Monday, October 5, 2015

5 of the World's Greenest Homes

In this series I'll be looking at 5 of the worlds GREENEST homes. As most of you know now, there are a wide variety of ways that you can create sustainability in all kinds of real estate. There’s also as many reasons that people choose this way of keeping their global footprint small. All over the world, so many are looking for innovative and cost effective ways of saving energy and costs while at the same time reducing their waste and carbon emissions. BELLWETHER OF BELVEDERE
Pretty fancy name for a pretty cool house located just north of San Francisco in Belvedere.  Jordan Harris is a sustainability consultant who works hard to convert anyone to hybrid, particularly in their buildings.  He and his wife Julie wanted to exemplify their passion for sustainability and successfully created a modern home that seamlessly integrates all kinds of sustainable building technology. The best feature however, according to the Harris's, is that they have an electric meter that runs backwards and since 2006 hundreds of kilowatts of power has gone back into the grid! Their remodelled home has so many amazing features and the first order of business for them was to re-connect it to the natural surroundings.  Instead of facing directly into the lagoon and looking out to their neighbor, the residence was rotated 30 degrees which allows the eye to wander over the water to the mountain peak of Mt. Tamalpais.
The house is extremely energy efficient with the following items: 1) Photovoltaic solar cells 2) High-efficiency boiler 3) Radiant in-floor heating 4) Insulated glazing and low-e coatings on all windows and doors 5) Insulated solar shades to allow as much or as little solar gain as needed 6) High-efficiency household appliances 7) Ultra Touch cotton insulation (a treatment added to walls for added R factor)
Ninety five percent of the timber was salvaged or sustainably harvested.  Low VOC paint wNinety five percent of the timber was salvaged or sustainably harvested.  Low VOC paint was used on all vertical surfaces including a brick wall that was hidden behind some drywall.  An interesting feature is the large wall in the living area that was coated with an aluminum laminate (applied to recycled substrate) that captures and reflects light.  The floors are bamboo - a sustainable product that's easy to grow and harvest.  The garage floor and the underlay for paving stones outside were made from 30% fly-ash concrete. (Concrete use and manufacture is responsible for 8% of the worlds carbon emissions. Fly-ash concrete mixes waste from coal-burning plants with concrete to make stronger, less ecologically damaging material).  Original elements such as plumbing fixtures and cabinetry were re-cycled where possible.  Old doors and windows were donated to a building resources organization (we have RE-store in West Kelowna.  Remember to donate your gently used building products, appliances, home improvement items and furniture!)  and the old concrete was re-purposed and/or re-cycled.

Besides being one of the worlds most environmentally friendly homes, this house is a thing of beauty.  Transparent glass walls allowing an abundance of natural light and a spectacular waterfront garden creates a sensation of continuous space between the indoors and out.  With clean lines and aesthetic beauty this home sets itself apart while at the same time there is little visually about the house that hints at it's tree-hugging soul!
We can all do our part for the planet.  In Kelowna there are many resources and companies available to help guide you through a GREEN build or reno project for your real estate.  Call Paige Guernsey on her direct line at 250-862-6464 for your green housing questions today! Talk to you soon... Paige

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