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“Green at a Glance”

By Tam | August 22, 2009


The green aspects of the house, as noted by Larry, are more evident in the bones and underpinings of the structure than the traditional components. A majority of people who visited the house on the Build-It-Green tour wanted specifics of what qualified us to be designated as a green home. The following details and products can be accessed on the Web.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Resource Conservation

Accessible design: elevator, 32-in. wide doorways, zero step entrance, roll-in shower, grab bar blocking in bathroom walls, lowered rangetop, lever door handles, ramps and paths to front door and around rear garden

Water Conservation:

Indoor Air Quality

And for another accessible feature, we have a bus stop in front of the house that can be utilized for a direct line Bay Area Rapid Transit station leading to San Francisco when the time comes when we no longer drive.

A photovoltaic system has been installed with all the necessary conduits already in place, from the roof to the garage to the main electrical panel. It has reduced our electrical bill to almost a zero level.

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Pictures from a Green Tour; Homeowners Recovering

By Tam | March 24, 2009

At one point, just minutes before we opened our doors to the almost 600 people who came through our newly built house on a Build It Green tour last June, I found myself clutching a bottle of glass cleaner.

That was the last clear memory I had before the doors opened and people started streaming in. Bit by bit, I retreated to the master bedroom with our middle daughter who was keeping a careful watch over the area and answering questions. She was one of four family members in attendance, in addition to an architect, two contractors, our cabinet maker, our grey water designer and three volunteers from Build It Green, the nonprofit who were sponsoring this day. Seventeen other homes were part of the tour from Alameda and Contra Costa counties in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Since then, the house has been in Fine Homebuilding’s Readers Choice for 2013’s Awards Gallery:
Visitors had, in most cases, bought the booklet that Build It Green had produced listing the construction and interior products that were termed ‘green’ and those were noted by use of small signs attached in appropriate places. We made other signs that remarked on those features exclusive to our house.

Some visitors who filled our house over the next seven hours were neighbors who wanted to see just this one particular house as they had, like ourselves, waited for almost a year and half for it to be finished. Others were professionals such as real estate agents, subcontractors, decorators and architects. Many were in the process of exploring green features to add to their own homes during renovation.

Larry and I hardly glimpsed each other during those seven hours, as we and some of our subcontractors (particularly cabinet maker Greg Smith and greywater specialist John Russell, were overwhelmed with questions about our decisions and specific products: “Where did that ebony flooring come from?”, “Who made the backsplash in the kitchen?”, “Are the light fixtures still available locally?”, and “What makes that feature green?”

During the tour, I escorted two senior women into the elevator to experience the smooth, slow ride to the second floor; they had said they were considering an elevator or some way to access an upper floor.

We found out later through the Build-It-Green volunteers expertly manning our doors and taking statistics, that people were entering the house through our ground level entrance but not counted as attending. We personally saw eight people step in through our patio entrance, again not registered in the count.

But we now have a green glass plaque that declares us the most visited house” with 563 visitors.
http://www.finehomebuilding.com/item/23502/aging-in-grace

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