When Bill Beasley and his local home builder’s group in Durham, N.C., started a green program, they realized that using green techniques to remodel the stock of existing homes would have more of an impact on the environment than building new green homes.
To provide green education for his staff, builders, and the community, the owner of Red-B Construction decided to purchase and renovate a house using high-end finishes and extensive green practices and techniques. “We wanted something that would act as a platform to test different technologies that could be applied to smaller, more typical remodels,” Beasley says.
He doubled the finished square footage of the 1984 home from 2,100 square feet to 4,300 square feet, including a living space over a new detached garage. He created an informational website for the Green Makeover Home, www.greenmakeoverhome.com.
The company’s main goal was to reduce energy and water consumption. The home’s 50 HERS rating represents a 50% reduction of energy use compared with a house built using today’s standard code. Beasley also followed energy-conserving guidelines for the EPA’s Energy Star for Homes program.
He estimates that the home’s water consumption has been reduced by 66% due to the installation of efficient faucets, dual-flush toilets, and a gray water recovery system (shown). For a family of four, this saves an average of 10,000 gallons of water per year.
Since the house was to serve as an educational tool, Beasley pursued the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification as well as the Green Home Builders of the Triangle certification, which is based on the National Association of Home Builders’ Model Green Home Building Guidelines. “I wanted an apples-to-apples comparison between the two programs for a single house,” Beasley says.
He scored the house using the LEED checklist, but chose not to pay a local verifier $3,000 for official certification. He paid $150 to register in the Green Home Builders of the Triangle program and earned a Gold rating. The project won single-family Remodeling Project of the Year in the NAHB’s National Green Building Awards.
Rainwater from gutters on the Green Makeover Home is stored in an underground tank and used for irrigation. In a recent project, Gaspar’s Construction, in Seattle, installed this 1,700-gallon underground tank to collect rainwater. The water is filtered and chlorinated, then used to flush toilets and for cold-water laundry.