Let's Talk About Green Homes!

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Today, I had a wonderful opportunity to tour a home (not for sale) in Richmond's Museum District. Built in 1909, Honor's Corner was renovated in 2015 and awarded LEED Platinum status. (No easy feat, even for new construction, but really impressive to find in an older home!)

If you don't know what LEED certification is, the acronym is for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and is a certification awarded by the US Green Building Council. As a project is built (or renovated, as this one was), points are granted to the project based on the products and systems put in place and how they address healthy, efficient living spaces and sustainability. It's actually the most widely used rating system for green buildings, around the world. 

I could go on and on about this, but instead, I'm going to hit the high points, throw in some links, and implore you to reach out if you have questions or are thinking of buying a green home, renovating a home to be more green, or even if you just want to make your own home a little more green. 

The High Points...

Some of my favorite features of this renovation?

Their use of reclaimed materials! I love, love, love, the floors! Milled locally into floor boards, this wood was over 100 years old, and spent the first part of its life under water as part of a pier on the Anacosta river. Finished with oil, vs the more common polyurethane, they're a healthy and sustainable reuse...not to mention gorgeous! 

The active solar arrays. The homeowners wanted to ensure that they were generating enough power to charge their electric car, and managed to do quite a bit more. This is an addition that while wonderfully efficient, doesn't always translate to cost savings for the the homeowners, so adding these for the principal of defraying the power of the car was a conscious choice. 

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That car charger I mentioned? Here it is! Neatly attached to the wall in the carport (as opposed to a garage.) The homeowners decided when they opted to go green in an older home that downsizing meant downsizing. Moving from a 4000 sf home to one with 2000 sf forced a lot of purging (everyone had to jettison half of their "stuff!") and they knew that a garage just encourages collecting...stuff. Plus, the carport makes a fantastic shelter for entertaining, and helps the backyard retain an open feel. 

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This space! What's not to love about this space?? With fantastic light, soaring ceilings (they removed the attic (*see not collecting stuff, above.) and retained a small loft area, but it opened up this fantastic office and lounging area. Love it. 

Some of my other favorites....

In the front yard, the landscaping is primarily native plants, and rocks, for generally a better carbon footprint, and under the rock bed you'll find a bmp (best management practices) stormwater management system- that means there is a 2000 gallon underground cistern for passive irrigation. No water runs off this property to the storm drains (they get a $13 month credit from the city for this! Not a big savings, but it means no sprinkling or watering.) 

Similarly, in the back yard, they have a water pillow stormwater retention and distribution system. This big pillow/ bladder resides discreetly under the porch, and enables them to have water for plants, washing cars, etc, without ever having to tap into the municipal water supply. 

The geothermal heating and cooling system. These systems are able to use a system of underground coils to heat and cool the home, using the earth's temp. Often these systems are built with a horizontal loop, but that takes loads of space. The Powers used a vertical loop system, drilling a 300 foot deep well to house the system, but they've managed to (between that and the very tight "envelope" of the house) get their power bills down to $80-$90 month. This compared to the $1200 or so that some of their neighbors pair. Pretty amazing!

Do you want to hear more about LEED Certification? Green building? More featured homes? Let me know! And stay tuned for more info on getting your home a little more green and easy tips to living with greater sustainability.

More info on the Honor's Corner Project HERE

Info on the LEED program- Click

Thanks to M.A. and Patrick Powers for letting us tromp through their wonderful home today, and thanks to Viridiant.org for hosting another fun, informative event!