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Holland Yates Residence
Portola Valley CA

The residence offers panoramic views of Portola Valley

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Green Luxury

A LEED® Platinum, Energy Star and GreenPoint-rated home in Portola Valley, CA is one of the winners of GreenBuilder’s “2012 Green Homes of the Year,” awarded for its luxurious, yet sustainable approach to building design. The 7,500-square-foot home’s grandiose scale sparked debate among judges whether it should count as “green,” but in the end, the home won for its ecological zeal in every aspect of its execution. “In 30 years of residential building and remodeling, we’ve never seen commitment like this from clients,” notes Michael Martuscello of MGM Construction in San Francisco, who built the home. “We all worked as a team to achieve the highest green goals possible.”

Hidden Efficiencies

Many of the home’s most impressive details are hidden underneath the surface. It features 10 inches of blown-in insulation on top of the rafters topped with insulated panels and exterior walls with blown-in 2"x6" cavities enclosed by a layer of rigid foam followed by ½" spacer and thick cedar siding. “The idea with this home was also to think about the health of the residents,” Martuscello says. “That meant looking at everything.” This led them to Uponor’s radiant floor heating system, installed on a combination of concrete and Douglas fir to avoid plywood – which could potentially contain unknown resins.

Plumbing contractor George Skaates from Skaates Plumbing was asked to install the radiant heating system along with the plumbing and the multipurpose fire safety system. “I have installed PEX, both in radiant and plumbing systems, since 1997, but this was the first time I installed a fire safety system,” he says. But with support from Uponor and rep company Osborne, Skaates and his crew grew familiar with the installation process. “We installed 286 fire sprinkler heads in the home,” he said. “The home has multiple buildings and multiple risers and it became clear, once I saw the design, that using Uponor’s multipurpose system was the only way to go.”

Uponor’s Ecoflex® pre-insulated pipe system offered flexible, durable, hydronic distribution for the heating, cooling and hot-water applications between the buildings on the property. “We received the first ever batch of ASTM sizes and it was helpful for us to eliminate the need for costly adapters to convert from metric to U.S. sizing,” Skaates says.

Finally, Skaates Plumbing installed Uponor’s Climate Cŏntrol™ Network System to integrate hardware and software that connected all of the home’s heating, ventilation, humidification, air conditioning, domestic hot water and radiant components into a single system. The homeowners can make comfort control changes via the Network’s slim, flush-mount wall thermostats, as well as through an optional high-definition touch panel interface or even a computer — both locally and remotely — with internet access to the entire system.

Project Highlights

• 7,500-square-foot residence
• Uponor AquaPEX® for plumbing and fire sprinklers
• Wirsbo hePEX™ for radiant heating system
• Uponor Ecoflex® for underground distribution
• Builder: MGM Construction, San Francisco
• Architect: HKS Hill Glazier Studio, Palo Alto

Project Data

• 1,245 feet of Ecoflex Thermal Twin
• 7,900 feet of 5/8" Wirsbo hePEX
• TruFLOW™ Classic Manifolds
• 1,340 feet of Uponor AquaPEX
• Engineered Polymer (EP) Multi-port Tees
• ProPEX® Ball Valves

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