This 1960 rambler nestled along West River Parkway in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis, possessed owners who were dedicated to both the concept and the spirit of sustainable and healthy construction. The impetus for their project was to provide better living space for themselves and their two daughters by adding a second floor. The new level houses two bedrooms, a common bathroom and a laundry room.
When Buck Brothers Construction broached the idea of attaining GreenStar certification, the home owners enthusiastically signed on. From beginning planning through the construction phases a collaborative process was put into play to ensure that all the participants (designers, contractors, suppliers and homeowners) “owned” the goal of creating a highly livable, energy efficient addition.
During demolition the roof framing was salvaged and re-sawn to create the railings for the new staircase. A dozen re-claimed doors were installed in doorways by the carpenters and as a unique closet partitioning system by the homeowner. Trees harvested from the neighborhood were transformed into beautiful flooring and cabinetry by a local company, Wood From the Hood. A new high-efficiency furnace and air-to-air exchanger, coupled with super tight construction standards put a lid on energy costs while raising indoor air quality. Water conservation was achieved by installing low-flow toilets, water restrictors on faucets – and rain barrels to feed the xeriscape garden. Even the dumpster service played a part, by recycling over 66% of the construction debris.
The best testament to the success of the project, and the enduring quality of the relationships, is that the clients have contracted for another remodeling project with the same quest for “green” practices and certification!
By Bob Buck, Buck Brothers Construction Inc.
For more information on this project visit www.buck-bros.com.
The arts and crafts-style home, in the Lynhurst neighborhood of Minneapolis, features a renovated kitchen, powder room, and sitting area. An eco-friendly design respects the home’s historical character while integrating the modern elements of today’s kitchen amenities. This efficient use of space features craftsman details in the cabinetry and millwork. Recycled glass, cork flooring, and low VOC paints join a variety of other ‘green’ materials honoring our clients sensitivity to the environment.
There were some interesting challenges in designing the project. We had to conceal plumbing lines coming down from the upstairs bathroom as well as hide the support beam that divided the pantry space from the kitchen. The solution was to create an arch that housed both problems. Viola! The powder bathroom on the main level was a wish list item and we creatively built under the stair. A Perfect fit! Another wish list item was to open up the stair well to the living room. The clients commented that everyone who visits is amazed at how original to the home it looks. Like it was always there!
By Sue & Pete Jacobson, Lake Country Builders
For more information on this project visit www.lakecountrybuilders.com.
This project is in the home of two adults and three children. The owners wanted an open gathering space with informal dining, a mudroom/entry area, a remodeled powder room, and provisions for a future laundry facility. Because they cared so much about the environment and the health of their family, they specifically wanted it to be “green” for energy-efficiency, earth-friendly, and health-conscious reasons.
Other sustainable design elements included in this project are the use of dimmer switches and timers on electric lights, the avoidance of recessed lights, the installation of a HEPA filter and the use of a refrigerator with a bottom-mount freezer. Low or no-VOC paint and wood finishes were also used.
By Katie Jaydan, Castle Building & Remodeling
For more information on this project visit www.castlebri.com.
This family was growing. They had a small turn of the century home in the Macalister Groveland neighborhood of St. Paul. They enjoyed their neighbors, were walking distance from their church and local shops. They didn’t want to move, but could no longer squeeze into their 2 bedroom 1 bath house – especially with a 2nd baby on the way.
Initial design discussions were focused on listening to the client and understanding their needs and desires. After many design iterations, we landed on a perfect fit. We proposed enlarging their home while optimizing space to accommodate their growing family which allowed them to stay in the neighborhood they loved. Nearing the close of design, Rinnovare learned about the MN GreenStar pilot program just being released. After talking with the client, they supported green, wanted to learn more, but could not afford to pay a premium to the total project for any green upgrades.
Rinnovare accepted the challenge and modified the design, specs and methods to build green and to meet the existing budget. To Rinnovare’s credit, many of its standard building practices had green attributes – spray foam insulation, protecting the site during excavation, hydronic radiant heat and others. But thanks to MN GreenStar, many more practices were learned and shared with not only the client, but it’s partnership of subcontractors. Things like caulking top plates before drywall, creating a waste management plan, using low VOC paint, low flow faucets, reclaimed doors, countertop remnants and pre-finished North American hardwood flooring, extensive use of informal passive cooling and thorough project documentation became new standards of performance.
The end result was a Bronze certified addition, that exceeded the clients expectations, met the original budget and provided a healthy and energy efficient home for years to come.
By Mike Williams, Rinnovare Inc.
For more information on this project visit www.rinnovareinc.com.
For more information on this project visit www.building-arts.net.
The new plan opens itself to the beautiful 2 acre lot, focusing attention to the outdoor spaces and pool. A gorgeous new kitchen and great room feature exceptional cabinetry design details. Stroll through the piano room, complete with wine chillers, to the spa-like master retreat, with its nearby gym added over the existing garage.
For more info about this project visit our website at www.lakecountrybuilders.com.
FROM THE HOMEOWNERS:
Our 1978 house had a unique feature which we hadn’t seen in other homes built in the same era: a vaulted ceiling which leads up to the living room framed by soaring arches. There was one Achilles heel, however. The connected kitchen was very small and even worse, was enclosed on 3 sides by walls, further limiting the usable space. It also had only an arm’s length worth of counter space, which could only lead to marital strife during team-cooking sessions!
