Green Design with Breathtaking Views

Leicester House Marvin Windows - exterior

This is the last installment in our series called Energy-Efficient Windows 101 made possible by Marvin Windows and Doors.  Last time I discussed how Marvin windows contribute towards LEED certification, and today want to wrap it up with this showcase of an award-winning home in Leicester, North Carolina.  Designed by Eric Gartner of New York-based SPG Architects, the energy-efficient home has a custom configuration of Marvin windows providing expansive southern and western views.

Leicester House Marvin Windows - interior

It’s hard to explain how digging the water well in 2008 influenced what ultimately was built, but that’s what happened, according to Gartner, SPG Architects.  Due to drought conditions, the well had to be dug much deeper than expected, and the housing economy basically crashed at about the same time.  When these two things happened, the owner reassessed plans and worked with Gartner on a more environmentally friendly home while still keeping a tight construction budget.

The result is a 3,000 square-foot abode with three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms, split between two levels.  The upper level has the living and master suite, while the lower level has the guest wing and can be zoned off when not in use to save energy.

A key feature of the Leicester home is an engineered window wall overlooking a green roof with sunset views of the west and also toward the south.  This was accomplished with the custom configuration of Marvin windows and doors explained below.

Leicester House Marvin Windows - windows

Contemporary and Green

Leicester collects about 80% of the water that falls on the house and diverts it to two tanks that hold a total of 3,400 gallons.  The non-potable resource is used for landscape irrigation and in the water-conserving toilets.  Also, the green roof reduces water runoff and the heat-island effect and insulates the guest wing below.

As for the construction, Leicester has a basic insulation package with R19 fiberglass in the walls, an insulated foam in the basement, and an R38+ roof with a combination of R19 fiberglass and closed-cell urethane foam.  The HVAC system has three zones – again, these can be shut down when an area of the house isn’t being used – powered by a geothermal system with a field of horizontal loops.

To conserve energy, the owner installed Energy Star appliances, Energy Star Marvin windows, and low-consumption lighting, and Gartner’s design includes massive overhangs for summer shade and winter warmth.  These windows facilitate stunning views and also provide for cross-ventilation.

Leicester House Cross Ventilation

About the Windows

The window package from Marvin works overtime to minimize unwanted heat gain from the west.  Gartner said the UV rating is really high, and, specifically, the windows have low-E2 glass filled with argon.

Marvin’s team was able to sync with the design team to deliver a mostly continuous view using steel bars engineered for structural support, connections, and an arrangement of the Ultimate Swinging French Door, Ultimate Casement Window, and Ultimate Awning Window.  And Gartner was honored as one of Marvin’s 2012 Architect’s Challenge winners.

If you’ve ever thought about having stunning views like this from your home, find a Marvin dealer near you to bring your vision to life.

Leicester House Marvin Windows - architecture

Courtesy: SPG Architects; credits: Daniel Levin Photography.

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Shipping Container Home for Orphans Inspires Environmental Awareness

Container Home Build 6

Located on a 26,000 square meter agricultural smallholding in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, the New Jerusalem Children’s Home aims “to become one of the best children’s homes in Africa in the provision of holistic and integrated quality care to orphaned, abandoned, abused, traumatised, vulnerable and HIV positive children.” Founded in 2000 by two sisters, Anna and Phina Mojapelo, the current facilities include nurseries, dormitories, a communal kitchen and dining area, a crèche, a Montessori preschool, play area, and a permaculture vegetable garden.

Container Home Build 9

Container Home Build 4

4D and A Architects worked with New Jerusalem to develop new housing and facilities and settled on the use of recycled shipping containers instead of the traditional brick and mortar option. In a heart-touching news story about the Home, broadcast by local news station, SABC, a reporter and cameramen visited after the first phase of the shipping container home project was completed.

The resulting structure is environmentally-friendly, after the architect, Sean Wall, and his team solved problems of waterproofing, the installation of a functional sanitation system, and providing for adequate insulation, while achieving a colorful, livable aesthetic and “environmentally pleasant” solution. The project was entirely funded by donations and houses thirty of the eighty children in the Home.

Container Home Build 2

The children who live here are mostly discarded at birth, and there was some resistance to the shipping container idea, as Anna and Phina were uncomfortable about putting abused and orphaned children in containers. However, the new structure has inspired the children into participating in keeping the area clean and recycling, even going so far as to call it a “five-star hotel.”

