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You Can't Compete with the Environment

Written by JM Home


Posted on September 14 2020

Our Green Project Goals:

  • Respect the setting and blend in with the landscape
  • Reduce operational and utility costs
  • Exceed local guideline
  • Value and incorporate the ideas of the artisans who work on the home
  • Incorporate new innovations in green building techniques and materials
  • Follow as many LEED guidelines as possible


This is a lengthy post but I wanted to share all of our “green” elements in the house.

This architectural design takes advantage of the south facing lot and the knoll it sits on and we were able to apply passive solar heat via the south orientation. The kitchen faces east and south to capture morning sun, the great room & study face south. We did operable windows to allow cross ventilation.

The wide eaves provide sun protection during summer when the sun is high in the sky.

We wanted no imported soil, so all soil was exported to neighbors and other building sites less than 1 mile away. Also, most of the activity is on the main floor of the house. We did numerous heating zones to provide an isolated guest wing to allow far lower temperatures when not in use.


  • We used as many recycled materials as possible:  Eco shake shingles in the laundry, tile scraps on concrete countertops, log beams from beetle kill logs in the local county, log scraps used for firewood by supplier, garage workbench made from hickory floor scraps, door hardware, hardware in 2 bedrooms and laundry made of 75% recycled materials.
  • Concrete forms were made of steel, not wood. Reusable.
  • Non-toxic materials: garage floor finish is a green flooring system (most garage flooring products are VOC emitting epoxy).  The finish on floors is non-formaldehyde-based products.
  • Clay-based wall plaster in most of house: American Clay Natural Earth Plasters, natural clay, recycled aggregates, non-dusting, mold and fade resistant and moisture controlling.  It's an automatic humidification system for your entire house.
  • Materials from renewable sources:  Kitchen, Pantry and Master cabinets are FSC Forest Stewardship Council and SFI Sustainable Forestry Initiative rated. Both third party certifications.  The flagstone and slate tiles are renewable; the leftover stone from the Entry flagstone is used in the Guest Master Suite, Powder Room floor and base board.
  • Glass blocks, the Low E Block from Rio Grade in Denver, are new, 44% more energy-efficient than older styles.
  • Insulation, The blown in insulation was used in all roof framing and exterior walls achieving an R-52 in the roof and R-23 in the walls.  Roof framing is 14” deep TJI’s to archive this.
  • Timber strand for rim joints
  • CDX composite wall sheathing & roof sheathing.
  • Windows are double-pane, argon-filled, low-E glazing  Energy Star Rated
  • E-shades on south side to be put on electric timer to automatically close when sun reaches them.
  • All but one fireplace are closed to prevent heat escape.
  • Energy efficient hot tub.
  • Minimal snowmelt, Snowmelt only comes on when it senses moisture and lower temperatures.
  • There was very little lumber waste in framing because framing company put everything on CAD.  Framer drew entire house using Solid Builder program to determine the exact quantity of lumber needed.


  • Air con system is from Unico which is a high velocity system that installs within the existing framing and does not require the use of numerous/costly drops and chases which would have utilized more lumber.  Would not have installed one, except my client has allergy issues.  Installed only in main living & sleeping areas, smaller duct work/system, to be used minimally & only during allergy season.
  • The heating system is Triangle Tube super high efficient wall hung boilers.  Zoned for In-floor.  During our first weeks in the house in the dead of winter – kept turning down the settings to the 50’s because house was so warm from solar gain.
  • Lighting: Low-voltage lighting used whenever possible. Exterior Fixtures approved by the International Dark Sky Association (down-lights that don’t contribute to nighttime light pollution). We installed ceiling fans in all high ceilings to keep air circulating. Also, the plumbing has low water usage washer, faucets.


Interior Design

  • Interior lighting from Hammerton is made of 75% recycled materials. The dining room fixture is a custom design by JM Home by Jennifer Michele used of recycled steel and low voltage lighting.  Also, all carpets are wool or silk which are renewable materials.
  • Entry: Waterfall wall in front entry for humidification. Sconces are made of natural products – twigs, saplings – all in FSC certified forests.
  • Powder Room: Wallpaper applied with no VOC paste.
  • Kitchen: Concrete island counter top with integrated sink and island bar top is wedge tropical hardwood that is FSC certified. Energy Star Appliances and FSC and SFI certified woods in cabinetry.

Master Bath

  • Concrete countertops with integrated sinks and recycled glass randomly integrated
  • Fiber optic lighting in Zen pebbles on tub deck
  • Copper tub is from Diamond Spas. Base layer of tub is recycled.  Air jet system designed, provides cleaner system not allowing water to settle in pipes.

We were able to exceed county/state/federal standards. While we were into the county for the permit just prior to the ECO Build going into effect, I still filled out the paper work and we exceeded the required points for a home of this size by 20% (+/- 85 req. we had +/- 105).