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
- 23% more efficient than Title 24, the California which established the standards for residential and nonresidential buildings.
- Insulated concrete form foundation walls made by Nudura.
- Recycled-content dry blown-in cellulose insulation (US Green Fiber)
- Insulated hot water pipes
- Energy Star cool roof (Titan)
- Hydronic radiant-floor heat (Warm Floors, a west coast Company)
- Munchkin, 95% efficient boiler supplies domestic hot water and space heating
- Bosch and Kitchen Air Energy Star appliances
- 75% recycling of construction waste
- 30-50% fly ash concrete
- Configured house to preserve 100 year-old magnolia tree
- Foundation drainage system
- Advanced framing: studs and rafters 24 inch on center, load sized headers
- Engineered lumber, LVL and PSL beams and headers, I joists
- Fiber-cement trim and soffit
- Standing seam steel roof
- FSC-certified wood (various species) cabinets
- FSC-certified Douglas fir door trim
- FSC-certified maple flooring (Gammapar)
- Bamboo flooring (Gammapar)
- Exterior lights shielded to reduce light pollution
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
- Groundwater collection system
- Graywater system with sand filter for irrigation
- WaterSense dual-flush toilets (Toto Aquia)
- Water- and energy-efficient washing machine
- High-efficiency irrigation system with weather based controller (Acclima)
- Permeable Paving (Geoblock Porous Pavment System)
Indoor Air Quality
- Garage exhaust fan
- Energy Star bathroom fan vented to the outside
- Kitchen range hood vented to the outside
- No added formaldehyde plywood cabinets (Columbia Forest Products PureBond)
- Low-VOC caulk and adhesives
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.
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.
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.