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Building Green in Albany

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This year, Build it Green celebrates the completion of its 10,000th GreenPoint rated home. Through the Greenpoint system, Build it Green awards points for energy efficiency, resource conservation, indoor air quality, water conservation and community consideration in new projects as well as renovations. I recently toured a renovation in Albany, California, that fetched a whopping score of 231 out of 300 possible points. While every design gesture was carefully thought out to maximize its green potential, the home is remarkably comfortable and liveable and it doesn't feel like like a theoretical or conceptual exercise—everything just makes sense. Click through the slideshow for a look at the residence and the measures homeowner and architect Ian MacLeod undertook.

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  The home is situated on a quiet residential street in Albany, California. Most of the homes in the area are single-story bungalows built in the 1920s and 1930s. The residents, Ian MacLeod, Beatrice Moran, and their two children, were drawn to the location because if its proximity to a local high school, the main commercial strip in the city, and BART, the regional train system. Those walkability aspects factored into the overall GreenPoint score.
    The home is situated on a quiet residential street in Albany, California. Most of the homes in the area are single-story bungalows built in the 1920s and 1930s. The residents, Ian MacLeod, Beatrice Moran, and their two children, were drawn to the location because if its proximity to a local high school, the main commercial strip in the city, and BART, the regional train system. Those walkability aspects factored into the overall GreenPoint score.
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  Most of the homes in the area are single-story bungalows built in the 1920s and 1930s. The MacLeods' 1,100-square-foot home was originally built in 1927. Though it had its charms, it didn't meet the family's needs spatially or from a resource standpoint. Rather than leave their beloved neighborhood, they decided to add a second story, update the electrical, ventilation, and water systems, and make the entire space more livable. Though the facade was updated, it's not out of place in the neighborhood. Most of the new massing was added to the rear of the home. Here's the side view as you approach from the south.
    Most of the homes in the area are single-story bungalows built in the 1920s and 1930s. The MacLeods' 1,100-square-foot home was originally built in 1927. Though it had its charms, it didn't meet the family's needs spatially or from a resource standpoint. Rather than leave their beloved neighborhood, they decided to add a second story, update the electrical, ventilation, and water systems, and make the entire space more livable. Though the facade was updated, it's not out of place in the neighborhood. Most of the new massing was added to the rear of the home. Here's the side view as you approach from the south.
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  In the planning stages, Ian took a model of his home to the Pacific Energy Center's Heliodon, a system that simulates the motion of the earth relative to the sun to see how the light shining into the home would change throughout the year. Ian designed the home to feature large south-facing windows to help heat and illuminate the interior. Heading to the Heliodon (it's open to the public) helped him assess his design and see if he optimized the placement of the windows for all seasons.
    In the planning stages, Ian took a model of his home to the Pacific Energy Center's Heliodon, a system that simulates the motion of the earth relative to the sun to see how the light shining into the home would change throughout the year. Ian designed the home to feature large south-facing windows to help heat and illuminate the interior. Heading to the Heliodon (it's open to the public) helped him assess his design and see if he optimized the placement of the windows for all seasons.
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  The interior is brightly illuminated via the numerous low-e glazed windows by Marvin. They're thermally insulating and also help reduce noise from the neighboring BART track. One detail I really loved was the small corner window in the upper right of the photo, which faces west and allows the residents to view the setting sun in the evenings.  "Maintaining sight lines throughout the house was really important to us," says Ian.The red and green chairs (whose forms are abstracted dogs) in the foreground are custom-built by Oakland-based furniture maker Ashley Eriksmoen.
    The interior is brightly illuminated via the numerous low-e glazed windows by Marvin. They're thermally insulating and also help reduce noise from the neighboring BART track. One detail I really loved was the small corner window in the upper right of the photo, which faces west and allows the residents to view the setting sun in the evenings. "Maintaining sight lines throughout the house was really important to us," says Ian.The red and green chairs (whose forms are abstracted dogs) in the foreground are custom-built by Oakland-based furniture maker Ashley Eriksmoen.
