White Plains' Gerry Angel has been out of her house of more than 30 years, at 64 Holbrooke Rd., since December. However, she says it will have been worth the wait when she moves back in at the end of July.
This is because the 1953 ranch-style home has been fully renovated to work with nature instead of against it.
“I can’t wait to live in it,” said an ecstatic Angel, a real estate broker with Keller Williams NY Realty. “You walk into that house and you just feel a difference in the insulation. It is so quiet there, and it just feels so healthy!”
The environmentally conscious home is the third in Westchester and first in White Plains to be Leader in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, a designation by the U.S. Green Building Council. Angel’s home is expected to receive a LEED for Homes Gold rating when it is completed.
An open house at 64 Holbrooke Rd. will be held on Saturday, July 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In addition to a tour, attendees can talk to the professionals behind the build—including Christina Griffin Architect, PC and Murphy Brothers Contracting—as well as eco-friendly vendors—like Green Star Energy Solutions, Total Green, Authentic Window Design, Briarcliff Manor's Sunrise Solar Solutions and Greener by Design—who can advise attendees how they can make eco-friendly adjustments to their homes that save energy and cut costs.
The City of White Plains is providing bus transportation between the White Plains LEED for Homes project and the Das Haus Tour, featuring the Das Haus Pavilion, a “passive house”, in the parking lot at 125 Court St. from July 10 to July 19.
The traveling exhibition is on its North American tour to share German ideas on sustainable construction (click on the PDF for more information in the brochure). The pavilion is made solely using sustainable features, including specialized insulation, heat recovery ventilations and cooling, triple-pane windows and solar technology.
Coincidentally, Christina Griffin of Christina Griffin Architect, PC based in Hasting-on-Hudson, is currently taking courses for a certification to be a passive house consultant.
“I wanted to learn that technology and it’s just been a total awakening for me,” said Griffin. “You actually use physics to decide how you handle insulation and air tightness and use it as a design tool, so you end up with a super energy efficient building, so that you don’t need energy to heat that building.”
Among 64 Holbrooke’s green features is its air tightness rating of 28, which means it is 72 percent more efficient than a conventional house, according to Griffin.
To achieve its Gold LEED certification, Angel’s home has been renovated to include:
- energy saving spray foam insulation
- geo-thermal heating and cooling; that heats the home and water, and supplies air conditioning
- heat recovery ventilation that maintains a healthy indoor air climate
- custom energy efficient windows
- solar panels, which covers all of the home’s electricity use
- LED and fluorescent lighting
- water saving fixtures
- sustainable landscaping, using drought resistant native plants that are irrigated by a rain harvesting collection system for water efficiency
- an open space layout that uses daylight to reduce need for electrical fixtures
- paint that is free of volitile organic compounds (VOCs)
- formaldehyde free cabinetry
Angel—who is a certified “eco-broker” that has credentials to educate clients on green technology incentives and real estate—said she is pleased with the attention her home has been getting, as she hoped the LEED certification would serve as an inspiration to other homeowners.
She even started a blog for her neighbors.
“[Her neighbors] are so excited about it and they want to know about it,” said Angel. “One of my neighbors put insulation in his home home, another was inquiring about the geothermal and the solar. So, it’s really interested how it’s [her home's eco-friendly features] encouraged others to adopt green technology.”
While Angel said that using sustainable construction could become expensive (the cost of her driveway rose from $3,000 to $10,000 with the use of eco-friendly materials), however there are federal and state tax credits that can make those costs more reasonable. Contractors who perform the work can also help homeowners identify and go through the tax credit process.
Angel will also save money through energy savings, as her energy costs for running the house will shrink from around $1,350 a month to $90 a month.
“I believe all of us have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint and create a sustainable environment,” said Angel. “We are just a very wasteful nation and I think it’s important we become aware of it, and do our part to reduce that kind of waste and do more to live energy efficiently.”
Michael Murphy—the director of new project development for Murphy Brothers Contracting, based in Mamaroneck—said another way to incorporate energy saving technology is considering energy efficient alternatives when making necessary upgrades to your home.
“If someone didn’t want to do a major renovation you could get an energy audit,” said Murphy. “Energy auditors can make recommendations on basic projects that could make your home more energy efficient than it is now.”
While green building is popular in Illinois, Maine, the South, and North West—Angel says that New York is slowly taking it on, but taking it on nonetheless. Griffin and Murphy says that more and more of their customers are asking for eco-friendly features.