Archive for the 'Green Buildings' Category

Jen’s Community at Wildcliff

Our latest project… a new LEED certified restoration of an 1850’s Alexander Jackson Davis Gothic Revival manor house overlooking Long Island Sound. It’s the future home to Jen’s Community at Wildcliff; a new sustainable, nature-based nursery school.

Check out our facebook for more images; vintage photos and current conditions.

Stay tuned for updates and progress.

Residential CHP Fuel Cell

Is this the future of residential power?

From ClearEdgePower.com:

ClearEdge Power offers a solution for high utility bills. Begin saving money and energy with a single, compact home fuel cell system. You can depend on the ClearEdge5 for electricity, heat and clear environmental benefits. Cost efficient and reliable, our unit is eligible for utility rebates and government incentives. In addition, the unit is not affected by seasonality and provides power year round, making it a better, more reliable choice than other energy alternatives.

Learn more.

Read more about residential CHP fuel cells here.

Green Project Signs

If you’re a local, you may have seen a Fivecat Studio project sign highlighting one of our many projects throughout Westchester County.

What you may not know, is that all of our project signs are constructed using recycled and salvaged materials.

The signs are printed on recycled corrugated polyethylene and the white frames are fabricated using salvaged douglas fir lumber rescued from our project dumpsters.

So, next time you see one of our blue and white signs, keep in mind that they’re also very green.

FLOAT House by Morphosis

Problem: Provide housing in flood prone regions.

Solution: Homes that float, when necessary.

From Morphopedia:

The FLOAT House optimizes the efficiency of mass-production, while respecting New Orleans’s unique culture and context. The Ninth Ward’s colorful vernacular houses, which local residents have traditionally modified and personalized over time, reflect the community’s vibrant culture. The FLOAT House grows out of the indigenous typology of the shotgun house, predominant throughout New Orleans and the Lower Ninth Ward. Like a typical shotgun house, the FLOAT House sits atop a raised base. This innovative base, or “chassis,” integrates all mechanical, electrical, plumbing and sustainable systems, and securely floats in case of flooding. Inspired by GM’s skateboard chassis, which is engineered to support several car body types, the FLOAT House’s chassis is designed to support a variety of customizable house configurations.

Read more.

Progress at Hays Hill

hays hill 022609

I posted some new photos from our Hays Hill project over at Westchester Green.

5.4.7 Arts Center

Architectural Record has posted a very interesting video about the new 5.4.7 Arts Center constructed in Greensburg, KS.

Read more about Greensburg’s plans for being the nation’s first green city over at Westchester Green.

Centerbrook Architects

Ever since my days in architecture school (its been a few years now), Centerbrook has always been one of my favorite firms. They design few homes these days, but I still love what they do. Their whimsical design style and attention to detail is always inspiring.

And they were green, way before it was cool to be green.

Centerbrook uses its own office as a laboratory for sustainable design. Hydro power and solar power generate approximately 30% of its annual electrical needs, a green roof covers a portion of its office, and the building itself was recycled from a nineteenth-century mill building.

Favorite Firm: Centerbrook Architects

It’s Official… I’m a LEED AP

After an immersive two-day training workshop and weeks of intensive studying (which explains the lack of posts), this past Monday I passed the official USGBC exam to become a LEED Accredited Professional. I’ve learned more in the last two weeks than I have in the past two years.

Although, the LEED Green Buildings Rating Systems are an energy and environmentally based program, I feel that, having gone through the training and accreditation process, LEED simply helps one be a better architect. From site selection through indoor air quality, LEED addresses each critical element of a well-designed building.

Be sure to visit Westchester Green early and often. I will be posting much more about the LEED process and how you can benefit from participating in the LEED for Homes program.

Cement vs. Cedar – Hardie Wins

I received this comment on James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding from Tom yesterday;

Been reading your blog. I really like it. I know you live in Chappaqua and you are a fan of fiber cement. I would like to hear your opinion about replacing wood clapboard siding with Hardie or building with Hardie in more affluent areas in Westchester, i.e. Chappaqua, Scarsdale etc, where there have been certain ’standards’ in place for years. Is there pushback?

Thanks for the comment Tom.

We have specified Hardie fiber cement siding products on several homes throughout Westchester County and have several more projects on the boards slated for Hardie siding.

For about a year it has been our standard spec for clapboard siding. The cost is comparable to cedar and it comes with a 50 year warranty (cedar doesn’t). It’s available with ColorPlus pre-finished coating in many popular colors. The ColorPlus coating has a 15 year warranty, so essentially its a low maintenance material as well.

The true test with any material is how it looks when its installed, and that is where this product really shines. When specified in the smooth texture (I’m not so keen on fake wood textures), it is virtually impossible to tell it apart from the more “traditional” cedar siding… even close up.  The only way to determine that it is not wood, is to give it a knock with your knuckles.

And to top off all the benefits of Hardie siding… it’s green too.

So, with all that going for it, it’s a “no-brainer” for our standard clapboard spec.

The Hardie shingle siding is a bit different. Although I still like it and specify it, my opinion is that the perfect consistency of the shingle spacing gives it away as a fake (if you know what cedar is suppose to look like). Most people are still fooled and all the other benefits listed above keep it on our materials list.

As for acceptance in the affluent towns of Westchester… we have had zero push back.  If they cannot see the difference, how can they complain?

Keep an eye out for Hardie’s newest siding product, Artisan architectural grade siding (pictured above). It is currently available in the Atlanta metro region only, but I’m sure it’s heading our way soon. It has all the benefits of their standard siding with a heavier profile and crisper edges. It looks fabulous!

Westchester Green

Since December 2006, I have been posting here at Living Well in Westchester and its been a great success. Dedicated to residential architecture and design, Living Well is a great place for me to share thoughts and information on general topics that interest me most.
This past year, I’ve received many requests for information on green architecture and design. So here you go, Westchester Green is dedicated to just that.
If you have information that you would like to share, please send me an email at blog@fivecat.com.

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Living Well in Westchester is a trademark owned by Mark R. LePage, AIA, LEED AP | © 2006 - 2013 Mark R. LePage, AIA, LEED AP | All Rights Reserved.

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