Taking the LEED in housing
GREEN TOUR: Homes, businesses will open their environmentally friendly doors
JOHN DODGE; Staff writer
Published: 04/12/10 7:26 am | Updated: 04/12/10 7:26 am
OLYMPIA – The green-building movement in South Sound is sharing some of its successes this weekend by hosting its first South Sound Green Tour.
The tour, sponsored by the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, is designed to showcase the work of area architects, contractors, builders and artists who have embraced sustainable building practices.
“With the growth in interest in green building, we decided it was time to share our message with the general public and the construction industry,” guild chapter president Chris van Daalen said.
The tour is an opportunity to visit 12 South Sound homes and businesses that use renewable energy sources, reclaimed and environmentally friendly building materials, energy- and water-efficient appliances and fixtures, and other features.
In addition, more than 50 workshops are scheduled throughout the weekend about such topics as rain gardens, home energy audits, sustainable design techniques and geothermal heat pumps.
The tour reflects increased consumer demand for homes that save money on energy bills, improve indoor air quality and use space efficiently.
“We can’t keep building McMansions and expect to sustain our natural resources,” van Daalen said.
One of the tour stops is the recently completed, Mediterranean-style home of Dennis and Kay Cooper. Anyone who drives through the West Bay Drive roundabouts above the Fourth Avenue Bridge has seen this home on the hillside with the panoramic views of downtown Olympia, Mount Rainier, the state Capitol and Budd Inlet.
TWO UNITS IN ONE
At first glance, it appears quite large. But it’s actually two housing units in one – a 1,400-square-foot upstairs home and a 900-square-foot downstairs apartment ideal for visiting family members or even a live-in caretaker at some point.
“Part of sustainability is adding flexibility in the design of the home,” said home architect Tessa Smith of The Artisans Group.
The Cooper home is the first residence in South Sound in line to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, Smith said.
Recycled materials are incorporated throughout the home, noted builder Cory Eckert of Laupen Homes. The stucco is 49 percent recycled tires, which makes it long-lasting and more earthquake-resistant.
Beams in the dining room are recycled timbers from an old Packard car dealership in Seattle. The window frames are 40 percent sawdust. Rainwater from the roof feeds an outdoor water feature.
The home is energy-efficient with an hydronic radiant heat system built into the concrete floors and a heat-recovery ventilator to maintain fresh air flows in the well-insulated home.
“The energy efficiencies and recycled materials were the most satisfying part of building this home,” said Dennis Cooper, 65, a retired state employee. “These homes can last 200 years when they are built right.”
The Northwest Multiple Listing Service began keeping tabs of environmentally certified homes for its members in 2007.
A recent review of that data for new-home sales in King County revealed that green-certified homes made up 33 percent of the new-home market, sold for a 9.1 percent premium per square foot and stayed on the market 24 percent less time than other new homes.
Consumer demand for environmentally friendly homes is about to explode, Eckert predicted, estimating that 30 percent or more of new-home construction in South Sound has environmental features above and beyond what is required in building codes.
“Green-built homes are selling faster than traditional homes,” he said. “Consumers want it; it just makes sense.”
‘TRAINING THE TRADES’
The South Sound Green Tour runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Other stops on the tour in Olympia include the 510 Interiors green-building materials store, South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity Restore, The Artisans Group, Sherwood Press, Matter!Gallery and several homes, and the New Market Skills Center in Tumwater.
“We need to be training the trades for the green-building industry; that’s why the skills center is on the tour,” van Daalen said.
Here is a link to the story. Once on the web site, click on photo gallery and you will find a lot more photos of the project. http://www.theolympian.com/2010/04/12/1203186/taking-the-leed-in-housing.html
Olympia LEEDs in green building
October 12, 2009
By Breanne Coats
Olympia residents and business owners are leading the way in “green” building.
In just a matter of weeks, Olympia will have debuted two Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design firsts, including what should be the city’s first LEED house and the state’s first LEED-certified medical building.
LEED enters residential market:
A new, modern Mediterranean-style house on a steep slope overlooking downtown Olympia has a few secrets hidden behind its arches.
