4 Green Dream Home Renovations

From on August 21, 2009 in Green Remodeling

little-green-home.jpgSo, what’s so great about green? Green building is a philosophy that encourages homeowners and contractors to consider the impact their structure will have on the environment and human health. At the forefront of green home construction and renovation are energy & water efficiency and reduction of waste, pollution and environmental degradation. Our environment and health are all we have. The homes below have taken a big step toward making this philosophy a reality. And I think we can all agree, we “greenly” benefit.

“This Old House” Green Renovation in Austin, Texas

this-old-house-green-home1.jpgWhat they achieved:

  • Recycled demolition waste and unused building materials
  • Sustainable yard makeover with native plants, rainwater collection system that feeds irrigation, and the proper hardscaping materials
  • Energy efficient lighting
  • Metal roof made from recycled materials with a full solar array on the back (provides 40% of the house’s energy)
  • Painting with low-VOC coatings and refinishing for floors
  • New cook space: locally crafted cabinets made from sustainable woods, Energy Star appliances and terrazzo countertops cast from concrete and recycled glass
  • Bathroom: counters and tiles made from recycled materials and low-flow showerhead and toilet
  • Presented with prestigious five-star rating from the City’s Green Building Program

The Greenest Little House in America,

1915 Craftsman-style Bungalow in Oakland, California

green-bungalow-oakland.jpgLiving Room (Marvin Windows, Mythic Paint)

U.S. Green Building Council founder David Gottfried and Harvard-grad wife Sara went to work with contractors to make their green goals a reality. They transformed an old 1915 Oakland, CA craftsman house into a sustainable green dream home complete with graywater system and mud room!
Project Green Goals:

  • Zero energy; Generate all electricity on site
  • Make the home 70% more energy efficient
  • Cut water usage in half
  • Eliminate construction waste
  • Cut transportation in half
  • Achieve green ratings
  • Showcase the home to educate the public about building green


  • Added cellulose wall insulation
  • Low-E windows
  • Locally built green cabinets
  • Water-efficient toilets and fixtures
  • Solar hot water heater
  • Photovoltaics
  • Graywater system
  • Pavers in the front to reduce runoff
  • Rainwater collection system that feeds the toilets for flushing
  • Built a new, self-sustaining office in the backyard

The couple who did the work is as impressive as the home

Levine Modern Green Home Renovation


Mr. Jeremy Levine gutted this “old stucco box” of a house, flooded it with natural light and gave it a new color, GREEN! He went as far as saving the trees on the property and enclosing them within the house.

Green features:

  • Natural light, lots of windows
  • Beautiful recycled redwood sliding sun screens
  • Passive thermal rock wall
  • Solar PV system
  • Rainwater collection system
  • Graywater recycling
  • Concrete counters made with 50% fly ash
  • Recycled wood ceiling

Platinum Style Green Home Renovation in Southwest Portland, Oregon


One of the “greenest” decisions was to keep this house its original size (2,500 square feet) rather than build it into a monstrosity. And next, to bring in a green hammer to do the job! Green Hammer Construction, responsible for the renovation, has been featured in The New York Times, the Sierra Club and more.
What they did:

  • Tight envelope with spray foam insulation
  • Replaced windows with fiberglass windows
  • Installed an indoor air exchange system (due to tight envelope)
  • Set up a closed-loop, ground-source heat pump
  • Installed a 3-kW grid-tied solar photovoltaic system
  • Used leftover porcelain, reclaimed wood, and scraps for mantle
  • Used FSC woods (even in the kitchen)
  • Installed Energy Star appliances
  • Set up water-efficient landscaping and a rain garden
  • 99% of construction waste was recycled