“Clean Green Dream Home” considered for Build It Green! Home Tour

Hammer & Hand’s Dan Palmer and Imagine Energy’s Randy Hart joined client in showing off her retrofitted 1890 home to Build It Green! organizer Valerie Garrett.

(Editor’s Note: this project was selected by the City of Portland for inclusion on the Build It Green! Home Tour 2011.)

Build It Green! season has begun.  Every year at this time, the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability begins vetting submissions to its Build It Green! Home Tour, to evaluate which homes will be among the 20 that will be included in the citywide tour in September (Saturday, September 24 this year).

Last year, Hammer & Hand showed two homes on the tour, allowing us to share our Musician’s Dwelling and Twin Studios projects with hundreds of green building aficionados.  For 2011, we have a new crop of cool green projects to share, and Tuesday we showed one of those off to Valerie Garrett, the brains behind the City’s Regional Green Building Hotline and the organizer of Build It Green!

This is a special home.  Owned by Carey Booth, a Biology Professor at Reed College, the house became not only a personal mission in sustainability, but also a green-building/deep-energy-retrofit educational showcase, complete with accompanying website and front yard interpretive kiosk (built by our own Dan Palmer).

Photos from the home’s website showing front and back of home. 100% electric ZAP Xebra car is parked out front.

Carey brought in Hammer & Hand, Imagine Energy, Purple Water and others to make her “Clean Green Dream Home” a reality.  She installed photovoltaic panels at the front of the house for electricity production, and solar thermal at the rear for a new solar water heater.  Air sealing and insulation work helped minimize thermal energy loss in the 120-year-old structure, and efficient appliances like her new air-to-air heat pump further reduced the home’s draw on the grid.  These and other improvements resulted in a nearly 50% reduction in energy use.

Carey also installed a rainwater harvesting system, with two 550-gallon cisterns for ample storage throughout the dry months.  Her verdant garden attests to the system’s efficacy.

This home, and Carey’s work on it, represents an important case study.  After all, Portland is blessed with lots of beautiful, old housing stock – a rich and valuable built heritage.  But these houses were built when energy was cheap and builders didn’t worry about energy efficiency or building energy performance.  Carey’s multi-faceted retrofit of her cozy house provides one road map for how we might move our older housing stock from an energy-wasting present to an energy-saving future.  Our fingers are crossed that the Build It Green! organizers will include the home on the tour in September and share this valuable narrative with hundreds of receptive Portlanders.

Please scroll down for a few iPhone snapshots from our Tuesday visit.  And check out Carey’s website on the house for more detail and photos.

– Zack

Dan Palmer, Valerie Garrett, and Carey Booth discuss the home’s sustainable features.

Transom windows help daylight interior spaces in the home.

A closet houses the air-to-air heat pump as well as mechanicals for the home’s solar hot water.

Carey discusses the rainwater harvesting system with Valerie.

A productive garden patch fills out the southern end of Carey’s lot.

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