Green Home of the year Awards

Green Remodeling Project Award

Earth and Straw

About this home
We bought a downtown Albuquerque live-work gem with hardwood floors and abundant natural daylight—as well as roof leaks, unheated bedrooms, inoperable windows, drywall texture sprayed on all walls and trim, no insulation or functional water heater, and dirt for landscaping. We restored this bungalow using many recycled materials. In doing so, we significantly increased its energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, and improved the home’s livability and year-round comfort.

Over the course of the remodel, we installed an instantaneous hot water heater and the 1920s brick house and the front porch received a white reflective Pro-Ply Roof over five inches of Poly-Iso insulation. The tedious work of removing and reinstalling the ¾-inch beadboard on the unheated 1950s rear porch addition allowed us to blow Icynene insulation in the walls, ceiling, and under the floor. We increased the heated square footage without altering the façade or increasing the footprint by running new ductwork for the 90 percent efficient furnace and 13 SEER refrigerated air conditioner.

An innovative storm and screen design restored bungalow character and function to the front porch. No stainless-steel appliances or granite: this kitchen has maple Shaker-style cabinets, natural linoleum countertops, and efficient appliances. Vibrantly colored walls and original hardware enhance the trim, built-in bookcases, and buffet. A recycled old trap door, kitchen cabinet shelves, and ceiling beadboard became built-in shelves at the rear entry. Not only did we inspire our neighbors to enhance their homes in the historic district, but we also provided a model to reduce one’s carbon footprint.

Our insulation and conservation strategies and new efficient equipment significantly decreased heating and cooling loads and increased water efficiency. Creative recycling, use of green products, and problem solving enabled us to restore the unique architectural details of this bungalow.

Lot Design, Preparation, Development, and Environmental Responsibility
This home’s downtown location helps its occupants reduce their carbon footprint by walking to work, restaurants, museums, parks, and city services. Trees provide shade and moderate temperatures. Zoning allows live/work, and permeable surfaces manage on-site stormwater: pecan shell mulch, off-street parking crusher fines, bark chips, and the brick patio.

Use of Materials and Resource Efficiency
Salvaged ¾-inch beadboard restored the original back porch. Dumpster-diving, neighbor “dump piles,” and Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore provided window sashes and hardware, antique replacement glass, door trim, and T&G fir porch flooring. We also increased the home’s heated square footage without increasing the house’s footprint. New Pat’s Doors matched the home’s existing wood doors.

Energy Efficiency
We installed a 90 percent efficient furnace; 13 SEER refrigerated air; Rinnai On-Demand hot water heater; and Energy Star refrigerator, dishwasher, and fans. The remodel incorporated a white reflective Pro-Ply Roof and five inches of Poly-Iso insulation as well as Icynene spray foam insulation in the rear porch ceiling, walls, and under the floor.

Water Efficiency
A gray water diverter valve at the washing machine is used for watering drought-tolerant trees and grass. Six-inch galvanized gutters with rain barrels collect water for pecan shell–mulched xeriscaped plants. The home has a water-efficient shower head, sink/faucet aerator, ultra-low-flow toilet, and a centrally located instantaneous hot water heater.

Indoor Environmental Quality
The home uses low-VOC paint, sealers, and adhesives and “Marmoleum” countertops. The direct-vent mechanical equipment is located in the basement. HVAC vents were masked during construction, and we replaced sash cords so windows are operable for natural ventilation. The permeable landscape keeps dirt down and improves air quality. We also protected construction materials from rain.

Operation, Maintenance, and Homeowner Education
The remodel’s “homeowner manual” includes: warranty, operation, and maintenance instructions for all materials and equipment; a list of all subcontractors and suppliers; paint, grout, and stucco colors and brands; and a professional home inspection report. All systems are labeled, and we conducted an on-site homeowner review of heating, cooling, and gray water systems.

Environmental Impact
A white reflective roof, operable windows, and shade trees reduce summer cooling loads. Insulation and energy-efficient appliances minimize fossil fuel use. The Historic District and GreenBuilt Tours provided a model for other neighbors to enhance their home’s architectural character while using green products, increasing energy efficiency, and conserving water.