Austin Energy Green Building Rating: 5-star
Built in the early 1950’s this home was constructed almost entirely of concrete, including the walls, floor, and roof. The current owners wanted to rearrange several of the rooms and modify the existing floor plan, add a new master bath, and upgrade the finishes throughout the house. After meeting with the designer, they embraced the idea of building green and strived to get the highest rating possible.
To create a transition into the living room, the original open front porch was converted into an enclosed entry vestibule using a commercial glass curtain wall system. Existing kitchen appliances and cabinetry were gutted and replaced with new formaldehyde free cabinets— stained walnut at the upper cabinets, and clear-coated exposed MDF base cabinets. Caesarstone countertops approximate the look of concrete, while handmade elliptical Heath tiles form the distinctive backsplash. The central island was created locally using recycled glass in a terrazzo substrate formed from a life size pattern. The organic shape is mirrored in the light cove above.
The area used as a master suite by the current owners was returned to its original purpose: a family room. The existing fireplace was reclad in a stacked veneer of cultured stone and the cantilevered hearth was constructed from a horizontal slab of travertine that supports walnut shelving separated by metal stand offs. Custom cabinetry on the other side of the fireplace houses the entertainment components in a freestanding media cabinet supported by a single steel post.
The renovated master suite, now in its original location, has been enlarged by the addition of a new master bath constructed on three sides by floor to ceiling glass block walls. High clerestory windows above provide additional natural light in this bright, transparent space during daytime hours. A suspended boomerang shaped fluorescent fixture provides efficient illumination to the master bath area at night.
The prominent feature in the master bath is the centrally located free-standing vanity wall, which has a pair of sinks on one side and the hidden toilet and shower niches on the other. The terrazzo style bathroom counter was custom made of recycled glass using the same process as the kitchen island.
The master bedroom features a built-in platform bed and drawers, with freestanding shelves supported by metal stand offs (a la the living room) — all of stained walnut. A walk-in closet and storage cabinets line the hallway connecting the bedroom to the master bath.
Other green features of the home include: all new energy efficient windows and fluorescent lighting throughout, zero VOC wall paint, Marmoleum flooring in the utility room, on-demand tankless water heaters, a 5kW active solar system on the roof, and an entirely new HVAC system that was sized according to calculations which took into account the home’s materials, orientation, and overhangs.
The result of the renovation is a 5-Star rated home by the city’s Green Building Program, the highest rating offered. Along the way to its five star rating, however, the home never compromised design for efficiency. The final result is an example of how an energy efficient, green home can also exhibit a high degree of design and detailing — as well as healthy interiors and energy efficiency.
Recycled glass kitchen island and bath counters
New energy efficient windows
Extensive fluorescent lighting
Zero-VOC wall paint
Marmoleum flooring in utility room
On-demand tankless water heaters
5kW active solar system on roof
New HVAC system sized according to calculations taking into account home's materials, orientation, and overhangs
Rigid insulation added to existing roof
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