Renaissance is Living Green

Renaissance is Living Green

Indoor Air Quality

The air inside your home makes a difference in how you feel every day, and indoor air quality is a high priority in the construction of a Renaissance home. With features like air filtration systems, controlled ventilation and low-toxic building materials, a Renaissance Home may allow you to breathe a little easier.

Energy Efficiency

At minimum, a LEED® certified Renaissance Home is designed to improve energy efficiency by 15% over a conventionally built home. The incorporation of products such as energy-efficient windows, appliances, mechanical systems and light fixtures can add up to lower energy usage and greater comfort year round. Year after year, Living Green saves significant money on energy bills, is friendlier to the environment and gives you peace of mind.

Resource Responsibility

Highly efficient appliances save energy and conserve our region’s resources. Many items can be made with a high-recycled content, ceramic tile, paint and insulation. Composite engineered wood products are used whenever possible – such as floor joists. Fiber-cement siding dramatically reduces demand on forest products and it performs better over the long-term.

Environmental Responsibility

The same building materials in a Renaissance Home that improve indoor air quality also contribute to a cleaner environment, as less toxic products reduce environmental pollutants. Our homes also employ site measures that minimize environmental impact such as recycling job site debris, preserving topsoil and trees and using native plants in the landscaping.

What are the benefits of Open Web Floor Trusses?

What are the benefits of Open Web Floor Trusses?

Open web truss joists allows for easier and faster mechanical systems installation (plumbing, electrical, HVAC).

Mechanical systems are installed within the floor’s framing rather than hanging below, allowing all of the heat ducts to be run between the floors. This eliminates ducting in the attic or crawlspace and saves energy by NOT pushing heated air into a cold crawl space in the winter or sending cool air into a hot attic in the summer.

The joists allow the heat ducts to be shorter and much more efficient. Any heat or cooling lost in the ductwork remains in the livable space. Plumbing lines run straighter and shorter allowing less pipe to be installed resulting in hot water savings.

Energy experts estimate that open web floor trusses can save significantly, up to 16 percent, on your monthly heating and cooling bills. Ductwork is designed and sealed to save energy. Testing is done by technicians to ensure tightness standards are met. Standard duct systems can lose up to 30 percent of every dollar of heating and cooling costs. By using mastic to seal all duct connections, conditioned air loss is reduced to less than 6 percent. Mastic-sealed ducting also reduces air contaminants from entering the ducting.

Renaissance Homes was featured in an HVAC case study regarding open web ducts–you can find this, and the other case studies online at www.ductsinside.org.

Polar Blanket Insulation

Polar Blanket Insulation

Fiberglass Blown-in Insulation Systems, also known as the Polar Blanket, is one of the latest green building techniques used by Renaissance Homes. This system improves a home’s efficiency by filling the wall cavity completely, including the areas around pipes, cables and outlets.

Polar Blanket gets into all the voids where traditional insulation can’t protect, creating a “blanket” of insulation and making a more energy efficient home.

The Polar Blanket decreases air going through the wall cavity as it is applied as a dense pack application.

The R-Value of polar Blanket is 23 and significantly helps reduce monthly utility costs by reducing air infiltration through the cavity walls.

Blower Door Testing? What is that?

Blower Door Testing? What is that?

Air flowing in and out of a home can cause lots of problems. Air leakage can account for 30 to 50 percent of the heat loss in some homes. This is one reason why Renaissance Homes conducts a blower door test through a professional energy auditor upon completion of every home.

It helps to determine the home’s tightness, reduce energy consumption due to air leakage, avoid mosture condensation problems, avoid uncomfortable drafts caused by cold air drifting in from the outdoors and make sure that the home’s air quality isn’t too contaminated by air pollution.

How does it work?

A blower door is a powerful fan that mounts into the frame of an exterior door. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed cracks and openings. The auditors may use a smoke pencil to detect air leaks. These tests determine the air infiltration rate of a building.

Blower doors consist of a frame and flexible panel that fit in a doorway, a variable-speed fan, a pressure gauge to measure the pressure differences inside and outside the home, and an airflow manometer and hoses for measuring airflow.

What is an Energy Performance Score?

This blower door test is just one component of the cumulative test results that make up an Energy Performance Score from the Energy Trust of Oregon. This performance score measures and rates the energy consumption and carbon emissions of a home. The lower the score, the better. A low EPS score identifies a home as energy efficient with a smaller carbon footprint and lower monthly energy costs.

