BASF and Pepper Viner Homes has announced the Pepper Viner/BASF High-Performance Home – a model for near-zero energy construction for production builders nationally. Located in the Tucson, Ariz.’s Civano North Ridge community, the test home, which is 81 percent more energy efficient than a typical home, is currently open for public tours. But according to Jack Armstrong, Leader of Building and Construction Markets in North America for BASF, creating a repeatable and profitable model for mainstream builders is the real success story.

"When BASF built the award-winning, LEED Platinum BASF Near-Zero Energy Home in 2005, we asked ourselves, what would it take to make this kind of high-performance home mainstream?" said Armstrong. "Working with the Pepper Viner team allowed us to create a repeatable process that will make their business more competitive and provide a road map to other mainstream builders as well."

On this project BASF, a global leader in sustainable building products, worked closely with the Arizona production homebuilder to systemize their sustainable building procedures through a process called integrated design. That means each product and system builds upon the last, creating a home that is 81 percent more energy efficient while reducing environmental impacts.

BASF also worked closely with the Pepper Viner team and their sub contractors to expand their competencies in the areas of product and system installation, knowledge and procurement as well as quality assurance.

The test home achieves a remarkable rating of 19 out of 150 on the U.S. Department of Energy's EnergySmart Home Scale, making it close to being a net-zero energy home. It is also anticipated that it will achieve a Platinum score home from the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating system and was already awarded the Pima County certification system's top (emerald) rating. Moreover, the Pepper Viner team is using what they have learned about integrating high-performance systems and products on other projects.

According to Bill Viner, President of Pepper Viner Homes, "Now, we are able to take what we've learned from our collaboration with BASF and extend even more value to our customers. For example, we are able to include many of the energy savings in our Sunnyside Pointe project in Tucson, Ariz., an affordable housing initiative slated to start construction next month, and in the La Posada retirement homes we are planning to build in Green Valley, Nevada in early 2010."

High Performance Attributes and System

Even though the Pepper Viner/BASF High-Performance Home features solar power for water and space heating, optimizing the building envelope was the first step to maximizing the energy efficiency of the home. The home was built with structural insulated panels (SIPS) with BASF Styropor insulation for the exterior walls and feature BASF polyurethane spray-applied insulation for both the underside and outer roof deck.

SIPS, solid, pre-cut, insulated panels that arrive ready to install, form a solid thermal envelope around the structure substantially reducing air infiltration compared with conventional construction techniques. Similarly, the open and closed-cell spray foam used for the roof insulation, provide a seamless, continuous barrier to prevent uncontrolled air infiltration while providing some of the best insulating values available. And because the heating and air-conditioning systems don't have to work so hard, the equipment can be downsized, reducing initial capital costs and lifetime operating costs.

Not only does the well-sealed building envelope ensure that outdoor allergens and pollutants are prevented form entering the home, BASF-enhanced low VOC paints, caulks and sealants were also used in the test home. The durable and aesthetically pleasing exterior walls feature Senergy stucco system.

For the home's foundation, the team selected a concrete formulation optimized with BASF admixtures that not only increased the strength, but also allowed the overall mixture to contain 40% recycled fly ash. The foundation also includes an integral color that results in a beautiful, durable and low-maintenance surface throughout the first floor of the home.

For more information about the Pepper Viner/BASF High-Performance Home, please visit www.betterhomebetterplanet.com.