Adrienne Feldner, of organizational sponsor, Orange Babies, says, “I think it’s awful for the children to always be the recipients, to always be on the receiving end of charity and never to be in a position to give.” She says that the children’s involvement in the environmental concerns of the Home has “given them a sense of dignity.”

All developments of New Jerusalem are centered on the education of the children, as well as the protection of their environment.

If you are inspired to help the New Jerusalem Home to continue in their efforts, their website’s Get Involved page calls for volunteers, a wish list of needed items, and methods for donations. Orange Babies, a non-profit that sponsors New Jerusalem with food, medication, and baby things, accepts donations and sponsorships. The BackaBuddy website has a “donate now” button to facilitate online donations to specific causes, including the New Jerusalem Children’s Home.

Container Home 9

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Zero-VOC Paint Colorant by Sherwin Williams

This year Sherwin Williams introduced ColorCast EcoToner, which is a new tinting system that won’t add VOCs to paints.  The new colorants “maintain the paint’s full body after tinting, delivering thick, rich coats for maximum performance,” according to a company press release.  The ColorCast EcoToner system is available for any hue in the Sherwin Williams color palette (as well as custom color matches, too).  ColorCast EcoToner colorants are now used for Emerald paints and all other Sherwin Williams latex and water-based coatings as of July 1, 2012.  Perhaps you’ve already used paints with this system — thoughts?

[+] More about the ColorCast EcoToner tint system by Sherwin Williams.

Credits: Sherwin Williams; noticed at Residential Architect.

Original post: Zero-VOC Paint Colorant by Sherwin Williams

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Castaway House is a Cool Green Renovation

This is the Castaway House, a renovation in Phoenix, Arizona that’s also the first project to be certified under the Phoenix Green Construction Code. The team* behind this Gold-certified project transformed an existing 1,000 square-foot, abandoned house originally built in 1951 into a cutting-edge, energy-efficient abode with 1,970 square feet, four bedrooms, and two bathrooms. Here’s a little more background.

The name Castaway is a reference to the famous movie with Tom Hanks and the quote: “Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” The movie and quote reference the abandoned five-year history of this property, the relentless sun that bakes Arizona, and a goal of the project team to bring sustainable housing to the urban core of Greater Phoenix.

Thus, other than reusing an existing site, the twin aims of this renovation were to conserve water and save energy by employing a multitude of strategies on a budget of $95 per square foot.

To conserve water, Castaway House has two 550-gallon tanks for rainwater collection, a low-volume irrigation system with evapotranspiration control, an Energy Star water heater, and WaterSense finishes including a 1.5 gpm Kohler faucets, 1.5 gpm Delta tub and shower faucets, 1.28 gpf AquaSource toilets, and a Delta kitchen faucet.

To save energy, the team focused on the design, envelope, and lighting. Castaway House has Solatubes in the bathrooms and master closet, Energy Star ceiling fans in the living room and bedrooms, a 15-SEER high-efficiency Carrier unit, and exposed spiral ducts inside the main living space (with insulated ducts in the addition).

The renovation received a significant upgrade in the form of vented wall and roof designs and extended overhangs. East and west windows were filled with Owens Corning Insulpink, while the addition was built with 2

San Francisco Green Architect Gives Tips on Increasing Sustainability through Design

San Francisco, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) April 19, 2011

As the cost of a major remodel or completely new house is cost-prohibitive for most people, San Francisco green architect Matt Hollis describes simple measures to optimize an existing building or apartment. Through basic modifications to a building’s infrastructure, owners can lead occupants to be frugal with their energy and water consumption. An upgrade strategy may range from individual components to renovating an entire structure. Benefits will be quantified by lower utility bills, enhanced user comfort, and the satisfaction of helping to save the planet.

“When improving the heating infrastructure of any dwelling,” Hollis explains, “the first question to answer is whether to modify and adapt individual components or to make a more substantial investment and embark on an extensive renovation.” Qualifiers include budget, schedule, and whether or not the residence is occupied during construction.

“I always tell clients that the most influential move that they can make is to adopt a sustainable lifestyle through fundamental adjustments in water and energy use,” Hollis continues. “When renovating bathrooms and kitchens, owners should dispense with nostalgia for antique plumbing fixtures and purchase new models.” Low-flow toilets, shower and hand faucets minimize water usage. In some cases, on-demand water heaters help conserve by shortening the wait time for hot water and eliminating the need for constantly heating a water tank. If purchasing new fixtures is cost-prohibitive, regular maintenance will at least detect and correct the presence of continuous drips and leaks.

