Royalston Oak is an Energy Star New Homes Partner
In 2011 we framed a house that was awarded the highest Energy Star rating of 5 STARS PLUS, with a HERS rating of 0.5. We are committed to helping our clients build affordable energy efficient homes. The Energy Star qualified homes built in 2011 are the equivalent of planting 104,834 acres of trees or eliminating over 752 million pounds of CO2 from the environment.
Royalston Oak is committed to sustainable and renewable construction
For over 35 years Royalston Oak has been practicing sustainable and renewable building practices. Whenever possible we purchase our timber from local sawmills. The sawmills harvest logs from woodlots that are privately owned and managed by professional foresters. Most of these logscomes from Massachusetts woodlots. The state of Massachusetts prohibits the practice of clear cutting and high grading (only harvesting the best trees) and encourages the sustainable use of the forest for timber harvesting, wildlife management and recreation.
Our shop has a passive solar design that requires little or no heating. When it is necessary to heat our shop we use a wood stove that burns the cut offs from our frame production. In 2010 we installed a 5Kw photovoltaic system that has supplied all the electricity for our shop. We have not used electricity from the Grid since March of 2011.
Wood is a natural, organic, non-toxic material; it is recyclable, biodegradable, waste efficient and renewable
Because wood is completely natural, renewable, recyclable, biodegradable and waste efficient, its use has very little impact on the environment. Wood does not emit toxins, so it promotes a healthy homeenvironment. Wood meets the criteria for building materials that the sustainable movement has embraced via the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, the newly launched National Association of Home Builders’s (NAHB) National Green Building Program (NGBP) rating system, and the Green Globes system.
Wood is a carbon-neutral material
The average tree absorbs approximately one metric ton of CO2 (carbon dioxide) for each cubic meter of growth and exhales 0.7 metric tons of O2 (oxygen). The carbon is sequestered/stored in the tree for the life of the tree and the life of the building it goes into. The carbon that is ‘sunk’ in the timber equates to about 1.6 pounds of carbon for each board foot of wood. When the timber frame reaches its useful life – which could be several hundred years- the wood can be recycled into new products, refashioned into new building material or burned as a substitute for fossil fuels.
There are many sources of sustainable timber
Wood can be sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sources, as well as SFI (Sustainable Forest Initiative), American Tree Farm, Canada’s National Standard on Sustainable Forest Management Standard (CAN/CSA Z809) and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Systems (PEFC); all of which are included in the NGBP rating system.
Obtaining certification means that rigorous standards are being followed in the forest; that no clear cutting has occurred, that forests are harvested and replanted and that the forests exhibit healthy environments for wildlife and plant life. Young trees rapidly metabolize CO2. Selectively harvesting older trees and replanting with young trees makes for a healthy, vigorous forest.
Other environmentally friendly sources of timber include reclaimed and forest salvaged/standing dead material. Reclaimed timber is derived from a variety of sources including: the dismantling of old, unused barns and other farm structures, the dismantling of unused factories and large commercial buildings mostly mills and war time factories, and from submerged logs and structures.
Green Building with Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)
The construction and operation of buildings has a significant impact on the environment. Buildings account for 39% of total U.S. energy consumption and 38% of carbon dioxide emissions. By using less energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions, green building plays an important role in combating global climate change. Buildings also use a tremendous amount of natural resources to construct and operate. Constructing green buildings that use these resources more efficiently, while minimizing pollution that can harm renewable natural resources, is crucial to a sustainable future.
Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are one of the most airtight and well insulated building systems available, making them an inherently green product. An airtight SIP building will use less energy to heat and cool, allow for better control over indoor environmental conditions, and reduce construction waste.
SIPs Save Energy
Building with SIPs creates a superior building envelope with high thermal resistance and minimal air infiltration.
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory(ORNL) Whole-wall R-value studies show that a 4-inch SIP wall (nominal) rated at R-14 outperforms a 2×6 stick framed wall with R-19 fiberglass insulation.
- ORNL blower door tests reveal that a SIP test room is 15 times more airtight than its stick framed counterpart with fiberglass insulation.
- Up to 40% of a home’s heat loss is due to air leakage.
- SIPs have demonstrated amazingly low blower door test results when properly sealed. Based on the reliable performance of SIPs, ENERGY STAR chose to eliminate the required blower door test for SIP homes to meet ENERGY STAR standards.
SIPs Save Resources
The major components of SIPs, foam and oriented strand board (OSB), take less energy and raw materials to produce than other structural building systems. SIPs are also fabricated in a controlled environment, allowing for greater efficiency than site-built framing. The NAHB estimates that the construction of a 2000 sq. ft. home produces 7,000 lbs. of waste. SIPs have the ability to drastically reduce the waste generated during construction by using advanced optimization software and automated fabrication technology to ensure the most efficient use of material.
- OSB is manufactured from fast growing, underutilized, and often less expensive wood species grown in carefully managed forests. The OSB production process uses small wood chips and highly automated machinery, making OSB a very efficient use of raw materials.
- About 85-90 percent of a log can be used to make high quality structural panels, and the remainder – bark, saw trim, and sawdust – can be converted into energy, pulp chips or bark dust.
- EPS is a lightweight insulation composed mostly of air. Only 2% of EPS is plastic. Over the lifetime of a house, the EPS insulation usedin SIPs will save many times the energy embodied in the petroleum used to make EPS (see Life Cycle Analysis for more info).
- It takes 24% less energy to produce EPS than fiberglass insulation of equivalent R-value.
- Scrap EPS generated during the manufacturing process can be recycled into new EPS products.
Green Building Links
Introduction to Green Building http://www.commonfire.org/resources/greenwelcome.html
EPA Why Build Green http://www.epa.gov/greenbuilding/pubs/whybuild.htm
Green Building Basics http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/greenbuilding/basics.htm
Green Building News http://www.buildinggreen.com/news/index.cfm
Green Building Blog http://www.djc.com/blogs/BuildingGreen/
Build Green New Hampshire http://www.buildgreennh.com/
National Green Building Program http://www.nahbgreen.org/Certification/singlefamilynewcertification.aspx
The Practical Building Rating System www.greenglobes.com
Green Building with SIPs http://www.timberlinepanels.com/green-building/index.cfm
SIPs Provide Green Building Benefits http://www.structuremag.org/article.aspx?articleID=1195
Forest Stewardship Council www.fscus.org
Sustainable Forestry Initiative www.sfiprogram.org
American Tree Farm System www.treefarmsystem.org
Forest Products Association of Canada www.certificationcanada.org.