We enlisted the help of Otogawa-Anschel Design-Build, who were able to design a spectacular space within the existing footprint while somehow transforming the entire house! We now have wonderful storage, counter space, clever built-ins and custom- designed Cambria countertops and bar. When you step past the front door, your eye follows the striking angles of the tile floor through the kitchen and the natural elm floors, up the stairs to the modern black iron railings, which complete the flow of the house. The best part is how much strife was avoided by our investment!
FROM THE REMODELER:
When homeowners Eric and Christina purchased their split level home in Mounds View, they loved the neighborhood and the additional square footage. However, the kitchen was an eyesore. Upon entering the home, one was confronted with a small, dark enclosed kitchen cut off from the rest of the house. Whenever the family wanted to entertain, the cook would be isolated from the guests and excitement. The awkward situation prompted them to call Otogawa-Anschel Design-Build for an eco-friendly design solution that better fit the family’s lifestyle.
The homeowners wanted a contemporary kitchen that possessed optimal storage solutions, supported the entertaining of guests and allowed for an abundance of natural light. They desired all of this without adding to the original footprint of the home. It was also important that this project have energy efficient appliances and use sustainable materials.
Otogawa-Anschel Design-Build dramatically improved the function and flow of the entire first floor by removing the interior walls of the kitchen, brightening the area during the day and creating multiple opportunities for hosting in the evening. Now the kitchen is open to the dining room and even to the living room beyond. Bar seating allows the chef and guests to interact. A narrow free standing wall placed between the entryway and the kitchen creates an entry space on one side and a well situated storage center on the other while both areas feel open and spacious.
Proving that green design can be cool and stylish as well as functional, the project boasts eco-resin panels set within the cabinets add a clean vertical counterpoint to the horizontal rift-cut wood and sleek minimalist hardware pulls. The white Cambria split counter block diverges from the straight line of the cabinet wall and adds personality and flare to the home.
Our firm’s Green solution includes cabinets which are custom-made locally with FSC-certified no-formaldehyde-added white oak. The floor is locally reclaimed elm (from trees felled by Dutch Elm Disease). We used recycled-content tile and locally produced Cambria countertops. All paints and stains used were low VOC. The appliances are all Energy Star rated.
For more information on this project visit www.otogawa-anschel.com.
Eian Residence — Minneapolis, MN
This neglected and partially obsolete 1927 Minneapolis home was in desperate need of repairs and updates. Not only was it lacking a design identity—all trim and period details had been yanked—but its performance (comfort and energy bills) was extremely poor as well. Homeowner and German-born architectural engineer Tim Delhey Eian used a holistic approach pioneered locally by TE Studio to address both shortcomings and bring his family home into the 21st century.
The house features around 2,500 finished square feet in its two-story layout, including a finished basement.
Over the course of 8 years, the home saw key updates and enhancements in these categories:
The Eian family is dedicated to living green, sustainably and energy efficiently. The approach chosen resulted in a durable and sustainable retrofit that enables the home to be an asset for the family for years to come. In combination, the carefully tailored design and solutions yielded a GreenStar Gold certification.
For more information on this project visit www.morrconstruction.com.
Design: Tim Delhey Eian, TE Studio, Ltd.
Showcase Renovation Inc. won the 2008 “Excellence In Green Building” Award for remodeling with this project. The home has been rated Silver by MN GreenStar.
Replacing an energy and structurally deficient home, this MN GreenStar pilot participant begins sustainability with simple concepts in a new 2050sf house. Methods including solar orientation for passive heating and cooling; use and re-use of durable, recyclable, and sustainable materials; reduced energy consumption; improved indoor air quality; and increased attention to water management, retention, and respect of the mighty Mississippi. The elongated plan and prominent shed roof focus river views while minimizing northern exposure.
Among the features included in this home:
The clients were dedicated to building green and made this project both challenging and exciting. This home was designed for its site responding to conditions both natural and man-made. It provides an example of the beauty, efficiency, and longevity that results when regard for limited resources meets sustainable design and quality craftsmanship.
By Stephen Roche, Showcase Renovation Inc.
Previous to this bathroom project the homeowners contracted with Buck Brothers Construction to construct a GreenStar “Gold” Certified 2nd floor addition. They wanted to continue the “Green” renovation of their home with the decision to complete the installation of their master bathroom. Space and basic mechanics had been planned and laid out during the development and construction of their 2010 2nd floor addition.
Supported by an established collaborative relationship and clarity to the goals of sustainability and efficiency the owners and our staff finalized the scope and details for the bathroom. Reclaimed pedestals sinks and faucets from a local salvage company, a dual flush, water conserving toilet, low VOC paints and flow restricted faucets were folded into the shell constructed in their previous project. The completed bathroom presented them with an open, airy room including a porthole view of their front yard treetops.
The design process, construction and, most conclusively, the final product were a testament to the initial commitment and planning invested by the homeowners. Decisions made three years earlier ensured a continuation of their dedication to a sustainable construction and life style. An added plus for them was achieving another Gold certification for their Green home.
For more information on this project visit www.buck-bros.com.
Green Home Institute
PO Box 68164
Grand Rapids MI 49516
Tel: (616) 458-6733
Toll Free: (888) 533-3274
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