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Chatham Cottage

Welcome - Chatham Cottage II is a small, affordable and energy efficient home built by Sustainability Technologies students at Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro, NC.

The House

Students Working on House

Green Features

Central Carolina Community College and its Sustainability Technology Program are dedicated to teaching its students cutting edge "Green Build" technology. As our students enter their careers they will be prepared to make vital contributions towards building sustainable environments. Listed here are many possible Chatham Cottage II construction features representing locally available Green Building products and building practices.

Framing Design

  • Use of carpentry framing techniques designed to minimize the amount of lumber needed to construct a building (minimized framing also improves thermal insulation performance)
  • Use of low Volatile Organic Compound (V.O.C.) high density oriented strand board which improves long term indoor air quality
  • Interior trim certified by Forest Stewardship Council, and 80% recycled content

Insulation Selections

  • Closed cell expanded polystyrene insulation board having twice the thickness most standard building industry homes utilize
  • Use of eco bats recycled content (61%) insulation
  • Eco bats have no formaldehyde, no phenols or acrylics
  • 2-inch blue board and sill seal used to insulate exteriors

Exterior Wall and Siding

  • Cypress wood selectively harvested from sustainable practice forestry resource - Cypress is exceptionally durable and has a long term service life.
  • Minimal air infiltration achieved via fully caulked window and door openings, use of insulation barriers at wall penetrations and electrical switches and outlets

Indoor Air Quality Features

  • Recycled content/ no voc certified vinyl plank flooring
  • Low V.O.C. content cabinets using high density fiberboard KCMA environmental stewardship approved
  • Low V.O.C. countertop and related adhesives Environmental Stewardship Program certified
  • 0% V.O.C. wall and ceiling paint
  • Internal ducting for increased air flow
  • Whole house ventilation with Energy Recovery Ventilator, air exchanger


  • Air tight enclosures for compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED can lights. All lighting CFL or LED.
  • Designed with passive solar day lighting options.
  • Motion activated LED wall mounted outdoor lights


This home is a great transition home for people wanting to move towards simplicity and sustainability. This 16' by 32' house can comfortably fit a single person or couple, is great for a guest house for the mom-in-law, and is just as suited for an office space or vacation rental home. This small, tight, energy efficient home is designed to allow the owner to enjoy their natural surroundings, rather than having to worry about how to keep them out.

When buying a home, people often don't think about long term energy consumption and how much that is going to cost. If a house isn't sealed correctly or doesn't have proper insulation, the only person who will pay for that is the owner. Many people are concerned that energy efficient homes are too expensive. Our goal is to provide an energy efficient home using simple, cost efficient building science techniques that are often overlooked in the traditional building community. We aim to provide the consumer with a truly realistic way to save money and energy.

To achieve our goals we are doing the following:

The majority of the framing lumber is certified as sustainably grown and harvested by FSC or SFI. The walls will be sheathed with two inches of rigid foam board with an R value of 5.5 to serve as a thermal break and move the thermal mass of the wall framing to the inside of the building envelope. The blue board also serves as an air and vapor barrier. The idea behind using a thicker piece of foam is to move the condensation point into the middle of the sheathing board. The temperature gradient causes the moisture to condense on the outside of the building envelope, allowing for direct control of the moisture level not only in the living area but also in the wall cavity. The flooring system uses the 2" by 10" floor joists to tie the band and subflooring together to form a structural diaphragm. The wall framing combined with the wall sheathing also acts as a diaphragm. The sill seal (installed between the bottom plate and subfloor) acts as an air and vapor barrier in a location in which air infiltration is common.