Back in the April issue of Abode, I wrote about a house Upstream Construction was building in Crozet for Brian and Joan Day. As I pointed out then, it’s notable not only because it’s a custom house with many green features, but because the Days are both environmental professionals who decided to open their house to the public during and after construction, so people could take a look and learn a thing or two. Here it is under construction:
“I’m hiking up a steep gravel drive towards a state-of-the-art green-built house outside Crozet one Saturday morning in August, thinking it looks more like a tree house than anything else. A very well-built, spacious tree house with all the amenities.
Horizontal lines and pale olive weatherboarding blend into the hillside in a simple, Frank Lloyd Wright-ish sort of way. A long deck with welcoming open casement windows extends at treetop level along the south front.
Inside, deep concrete/Styrofoam-insulated walls result in window sills big enough to sit in with a book and a cup of tea. Floors and cabinets gleam from selectively cut Goochland County red oak. Low-flow appliances and a tank-less heater cover the water front. A central vacuum system and Energy Recovery Ventilator keep the air clean.
Brian Day, Director of the North American Association for Environmental Education, and his family are now living earth-friendly and LEED-certified for a construction cost of $200 per square foot.
The world of eco-friendly development has its own insider jargon—ERVs, VOCs for air quality; SIPs, ICFs, and R-values for insulation; FSC-certified for wood—and the acronyms roll expertly off the tongues of many of the dozens of couples who show up for the open house along with their notebooks. Judging from this crowd of middle-class couples, green building is becoming pretty mainstream. These people are looking for quality and non-wasteful, non-toxic ways to build without destroying the site first. What kind of a society is it where that’s a radical idea?”
By the way, Brian Day echoed Cathy’s hunch that green is going mainstream when I talked to him back in the spring. “Think how easy it is to find a light bulb,” he said. “Now you can get compact fluorescent in a spotlight…I couldn’t find one of those six months ago.”
Anybody else have ambitions of going LEED at home?