi mini split – multi zone and vrf technology with multi speed fan systems. Extremely low decibel level and ultra efficient.  
Thanks to Mark Epler for taking great notes on this class!  
Matt Risinger
– Risinger Homes in Austin, TX
Risinger Homes is a custom builder and whole house remodeling contractor that specializes in Architect driven and fine craftsmanship work. We utilize an in-house carpentry staff and the latest building science research to build dramatically more efficient, healthy and durable homes.
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