When shopping for new appliances, homeowners should always look for the Energy Star seal. A program run jointly by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, Energy Star encourages appliance manufacturers to design new high quality energy efficient products. In addition to substantial savings on utility bills, consumers enjoy tax credits by upgrading water heaters, furnaces, washers, dryers, and all kitchen appliances.

A building walk-through with a qualified architect or mechanical engineer will generate a discussion on ways to optimize the heating and ventilation of an existing building. A comprehensive strategy will include replacing old windows with low-E dual-pane, installing R19 wall insulation and R30 roof insulation, and upgrading old forced-air furnaces with more efficient modern units as part of a new multi-zone control system. Less expensive and more readily applicable measures include weather stripping doors, caulking loose window frames, and providing fabric curtains as interior window coverings. “Reduction of unwanted airflow is key,” Hollis maintains.

The California Building Code already requires new construction to include at least half of the wattage for new kitchen lighting to be generated by high-efficiency or fluorescent lighting. Use of dimmers, task lighting (as opposed to ambient), and LED fixtures can further enhance efficiency in residential lighting.

Aside from energy and water conservation, choice of new building materials contributes to the relative sustainability of a renovation. Whenever possible, a contractor is well advised to purchase materials and products that can be sourced locally. In addition to shorter lead times and lessened shipping costs, the associated carbon footprint is reduced.

Recycled and reused products divert previously discarded material from the waste stream. Floor tiles crafted with bald automobile tires and countertops formed from crushed glass reveal inspirational stories of rebirth. Clever appropriation of old doors, flooring, and cabinetry similarly divert waste from landfill.

When buying new materials, discerning purchases often require research and comparison. FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification provides assurances that a wood product was grown and harvested in a sustainable manner. Low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and construction adhesives suggest that inevitable off-gassing will not be harmful to occupants or the atmosphere. Green-Label Plus carpets are sourced in a sustainable manner and similarly low in VOCs.

“I’m heartened to hear my clients consistently request ideas on how to lower their utility bills and make their planned remodel more green,” beams Hollis.

For more information about MH Architects San Francisco and their design services, call the office at (415) 659-8307, view the MH Architects portfolio on the web at http://www.matthollis.com, or visit the MH Architects Facebook page.

About MH Architects

As a multifaceted architecture firm, MH Architects San Francisco brings 21st century sustainability and design to a range of projects including residential homes and apartments, wineries in Napa and Sonoma Counties, hotels, offices and institutional projects. In addition to their projects in California, MH Architects has provided architectural services in Japan, China, and Hawaii.

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JRS Architect, P.C.’s Unique Design Creates Brand Image for Madison National Bank

Mineola, NY (PRWEB) April 9, 2007

A unique architectural design serves as a cornerstone to the brand image of the new Madison National Bank.

The new bank building is the creation of JRS Architect. P.C., one of the nation’s leading bank architectural and design firms. The design was based upon Madison National Bank’s vision to have their bank reflect a warm and inviting environment.

The almost 3,700-square foot branch with its towering brick chimney, high sloping roof and turreted vestibule stands out from current landscape of businesses along Merrick Road, the busy main street of this Long Island South Shore community.

Conceived to be distinctively unique, the new Madison National branch is based on American revival architecture of the mid to late 19th Century, a style called Richardson Romanesque and named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson, whose masterpiece is Trinity Church in Boston.

Richardson’s style is characterized by massive stone walls and dramatic semicircular arches over windows and entranceways, rounded towers with conical roofs whose counterpoint resides in the dynamism of interior space.

“The bank’s founders wanted something that was different, eye catching and reminiscent of old world design, coupled with the benefits of the latest building technology and products”, said the architect, John R. Sorrenti, F.A.I.A., President of JRS.

“JRS did an exquisite job in executing the concept that we envisioned,” said Daniel L. Murphy, Founder, Director, Chairman and CEO of Madison National Bank, a highly recognized and respected executive in the banking industry.

The interior is equally as unique as the exterior. “We designed it so that upon entering, the customer is engulfed in an open, inviting and warm space. This pleasing atmosphere has been achieved by use of a burning fireplace, a magnificent cathedral ceiling supported by Queen Ann trusses, wrought iron bronze chandeliers and red and gold floral carpeting and upholstered chairs. Silk-screened floral prints on gold mesh decorate the interior walls” said JRS interior designer, Marie McDonald.

“It’s relaxed and inviting. It’s very rich and textured,” said Mr. Sorrenti. “We made it comfortable and warm.”

