How green am I, better than some, but still work to do…

As an architect, I pride myself in being able to help people save money, live healthier, and conserve resources. I have used the terms, green design, sustainable design, and eco-friendly design to describe what I know how to do for my clients. The knowledge I have about these issues has been gained through years of research, attending education sessions, and trial and error. I did not just jump on this band wagon when the topic became a trend, I have been working on these issues since I entered the profession in 1999. Am I doing enough with the opportunities I have been given? Here is a list of projects that should factor into my environmental grade.

First LEED for Homes Certified project in Virginia back in 2006. This home reduced the size of the HVAC system by 2/3 over a traditionally built house. That makes their electric bills VERY low each month!

LEED for Homes

This LEED NC Certified industrial building, Better Living Mill Shop, reduces potable water consumption through capturing 95,000 gallons of rainwater from the roof. They furthered reduced their water use through efficient fixtures, cutting usage by 40%. This project diverted 95% of all construction waste from the landfill, used 52% recycled content products, and 34% local materials. But the biggest gain was the 47% reduction in annual energy usage through the use of a transpired solar collector and energy-efficient design elements.

Better Living Mill ShopThis renovation project in Crozet was looking for energy efficiency and comfort. Through some simple design elements and a great team effort, we reduced their energy consumption by 40%, even after adding a state of the art kitchen addition and a second floor bedroom to the home. The air leakage in the home was cut by 55%, the insulation was upgraded, and the HVAC system was replaced. This home received the Home Performance with Energy Star certification. This late 1800’s home renovation project was so impressive, we received a visit from United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack who wanted to see the work done.

LEAP CharlottesvilleWe have also done Net-Zero energy design. This home in northern Albemarle has been occupied for a couple of years now and they have a total energy bill of $25 (the hook up fee). Along with many passive design features, this home has high performance insulation, windows, HVAC, and appliances.

Net-Zero Home

Looking for proof that we can make a difference on a modest budget. This home had a budget of $1,100 for energy-efficient upgrades. The annual energy savings = $368. With the tax incentives in place at the time, the project was cash positive in one year.

Energy efficiencyI am working hard to be better, to help our clients save money, live healthier, and conserve resources. If you want to be part of our environmental story, feel free to give me a call (540)437-0012. I am happy to answer questions, design solutions, or just give you advice.