Kelton Station

Kelton Station is located in a very populated area, making it within walking and biking distance to a lot of shops, restaurants, and even a grocery store.  Since there is so much potential for bicycle uses, we added two enclosed bike houses to store the bikes on-site, unique features like these are what sets the Kelton Station apart from other Earthcraft certified multi-family buildings and head and shoulders above those that are not certified.

When working on multi-family projects our goal is to create unique places for future residents while also delivering an efficient project for our client. In this project, we wanted to focus on outdoor living and community space to create welcoming and comfortable homes.  We designed porches that are oversized and screened them in to provide comfortable spaces to enjoy the fresh air while still being protected from insects.  The clubhouse has a large “front porch” with lots of community seating, and a large enclosed screen porch in the back for gatherings overlooking the pool.  There are large gathering spaces around fire pits, and a large outdoor gathering space with grills called the pavilion all giving residents plenty of places to gather.  We were also able to preserve existing trees on the site keeping a large area of the site undisturbed as green space. 

These homes are comfortably sized without having wasted space. The gathering spaces are roomy and the units each have a laundry room, walk-in closets, and large bedrooms.  
The full cut-off lighting used in the design was strategically selected to reduce light pollution. We also used local materials where possible, and utilized materials with low or no VOCs throughout the project.  The high-efficiency and energy star-rated equipment and appliances, along with WaterSense plumbing fixtures will keep utility bills modest making the units more affordable. 

Green Terms Defined Summary 2015

 Green Terms Defined Summary 2015

2012 International Energy Conservation Code: Minimum energy code standards adopted by the Commonwealth of Virginia

Air Changes per Hour (ACH)the measure how many times the air within a defined space is replaced.

electrical outlets

ASHRAE 90.1: a standard in the US that provides minimum requirements for energy-efficient designs for buildings except for low-rise residential buildings.

Carbon Footprinta measure of the impact our activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases we produce.

Carbon Neutral Building: the process of taking into account measuring, reducing, and offsetting carbon energy used by the building.

Cellulose Insulationa low-thermal-conductivity material use to reduce heat loss and gain from a building.

Ceramic tile: made from clay that has been permanently hardened by heat, often having a decorative glaze.

Commissioning: verification and documentation that a building and the systems used are designed, installed, tested, operated, and maintained to meet the project requirements set by the building owner.

electrical outlets

Conduction: the flow of heat through an object by transferring heat from one molecule to another. Think frying pan on a stove or wood stud that touches the inside drywall and the outside wall sheathing.

Convection: refers to the transfer of heat by a moving fluid. Thing warm air rising and cool air sinking in a room. Convection loops circulate near walls. During the heating season, warm air is cooled by exterior walls and falls towards the floor, creating a convection loop. Convective loops can also happen within framing cavities if the insulation doesn’t completely fill the space.

Edible landscapingthe practical integration of food plants within your landscape for the purposes of decorating as well as producing food.

Erosion: the removal of soil and rock by water from one location to another.

ERV or Energy Recovery Ventilatorpart of a balanced ventilation system that transfers water vapor and heat from one airstream to another.

Flashinga strip of impervious material used to stop water from penetrating the junction of a wall or roof with another surface.

Fly Asha fine, glass like powder recovered from the coal-burning process for the production of electricity.

FormaldehydeA gas used widely in production of adhesives, plastics, preservatives, and fabric treatments and commonly emitted by indoor materials that are made with its compounds.

Grasslands Conservation Carbon Offsetssimilar to forestry, native grasses and other vegetation provide a natural source of greenhouse gas (GHG) absorption and sequestration.

Chesapeake Western Depot Harrisonburg

Historic Building: a structure that has historic, architectural, or cultural significance.

Humidistatan electronic device that measures the relative humidity in a space.

HVAC: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning system in your home or business.

Infrared Thermography, thermal imaging, or thermal video: a type of infrared imaging used for determining air leakage in energy audits.

Insulated concrete form (ICF)a wall building system made of reinforced concrete and most commonly rigid thermal insulation.

Insulating CurtainsThermal curtains have a lining that resists temperature change and are heavy enough to stop air flow.

Interior designthe art or process of designing the interior of a room or building.

Karst Topography: an area of irregular limestone in which erosion has produced fisures, sinkholes, underground streams and caverns.

Lifetime Home: A design approach that encompasses specific design features that ensure that a new house or apartment will meet the current and future needs of most households.

light shelf

Light Shelf: a horizontal overhanging element located above the eye-level and typically having a highly reflective upper surface.

Linoleum: a resilient flooring product that was developed in the 1800’s. It consists of cork flour, linseed oil, oak dust, and jute.