An EPS can range from zero to 200 ­— zero being the most energy efficient, 200 being the least. It’s an easy way to compare newly built homes based on energy efficiency and expected energy costs. Renaissance homeowners receive documentation of their EPS score and an estimate for monthly gas and electricity bills.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy; Energy Trust of Oregon

Rain Screen Siding System

Rain Screen Siding System

Since early 2003, Renaissance Homes has built all of their homes in the Portland metro and Vancouver/ Clark County areas with an exterior cladding system that is known as Rain Screen. Renaissance realizes that the average consumer may not be aware of these new and innovative building practices. Therefore, we offer the following description of the Rain Screen system.

Wet conditions are part of our climate here in the Northwest. Renaissance Rain Screen is a moisture management system designed to address and protect against the causes of water intrusion and the resulting damage that it can cause to a home.

Moisture in many forms is prevalent in our Northwest climate. Over the years, builders in this region have come to expect those leaks as a “cost of doing business”. The typical construction method for most area builders has the exterior cladding system fastened firmly to the homes plywood or oriented strand board sheathing, which in turn, is attached directly to the homes studs.  When a leak or water penetration occurs with this type of construction, the water is literally forced through the wall and can spread in many different locations by a principal known as capillary action. The Rain Screen system addresses this problem.

While there are different types of Rain Screen and many options used to meet the Oregon Code Requirement of a gap behind siding systems in residential construction, Oregon Building Codes Division acknowledges that a Pressure-Equalized Rain Screen (PER) system is best practice in fulfilling this requirement. State requirements of a drainage gap began with the 2008 Specialty Code. However, Renaissance Homes Pressure-Equalized Rain Screen was designed by industry leaders and has been in use since early 2003. Many quality homebuilders endeavor to follow in our footsteps due the Rain Screen’s proven superiority over conventional siding systems. Please note that Renaissance Homes Rain Screen System has been specifically engineered to supersede local building codes and traditional siding instillation recommendations.

The ‘Renaissance Homes Rain Screen System’ has been engineered by a licensed building envelope engineering firm for the exclusive use of Renaissance Homes. This proprietary building envelope engineering supersedes local building code requirements.

Here are a few resources to describe Rain Screen technology and specifically the Pressure-Equalized Rain Screen System:

National Association of Home Builders Research Center

Housing Zone

Renaissance Homes sets the bar with superior construction techniques.

Disclaimer: The information on the system presented herein is provided for informational purposes only. Renaissance Homes does not provide warranty, either expressed or implied, regarding the accuracy or completeness of information listed in the above external links.

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, (LEED)

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, (LEED)

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, (LEED), is an internationally recognized green building certification system providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies intended to improve performance in metrics such as energy savings, water efficiency, a reduction in CO2 emissions, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

LEED operates through the U.S. Green Building Council, (USGBC), and takes a broad “triple bottom line” approach considering people, planet and profit — not just energy use.

The triple bottom line factors in the economic, environmental and social issues present throughout the entire building process from concept, design, development and future operation.

LEED was created as a way to define high performance green buildings, set quantifiable targets and goals, recognize leaders, promote improvement over time, stimulate green competition and raise consumer awareness.

LEED is a highly quantified and systematic approach to buildings of all types. Because it has accomplished so much and been so broadly accepted, LEED is becoming the standard by which many green buildings are measured.

To obtain a LEED certification, builders must submit their project under a points based system. Points are accumulated in the following categories:

  • Innovation & Design
  • Location & Linkages
  • Sustainable Sites
  • Water Efficiency
  • Energy & Atmosphere
  • Materials & Resources
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • Awareness & Education

Renaissance Homes certifies all of its homes in the city of Portland under the LEED system. We feel LEED represents the broader green building values of sustainability, resource conservation, the environment and energy usage that define our company goals.

We also use many Energy Star rated products in our homes.

Under the LEED program, we also perform third party blower door tests on every home to assess a home’s Energy Performance Score, (EPS). Our homes, without solar, regularly score between $70 and $120 a month for gas and electricity, depending on square footage. We regularly receive some of the lowest scores in the state of Oregon. Our homes with solar, receive even lower electricity bills.

Renaissance Homes is the largest LEED certified single-family homebuilder in the state of Oregon. This demonstrates our continued commitment to sustainability, energy-efficiency and green building.