Case Study #3: Your Prepared Home

Project Type: Remodel/Retrofit
Location: SE Portland

Characteristics: This project should emphasize a home that is prepared for unknown or unexpected events. These events could be seismic, financial, political or environmental—those which can be conceived but not predicted.

The home should have several of the following measurable characteristics:

• Back-up heat source(s) not reliant on grid, and with fuel stored on site
• Alternative energy creation on site: solar array, wind turbines, solar thermal array and other means of living “off-grid” for long periods of time
• Air Sealed and Blower Door tested to 2.0ACH50 min. with Continuous ventilation
• Greatly increased insulation beyond code level with few or no thermal bridging; preferably blown-in, dense-pack fiberglass or cellulose
and/or exterior insulation on the outside of the structural wall (preferably
mineral wool instead of petroleum based insulation board
• Windows that are robust to intrusion or damage with quality air sealing and min. average whole unit U-value of 0.27 or less
• Window Shades or solar protections
• Foundation attachment system to counter seismic events
• Safety Room in home with food, water and emergency supplies
• Water retention cisterns with cleaning system to make source potable.

The goal of this Case Study is to give examples of what everyone can do to prepare for events that are likely to happen but are unpredictable. This home should be able to resist an initial catastrophe such as an earthquake, massive financial downturn, but then it needs to “float” without outside assistance for an extended length of time. This home should also be a model of a safe place for others during any catastrophic events. All projects must have been modeled in either WUFI or PHPP to verify the level of projected energy use.