Natural Ventilation: the process of supplying and removing air by natural means from building spaces by using windows, doors, solar chimneys, and non-powered ventilators.

Net Meteringa method of crediting consumers for the electricity that is generated on their home or business in excess of the total electricity that they have used.

No-Step Entry or zero-step entry: a flush entry from the driveway or garage into your home.

Pervious Concrete: concrete that allows water to move through the material into a storage area under the pavement.

Radiation: flow of heat from a warm source through space in waves of infrared or visible light energy. Think sunlight through a window.

Renovationthe act of repurposing / updating / remodeling of a building.

Resilient Designthe capacity of a design to adapt to changing conditions and to maintain or regain functionality and vitality in the face of stress or disturbance.


Single-stream recycling: a process or system where all paper, plastics, metals, cardboard, glass, and trash goes into the same can and is sorted by the facility into separate commodities.

Solatube: a tubular daylighting system

Specifications: define the requirements regarding materials, products, installation and quality aspects pertaining to the execution of the work and contract.

Thermal Bridgewhere heat occurs across more conductive components in an otherwise well-insulated material, resulting in disproportionately significant heat loss.

Tiny House: home designed to be less than 1,000 sf

Vampire Loadthe power consumed by electronics and appliances while they are technically switched off or in standby mode.

Vapor Barrier: a barrier that reduces the rate that water vapor can move through a material.

Wastewaterwater from bathtubs, shower drains, sinks, washing machines, and dishwashers is considered grey water.

WaterSense: a label program created by the Environmental Protection Agency for consumers to easily identify water efficient products.

Weatherizationthe practice of using cost-effective strategies to modify a building to decrease energy usage and increase comfort.

Window: Casement or Double-Hung glass opening in a wall system.

Green Term Defined: Vapor Barrier

A vapor barrier is a barrier that reduces the rate that water vapor can move through a material.  There is discussion in the industry if a true vapor barrier is even possible. This has led to the use of the term Vapor Retarder. Vapor retarders limits moisture from passing through a materials and have three classes of permeability. Vapor Retarders per the building code have a permeability of less than 10, less than 1, or less than .1 perm.

20141014_093337 vapor barrier

There are three categories of vapor retarding materials: Impermeable, Semi-Permeable, and Permeable.  Impermeable materials include things such as plastic sheets, vinyl wall coverings, plywood, extruded polystyrene, and oil-based paints. Semi-Permiable materials included expanded polystyrene and latex paints. Most other materials are Permeable including fiberglass insulation, open cell spray foam, drywall, and stucco.

20140605_085835 vapor barrier

In our mixed-humid climate, we want to avoid using impermeable materials in our wall and roof systems. Allowing walls to dry in both directions is critical to the long-term durability of your structure. To further protect your home, you must have a proper ventilation system that is controlling humidity inside your structure.


Read more from our Green Term Defined series:

Energy audit

Energy Use Intensity (EUI)

Green Term Defined: Natural Ventilation

Natural Ventilation is the process of supplying and removing air by natural means from building spaces by using windows, doors, solar chimneys, and non-powered ventilators.

solar chimney natural ventilation

solar chimney

Most of us spend about 90% of our time inside of a building. As a result, the indoor air quality is critical to our health, productivity, and comfort. Scientific studies clearly show that buildings with proper fresh air ventilation improves productivity and health for occupants. If designed right, proper natural ventilation can be used to increase comfort and reduce energy bills.

20140915_131911_1 natural ventilation IMG_0737 natural ventilation

Read more from our Green Term Defined series here:

Green Term Defined: HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning System)

Green Term Defined: Energy Audit

Green Term Defined: ASHRAE 90.1

Harmony Square Dairy Queen - ASHRAE 90.1

ASHRAE 90.1 is a standard in the US that provides minimum requirements for energy-efficient designs for buildings except for low-rise residential buildings. The standard was first created in 1975. It has since been updated on a regular basis in 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013.


There are two paths for compliance with ASHRAE 90.1, both the prescriptive path and performance path. The prescriptive path requires all building components to meet a minimum set of standards specified in ASHRAE 90.1. The Prescriptive path includes requirements for building envelope, HVAC, domestic hot water, power, lighting, and other equipment. The performance path shows compliance using a building modeling program to illustrate that the design uses less energy than the baseline building built to ASHRAE 90.1’s specifications.

20150225_085725 - ASHRAE 90.1


Read more from our Green Term Defined series here:

Green Term Defined: Energy Audit

Green Term Defined: Vapor Barrier

Green Term Defined: Natural Ventilation