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Old Posted Oct 4, 2011, 4:44 PM
M II A II R II K's Avatar
M II A II R II K M II A II R II K is offline
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Man Calls 72,000 Sq. Ft. Home a "Monument to Environmental Sustainability"

Big house has more than size on its side


Oct. 01, 2011

By KEVIN COLLISON

Read More: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/01...#ixzz1ZpdYmpJ6

Quote:
HIGHLANDVILLE, Mo. | Call Steven Huff a concrete thinker. A big one. High atop a hill south of Springfield, Huff is building what’s touted as one of the four largest homes in the United States. The 72,000-square-foot chateau will have 13 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms and a grand ballroom that at 2,000 square feet is as big as an average house. And he’s building it with a special energy-efficient concrete material that he’s trying to sell to the world. He calls his gargantuan second residence “Pensmore,” a French and English concoction for “think more,” and although he acknowledges that size matters, he insists this dwelling is no stately pleasure dome but a pragmatic monument to environmental sustainability.

- The material he’s using is also super-durable — it’s intended to withstand an F-5 tornado. Huff wants his residence to be a prototype for smart construction, not only of houses but larger structures such as hospitals and schools. Huff, a 60-year-old former small-town Missouri boy, is a shareholder and chairman of TF Concrete Forming Systems, which manufactures the special building material, but he made his fortune developing software for the medical and defense industries. “I’m personally not a tree hugger, but I do value people,” Huff said during a recent tour. “I value creation. … Wanton consumption of energy is not good for any of us.” The house, which resembles a cross between a college dormitory and a French country chateau, has consumed $6.8 million in building materials alone, according to county records.

- The concrete walls are poured vertically and use layers of foam for further insulation. The exterior walls are 12 inches thick, the interior walls 9½ inches. Pipes within the walls carry hot water that radiates into the rooms in cold weather and cool water that drains heat in summer. During the winter, the water is heated by 4,000 square feet of solar panels on the roof. In the summer, an underground geothermal system cools the water. Huff plans to supplement his energy system with a boiler heated by wood cut from the property, and perhaps a wind turbine. “Green is such a buzzword,” he said. “We’re trying to show a cost-effective way to be green by being more energy efficient.” The design of the gigantic house on the hill is his creation. Huff was inspired by the grand country mansions of France and England. The English architect Christopher Wren is one of his favorites.

- Huff estimated the cost of building Pensmore to be about 10 percent higher than a comparable, conventional residence, but the energy savings will recover that amount in a short time. “And we can laugh at the next tornado that comes along,” he added.

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  #2  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2011, 7:28 PM
mhays mhays is offline
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Even if the STRUCTURE had zero impact, the flooring alone probably has more impact than a typical entire house, by a wide margin. Or the electrical systems. Or the mechanical systems. A house that big needs a massive amount of stuff, and sustainability advances can only improve it so much.

If this guy wants to get in as a sustainable materials source, he just screwed himself up big time.
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2011, 10:06 PM
GeoRadarImaging GeoRadarImaging is offline
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Originally Posted by mhays View Post
Even if the STRUCTURE had zero impact, the flooring alone probably has more impact than a typical entire house, by a wide margin. Or the electrical systems. Or the mechanical systems. A house that big needs a massive amount of stuff, and sustainability advances can only improve it so much.

If this guy wants to get in as a sustainable materials source, he just screwed himself up big time.
I dunno. The energy savings he's promising might be BS, but on paper they look pretty promising. See that section up there about how building his home would only cost about 10% more than a comparable residence, but he's saying in the long run that the energy cost reductions would put it very much into the black, cost wise, vs. anything else of that scale. What's interesting is that none of his ideas are "new" per se, but rather, he's taking a lot of green ideas and mashing many of them together on one residential project in a way I don't think has been done before.

Finally, the size of the house wasn't done to be green or appease them; the article states that he liked the classic French and English country mansions and modeled this after those. That indicates to me he did the size and aesthetics for purely personal reasons.
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