One of those secrets is that it is smaller than it appears from the outside because the architect played with outside space. But the main secret this house hides from those who pass by is how “green” it is. In fact, if everything goes as planned, this house should be the first Olympia LEED-certified house.
Tessa Smith of Artisans Group designed this home, and while she focuses on “green” and sustainable housing, getting LEED certification is a new process for her. Smith worked with the property owners, Dennis and Kay Cooper, to design the house to be 60 to 80 percent more efficient than standard homes.
“I believe in building things that are respectful of the environment, but also meeting people’s needs,” Smith said. “I’ve slowed down very little even in this market.”
Smith said many people worry about turning to designers for projects because of the additional cost, but in the long run they can actually save money. Smith also watches her projects develop to make sure that the builders are actually building the house the homeowners wanted to see as an end result.
“It’s the best money you’ll spend on the whole project,” Smith said about the design process.
For this project, Smith actually recommended Cory Eckert, owner of Laupen Homes LLC and former employee of Artisans, to the Coopers. Eckert was excited to jump on board and has worked closely with Smith to make sure that any needed changes do not mess up the ultimate goals of the original design.
“That’s the beauty of design-build,” Eckert said. “We are not wasting each other’s time. It makes for an incredible team.”
A big part of attaining LEED certification is usually the alternative construction techniques, but the builders of this project also had to work around the steep slope the house was being built on.
Laupen Homes used about 300 yards of concrete compared to a standard home’s 30 yards. Some of the concrete was used in retaining walls, but the other 200 yards were incorporated into the home’s walls and floors. Concrete helps create radiant heat, which is more efficient because it heats the mass of the home, not just the air, and keeps the house warmer longer.
While there are many other features that make this house “green,” both Smith and Eckert stressed that the home is not just energy efficient, but sustainable and a huge part of sustainability is longevity. Unlike some other small green homes that only last a few decades, they estimate this structure will stand for about 300 years, plus the style of the house is not trendy and should be appealing to any other owners if the Cooper family decides to sell some day.
“It’s sustainable because it’s beautiful,” Smith said.
Healthy Future Pediatrics:
Meanwhile Healthy Future Pediatrics announced it had been LEED certified to the silver level, make it the first “green” medical building in Washington.
Dr. Carl Lindgren believes owning a LEED certified medical facility not only helps his business be more environmentally friendly, but also patient and staff friendly.
“You always go into these kind of projects hoping if you work hard it’s going to be what you want it to be and more,” said Lindgren, who is going on 20 years in the medical industry. “In the end, I’m thrilled with the building. It’s everything we wanted it to be and more. I’m really looking forward to working here the rest of my career.”
One of Lindgren’s passions is health care.
When he decided to build a new larger facility — 6,000 square feet, compared to his previous 2,000-square-foot space — he wanted the building to be as sterile and healthy an environment as possible.
“The kids and their parents respond well to it,” Lindgren said. “There are a lot of patients that are sensitive to their atmosphere.”
The facility features open spaces and a child-friendly design, but one of Lindgren’s favorite features is the heating and cooling system.
The particular heating and cooling system used for this project was a Mitsubishi City Multi System, which is a highly efficient Variable Refrigerant Flow system that has the capability of moving heat around within a building utilizing refrigerant, rather than creating new heat or moving it only from outdoors, said the HVAC designer/builder and LEED manager for the entire project, Joseph Bettridge of Sunset Air Inc.
Bettridge, who is also his company’s vice president of the Engineering Division, added that this feature, together with air-to-air heat recovery ventilators – capture heat from exhaust air streams and transfers that energy into fresh incoming outdoor air – means the total building utilizes more than 30 percent less energy than a comparable building. This system also qualified for an energy conservation grant from Puget Sound Energy that aided in its construction.
“It was both exciting and fulfilling – particularly since Dr. Lindgren has been my children’s pediatrician for over a decade,” said Bettridge about working on the project. “I am proud of the type of medical practice Carl has developed, and his commitment to the environment, community and indoor environmental heath care manifested in this beautiful new facility.”