Michael Puorro, also a Founder, Director and President of Madison National Bank, said, “We have achieved our initial goal of combining brand, image and state of the art financial processing systems to service the entire gamut of retail and lending customers.”

Though its look is reminiscent of another time, the bank was constructed using modern materials and techniques. “With demanding schedules and today’s construction budgets and new materials, many of the details and time consuming methods used to create this style during it’s time had to be made more simple and efficient,” said Ray Maggiore, Design Manager at JRS.

The JRS design utilizes rubber tiles to simulate slate roofing and exterior insulating finishing systems were used to simulate a heavy stone base, limestone face block construction and trims. The chimney, however, was constructed in real face brick and was designed both to fit to the building’s scale and to provide identification for the new start up bank.

Whimsical walkways and street lights that recall the gaslight era embellish the bank’s landscaping.

Bonnie Seider, Madison’s Director of Capital Markets, who also directs the bank’s marketing programs, said that she has received much unsolicited feedback from community residents and business people about the design and its positive impact on the local landscape. Ms. Seider also remarked that the genesis of the Madison brand coupled with ready recognition was imperative prior to the bank’s opening. Ms. Seider said that a second branch already is under construction on Route 110 in Melville and that an aggressive branch construction plan has been established.

Over the course of more than 20 years, JRS has designed about 3,000 projects, including banks throughout Long Island, New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut as well as in Florida. JRS’ roster of bank industry clients is a veritable Who’s Who of Banking and includes Bethpage Federal Credit Union, Citicorp, Hudson City Savings Bank, JP Morgan Chase, New York Community Bank, North Fork Bank, Peapack-Gladstone Bank and Wachovia Bank NA.

JRS Architect, P.C., with offices in Mineola, NY, New York City, and Princeton, NJ, has grown from six people since its establishment in 1986 to more than 60 today serving New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It has developed design expertise in the corporate, financial, healthcare, educational, hospitality and retail markets. The firm has ranked within Interior Design Magazine’s list of 100 Giants in the nation for the last three years. For more information about JRS Architect, P.C. call (516) 294-1666 or visit http://www.jrsarchitect.com.

New York Construction Magazine Honors JRS Architect, P.C. Bank Project

Mineola, NY (PRWEB) December 13, 2007

JRS Architect, P.C. has been honored by McGraw-Hill’s New York Construction magazine for its unique architectural design for Madison National Bank’s branch in Merrick, NY.

The architectural firm, which has offices in Long Island, New York City and New Jersey, received the Award of Merit in the retail category in the publication’s Best Of 2007 winners, which was voted on by a jury of industry leaders. The award was presented today.

“It’s always gratifying to receive recognition for our work and we are especially proud of our work for Madison National Bank,” said John R. Sorrenti, F.A.I.A., President of JRS. “Awards, such as this New York Construction’s Award of Merit, inspire us to accomplish even greater things in the future.”

JRS, one of the nation’s leading bank architectural and design firms, created a unique design that serves as a cornerstone to the brand image of Madison National Bank, which was opened its doors earlier this year. The design was based upon Madison National Bank’s vision to have their bank reflect a warm and inviting environment.

“The bank’s founders wanted something that was different, eye catching and reminiscent of old world design, coupled with the benefits of the latest building technology and products,” said Sorrenti.

The firm designed an almost 3,700-square foot branch with a towering brick chimney, high sloping roof and turreted vestibule that allows it to stand out on Merrick’s busy streetscape.

JRS’ design for the bank was based on American revival architecture of the mid to late 19th Century, a style called Richardson Romanesque and named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson, whose masterpiece is Trinity Church in Boston. Richardson’s style is characterized by massive stone walls and dramatic semicircular arches over windows and entranceways, rounded towers with conical roofs whose counterpoint resides in the dynamism of interior space. To create an open, inviting and warm interior, JRS used a cathedral ceiling supported by Queen Ann trusses, a burning fireplace, wrought iron bronze chandeliers and red and gold floral carpeting and upholstered chairs.

About JRS Architect, P.C.:

JRS Architect, P.C., with offices in Mineola, NY, New York City, and Princeton, NJ, has grown from six people since its establishment in 1986 to more than 50 today serving New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It has developed design expertise in the corporate, financial, healthcare, educational and institutional, hospitality and public-spaces, and retail markets. For the past four years, the firm has ranked within Interior Design Magazine’s list of 100 Interior Design Giants and the last three years has ranked within the top 40 Healthcare Design Giants. For more information about JRS Architect, P.C., call (516) 294-1666 or visit http://www.jrsarchitect.com.

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