Cat Rescue, Cattic!

Starting a new home  on a 12 acre parcel in Timberlake, North Carolina. With help from a local designer, plans were made for a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house, with an open floor plan and vaulted ceilings in the family room. Prior to pouring the slab,  there was a lot of clearing  for the house and new septic field. The house, carport, and porches were all built on a monolithic concrete slab.   We thickened the slab where interior support walls go,  installed a 6x6 wire mess for added concrete strength,  and insulated the floor for the conditioned areas by installing 2" of rigid foam before pouring the concrete. After the slab was down,  the framing went up fast!  The walls were framed with "Advanced Framing" techniques to minimize thermal transfer, and maximize space for the spray foam insulation. Energy efficiency was a high priority in the construction  of this home.  In addition to spraying foam on the entire envelope of the house and attic area , the appliances were energy star approved, and a high efficiency HVAC system was installed.  (LP Smartside) provided a structural sheathing and siding all in one.  Combined with 5/8" drywall throughout the  house and carport, the structure was not only well insulated, but had enhanced fire rating,  and improved sound deadening between areas. Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) was used for the kitchen, entry area,  utility, and bathrooms.   It is a very durable floating floor product that can look like hardwoods,  tile, brick, etc. The owners of this home participate in a program to rescue stray cats, and decided to use  the large attic space where the cats were separate from the family dogs,  for their home.  The attic area soon became known as the "CATTIC"!   It was drywalled, and floored with standard plywood sub flooring.  Since it was already foam insulated under the roof deck,  HVAC vents were extended to condition the space.  A screened in opening in the main entry hallway (top right) allowed the kitties to see the family below!

Flooring included high end carpet and padding in living areas.

The carpet and tile were chosen by the owners,  with help from the staff at Frazee Carpets & Interiors in Durham. The cabinets were purchased from Ikea, and assembled by Synergy.          

The Curved House is Complete!

It’s done! It’s been a great experience all around. The curved features of the plan for this home required some thought and coordination not necessary in most projects. But, the extra time and attention to detail has paid off. The impact of the curves on the exterior is clearly apparent as you approach the home. It’s obvious why the curve was needed now, as you look at the finished house against the landscape. It fits in perfectly. The impact of the curve on the interior finishes is dramatic as well. The curved walls, handrails, cabinets, counters, and trim pull it all together. This was really a project that required a lot of “synergy”…and we’re all proud of the outcome! Click the image below to view a slideshow of the completed project.
Curved House Slideshow

Community Home Trust in Orange County

Synergy Building is pleased to be finishing their  third and fourth homes for The Community Home Trust (CHT)--previously known as Orange Community Housing Land Trust (OCHLT.)  CHT is a private, nonprofit developer and steward of affordable housing in Orange County.

Teaming with Synergy, CHT has built  four new "Green" homes in the last two years.  These homes, located in Carrboro meet Energy Star standards and System Vision requirements as verified by Advanced Energy of Raleigh.  The first of these home completed for CHT was featured in Chapel Hill's Green Building Tour in May of 2008.

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These homes include an open floor plan with first floor Master bedroom, two additional bedrooms upstairs and two full baths.

In addition to their spectacular floor plans they feature the following energy efficient items:
  • Advanced Framing techniques ( a collection of techniques to reduce construction waste and the lumber required for wood-framed houses, while increasing energy efficiency and simplifying framing layout)
  • Sealed attic and crawl space
  • High-efficiency HVAC system
  • Cold air ventilation system
  • Spray foam insulation from Allied Spray Foam
  • Energy Star® appliances
  • Low- or no-VOC paints, caulks, & adhesives for good indoor air quality
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures
  • Low E windows

To read more about affordable home construction click here!

Second OCH&LT Affordable Home Starts

Our second green built affordable home for the Orange  Community Housing and Land Trust is under way.    Architect David Ripperton donated his time to put the plans together for these homes. In addition to putting together a great plan with a very functional traffic pattern and many special features, he did a great job of making spaces and  room sizes that allow the use of standard length framing materials - which helps substantially in terms of both labor and  materials costs.   There is a central chase in the center of the building that allows the HVAC contractor to install an energy efficient zoned heat pump system for the two levels, plus a ventilation system to ensure regular clean air exchanges. The lot drainage presents a challenge on this house,  as there are three culverts dumping storm water into  a substantial ditch that runs along the side of the lot.  Carrboro engineering will be involved to review the revised storm water management plans.  Challenges to affordability caused by site issues, including the lot elevations, soil conditions, and drainage issues can be substantial, and are  part of the big picture that is considered when trying to build a sustainable, affordable home.

Can Green be affordable?

Building an energy efficient home that qualifies as part of an affordable home project may seem unrealistic......but that is exactly the project initiated by the Orange Community Housing and Land Trust.

Synergy  is very excited to be involved in this venture, and believes that the project will demonstrate that quality built energy efficient homes can also be affordable homes.

Synergy has been working with the Land Trust to develop plans and specifications to build three new homes in Carrboro that will qualify as Energy Star projects,  and will be evaluated by the Advanced Energy program.

The homes will be built on infill lots in Carrboro, feature sealed crawlspaces, advanced framing,  spray foam insulation, high efficiency hvac systems, Energy Star appliances, ventilation recovery systems, low VOC paint, fire sprinkler systems,  and much more.