Green house opens its doorsThe Chippewa Valley Technical College invites anyone interested to an Earth Day event 12:30-3 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. Thursday, April 22 at the site where students built a house this year, 856 Fairchild Drive, in the Highview Meadows subdivision east of the city.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
The Chippewa Valley Technical College invites anyone interested to an Earth Day event 12:30-3 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. Thursday, April 22 at the site where students built a house this year, 856 Fairchild Drive, in the Highview Meadows subdivision east of the city.
Each year the Wood Technics program, if possible, builds a home and sells it to help fund the next year’s build project. The class traditionally holds an open house on graduation day so people can see the finished product and even meet some of the people who helped build it.
This year’s open house takes place 4:30-6:30 p.m. and 8-9:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, before and after the Wood Technics students graduate. The asking price for the home is $267,900, and it will be completed by graduation day.
Instructors Joe Cook and Mike Ming scheduled this year’s “home unveiling” to coincide with Earth Day, which is fitting since the home has many green features. Those include R-50 attic insulation, a high-efficiency furnace, air conditioning, fireplace, air-exchange systems, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, Energy Star lighting, carpet made from recycled contents, water-based finishes and cement-board siding.
Guests to the event will be able to tour the home’s 2,700 square feet and see the home’s features as well as watch professionals do a blower-door and infrared-gun test, both of which demonstrate the home’s efficiency. The former checks the air tightness of a structure; the latter detects any variable temperatures within it.
Ming said, “The tighter you build your home, the warmer it will be.”
Attendees will also have a chance to ask questions about the materials, construction techniques and other efforts involved in building. The day of the open house and demonstrations is also the day when the home will undergo its certification tests.
Ming said once the licensed inspector determines that the home meets the criteria, it can be called an Energy Star-certified home. Ming said it needs something like 65 points to become certified, and the Wood Technics house probably has about 95 points.
“We went above and beyond what we needed to do,” he said.
Most in the Wood Technics program presume that the home will more than meet the criteria. Ming said one of the other energy-efficient homes CVTC built was the tightest house of 1,500 the inspector had analyzed.
Ming says things like using bamboo flooring also help the home score efficiency points. Bamboo is a plentiful material that regenerates quickly.
The instructor says it’s tough to say exactly how long a certified home takes to pay for itself, but Ming estimates it isn’t more than five years. He points out that while some “green” aspects cost a little more than traditional building, many of them cost nothing, like how the house is oriented on the site.
“All the features are there for as long as your house lasts,” Ming said. “It’s a selling point, too.”