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  Here's the space opposite the living room. On most days, no artificial light is needed to brighten the interiors. Relying on natural light (greener than a CFL or LED bulb!) was one of the key green features Ian incorporated throughout the home. The rich flooring is ultra-strong FSC-certified strand bamboo by Smith + Fong, green materials being another element taken into consideration in the GreenPoint rating.
    Here's the space opposite the living room. On most days, no artificial light is needed to brighten the interiors. Relying on natural light (greener than a CFL or LED bulb!) was one of the key green features Ian incorporated throughout the home. The rich flooring is ultra-strong FSC-certified strand bamboo by Smith + Fong, green materials being another element taken into consideration in the GreenPoint rating.
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  Creating a well-insulated envelope was another key design feature. The home is insulated with cotton batting made mostly of recycled blue jeans in the walls and cell foam in the ceiling, which expands to fit into irregular spaces where the batting can't. "The roof has an R-value of 42-45," says Ian.
    Creating a well-insulated envelope was another key design feature. The home is insulated with cotton batting made mostly of recycled blue jeans in the walls and cell foam in the ceiling, which expands to fit into irregular spaces where the batting can't. "The roof has an R-value of 42-45," says Ian.
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  One of the main additions to the home was the rooftop solar hot water and 2.1 kW energy system, shown here from the rear of the house. The system is by Heliodyne.
    One of the main additions to the home was the rooftop solar hot water and 2.1 kW energy system, shown here from the rear of the house. The system is by Heliodyne.
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  The bathroom features recycled countertops by IceStone. The low-flow sink faucet and the Croma E 75 shower fixture (visible in the mirror) are by HansGrohe. The tile in the shower is by Horus.
    The bathroom features recycled countertops by IceStone. The low-flow sink faucet and the Croma E 75 shower fixture (visible in the mirror) are by HansGrohe. The tile in the shower is by Horus.
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  The rating process costs about $1,500 for a single-family home, which pays for itself in long-term energy and water savings. The stairwell receives the same attention to natural lighting as the rest of the residence. The banister was milled from wood reclaimed from the original structure; re-purposing what would normally be "waste" construction materials also fetches points.
    The rating process costs about $1,500 for a single-family home, which pays for itself in long-term energy and water savings. The stairwell receives the same attention to natural lighting as the rest of the residence. The banister was milled from wood reclaimed from the original structure; re-purposing what would normally be "waste" construction materials also fetches points.
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  "Working with GreenPoint's system and the rater helped us learn a lot about sustainable design and if I had to do it again, I would," says Ian.The spacious eat-in kitchen features bamboo cabinetry and walnut work surfaces. The white subway tile behind the counter is by Heath. Appliances are by Jenn-Air (EnergyStar-rated fridge), Kitchen Aid (oven), Thermador (hood) and Kenmore (induction range).
    "Working with GreenPoint's system and the rater helped us learn a lot about sustainable design and if I had to do it again, I would," says Ian.The spacious eat-in kitchen features bamboo cabinetry and walnut work surfaces. The white subway tile behind the counter is by Heath. Appliances are by Jenn-Air (EnergyStar-rated fridge), Kitchen Aid (oven), Thermador (hood) and Kenmore (induction range).
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  A living screen of bamboo provides additional privacy between neighbors. Landscape design measures like using native plants, avoiding invasive species, and opting for varieties that require no shearing garner points.
    A living screen of bamboo provides additional privacy between neighbors. Landscape design measures like using native plants, avoiding invasive species, and opting for varieties that require no shearing garner points.
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  Ian built raised beds for flowers and vegetables and installed a drip irrigation system.
    Ian built raised beds for flowers and vegetables and installed a drip irrigation system.
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  Composting on-site also counts toward the GreenPoint rating. Here, the bin is obscured by a small enclosure made out of wood reclaimed from the original structure. For more info on Built it Green and the GreenPoint rating system, please visit builditgreen.org.Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
    Composting on-site also counts toward the GreenPoint rating. Here, the bin is obscured by a small enclosure made out of wood reclaimed from the original structure. For more info on Built it Green and the GreenPoint rating system, please visit builditgreen.org.

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