Water Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Indoor Air Quality, Materials Efficiency, Design Innovation, Solar Power
When we decided to remodel our house 6 years ago we had some basic principles we wanted to follow. Our house was built in 1912 with an upstairs addition but was poorly insulated, drafty, and was not made for modern living. The improvements needed to be energy efficient, low water use and with a focus on reused building materials as much as possible.
With that in mind we started looking online for resources. Through the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild website we began researching architects and contractors. Through the Guild we found George Ostrow at Velocipede Architects and General Contractor Mike Vacirca at LastingNest Inc. George and Mike helped us narrow our scope of work while embracing the Green building concepts they both employed. Velocipede and LastingNest have won awards for their Green Buildings and we were fortunate to find such a good match.
During the construction we used recycled building and FSC certified materials extensively in framing and for most of the finish trim in the house. We frequented Second Use, the ReStore, and Habitat for Humanity for materials including trim, tile, sinks, and hardwood flooring. The floor of our master bedroom is FSC certified Cherry that we found at Second Use. We have also reused wood for furniture and built-ins around the house, including a bathroom vanity, dining room table, our king sized bed and custom closet shelving. Almost every part of the Master bathroom is recycled, from wood and sink for the vanity, window and door trim, all tile on the floor, and custom shower.
Another aspect of our remodel was just completed last year. This included solar panel installation and improving our energy efficiency. A&R Solar installed the vast solar panel array on our roof. We have been ecstatic with the results. Many of our neighbors and friends have asked about the panels and how they are working. Our energy consumption improved with a new high efficiency furnace and insulation in the crawl and attic space decreasing our gas bill substantially.
We thoroughly enjoy our house daily and continue to make more improvements. We now have a more environmentally friendly house that makes electricity and keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summers, without air conditioning.