Behind Greenbuild 2015’s Concept Home

Sheila Kim Sheila Kim

Built to illustrate how sustainable and energy-efficient products and materials can come together, the Concept Home is a net-zero house that was displayed on the show floor of the Greenbuild 2015 conference and expo. The 1,620-square-foot prefab house — designed and built by Unity Homes with interiors by SmithgroupJJR to achieve LEED v4 Platinum — boasts an impressive roster of Cradle to Cradle-certified, WaterSense, and Energy Star products. And, because the interior walls are non-load-bearing, the house could easily be renovated, repeatedly. Here’s a look at the products that helped the house achieve net-zero.

Photo by John Jack Photography


Intus Windows: Arcade Window
Passive House-certified, these windows feature steel-reinforced, un-plasticized PVC (uPVC) frames, low-e triple glazing, and EPDM gaskets. In addition to fixed windows, the concept home includes operable turn, tilt, and tilt-and-turn units.

SunPower: Maxeon, Solar Panels
Maxeon is a solar cell technology that maximizes AC power production for SunPower’s solar panels.

Photo by John Jack Photography

GAF: EverGuard Extreme TPO
This is a roofing system that utilizes proprietary stabilizers and UV absorbers to protect against heat aging and UV degradation. Its high reflectivity also reduces energy costs and the urban heat island effect.

Huber Engineered Woods: AdvanTech, ZIP System
Advantech is engineered subflooring that is moisture-resistant and doesn’t warp, swell, or cup. Huber’s ZIP System wall and roof panels were used — eliminating the need for house-wrap or roofing felt.

Nordic Structures: Nordic Lam
These glulam beams, forming the structural framing of the house, use small timber pieces to generate less waste and are made with formaldehyde-free glues.

GreenFiber: Cel-Pak
This cellulose insulation is made with 85-percent-recycled paper fibers and provides fire and mold resistance.


GE: Geospring Hybrid Water Heater, Various
Energy Star-qualified, the 80-gallon unit is 69-percent-more efficient than standard electric water heaters thanks to heat-pump technology, which pulls in and uses the heat from surrounding air. All of the other appliances in the house, including front-load washer and dryer and kitchen units, are Energy Star GE products, as well.

Mitsubishi Electric: H2i M-Series
These Energy Star-qualified heating and cooling units feature inverter-driven compressor technology with select units that can scan the room using sensors to automatically adjust based on the ambient temperature readings. All indoor models boast multipart filtration systems that reduce air contaminants such as allergens and bacteria.

Zehnder: ComfoSystems CA200
ComfoSystems CA200 recovers up to 90 percent of the energy of the extract air to warm fresh air entering through external wall vents and, then, distributes this tempered air to rooms as needed.

Kohler: Sensate, Veil
A touchless faucet, Sensate offers a more hygienic experience in the kitchen. Its 15.5-inch pull-down spout has two spray functions and magnetically docks. In the bathrooms, Kohler’s Veil wall-hung toilets have a clean and minimalist aesthetic and is paired with an in-wall actuator with two flush modes for using the appropriate water amount.


Mosa: Global Collection
The wall tiles used in spaces such as the master and guest bathrooms are Cradle to Cradle-certified. Mosa’s quick-ship program offers the tiles in six-inch-squared and six-by-12-inch sizes, though a four-by-eight-inch format is also available. The tiles come in 167 colors.

IceStone: Durable Surface
Ideal for countertops, the surface material is composed of 100-percent-recycled glass, Portland cement, and nontoxic pigments. It is both Cradle to Cradle- and NSF 51-certified.

Johnsonite/Tarkett: Linoleum xf
This Cradle to Cradle-certified flooring uses materials such as resin, jute, wood, cork flour, and linseed oil.

Designtex: Climatex LifeguardFR
An upholstery fabric that is designed to be compostable, Climatex LifeguardFR is composed of wool and cellulose fiber and is fire-retardant.

Shaw: EPIC Plus, Life Happens
EPIC Plus is engineered wood flooring that uses 50-percent-less newly harvested wood compared to conventional engineered floors as it’s made with EnviroCore, which is the manufacturer’s high-density core board made from recycled post-industrial wood fiber. Meanwhile, Shaw also provided Life Happens custom rugs for this project.

Photo by John Jack Photography

Roma: EcoDomus
This is a mineral-based paint that is free of solvents and VOCs, is hypoallergenic, asthma-free, and naturally mold-resistant. It’s also Cradle to Cradle-certified.

Photo by John Jack Photography

MechoSystems: EcoVeil, UrbanShade
UrbanShade window covering hardware can support shades of up to 10 feet long. In this instance, they were utilized with the manufacturer’s own Cradle to Cradle-certified EcoVeil shade fabrics.

Ekla Home: Tom
Tom sofas and upholstered chairs comprise certified-organic natural latex, Eco Wool, FSC-certified alder framing and legs, recycled steel springs, a VOC-free wood stain, and a 100-percent-organic cotton barrier cloth.

Advanta: Studio Full Access
Used in the house for bedroom and hall storage and kitchen cabinetry, Studio Full Access cabinets sport a clean, modern aesthetic with thermally fused, textured melamine surfaces that mimic wood while affording easy cleanability. The melamine laminate is thermally fused to CARB2-compliant composite panel core.

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