Value Minded Net-Zero Community Development Underway in New York (Part 2 of 3)

Posted By DEMILEC || 30-Jun-2013

The Preserve at Mountain Vista is a new 9 home development being built in New Paltz, New York with a special focus on achieving net-zero energy consumption for all homes constructed. All of the homes built at the Preserve at Mountain Vista feature Demilec USA Spray Foam, applied by The Foam Guys out of Glens Falls, New York, to help achieve their net zero goals. The following interview with Architect Dave Toder from BOLDER Architecture, designer of The Preserve at Mountain Vista, is part 2 of a 3 part series of interviews with the Architect, Builder and the spray foam installation company involved with the development. Click here to read the interview with Anthony Aebi with Greenhill Contracting , the builder and mastermind behind The Preserve at Mountain Vista. Be sure to check back for part 3 of the interview series featuring The Foam Guys, to be published upon the completion of the development.

Dave Toder is the founder of BOLDER Architecture in New Paltz, NY. Dave’s primary focus is on designing modern, comfortable, energy efficient homes while working with the owners to create a living space that exceeds his client’s expectations. Dave regularly incorporates products such as spray foam insulation, photovoltaic solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, insulated concrete form walls, triple pane glass and heat recovery ventilators into his designs in order to achieve the project’s goals for energy efficiency. He has put all of his knowledge into practice when designing the homes being built at The Preserve at Mountain Vista.

Demilec: How important is energy efficiency to you when designing a new home or commercial building?

I always discuss efficiency with my clients so they can maximize the value of their project. Energy efficiency is a primary concern among other efficiency issues. All of my projects are as energy efficient as possible, given the scope and budget of each project, because this is best for my clients, in terms of comfort, and environmental and monetary sustainability.

Demilec: Is “The Preserve at Mountain Vista” your first design to achieve zero net energy usage?

The Preserve is the second zero-net energy development I’ve worked on with Anthony Aebi, and we anticipate that the buildings here will perform as well as at Green Acres, the first zero-net energy development, over the course of their first year of occupation to achieve zero-net energy usage. A new house in Gardiner recently achieved zero-net energy usage, and another that was a deep energy retrofit of an existing house is near zero-net. Other projects are too recent to have had a year of occupation to confirm their performance.

Demilec: What was your goal when designing “The Preserve at Mountain Vista”?

To provide the same level of quality, performance, and aesthetic value as at Green Acres, at a better price so more people would understand the up-front value of zero-net energy. Buyers and builders need to become familiar with the inherent value and relative ease of achieving zero-net energy, and The Preserve should do that.

Demilec: What elements are the most crucial when designing a net zero home?

Building tightness and insulation is the first concern. The insulated concrete form walls, with the spray foam at rafters and under the slab, and the triple pane windows achieve that. The next essential element is an efficient HVAC system providing fresh air and temperature comfort at a low energy cost, then the power generation in the form of the photovoltaic solar panels on the south-facing roof.

Demilec: How long have you been including spray foam insulation in your designs? What advantages do you think that spray foam offers over traditional insulation methods?

I’ve been including spray foam insulation in my designs for 6 or 7 years. It offers an air tightness that cannot be achieved easily with other methods, and some types of spray foam can have significantly higher R-values per inch than other options, both of which are vital to designing sustainable new and renovation construction. I also like how spray foam, at minimum, provides a ‘hassle factor’ to discourage rodent and insect activity.

Demilec: What elements of energy efficient design do you feel will be “the next big thing” in the design world?

To some extent it will be the widespread adoption of coordinating existing technologies to achieve zero-net and near zero-net energy usage, like at Green Acres and The Preserve, for all new and renovation construction because it just makes sense, in terms of personal economic interest as well as all the other reasons to ‘go green’. There are always new technologies and concepts appearing, and there is some indication that in the not-too-distant future buildings may be able to absorb sun, water, and air through the building envelope as an integrated ‘skin’ similar to biological systems. I’m looking forward to seeing the future unfold.

Click here for Part 1 of the interview series featuring Anthony Aebi of Greenhill Contracting

For more information on BOLDER Architecture and Dave Toder, please call 845-532-8354 or visit them online.

For more information about Greenhill Contracting, please call 845-594-5076 or visit them online.

For more information about The Foam Guys, please call 518-932-2989.

For more information and sales inquiries about The Preserve at Mountain Vista, visit them online.

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