Sustainable Renovation / Entire Residence

Deep in the Rocky Mountains is a home that embraced a major renovation delivering sustainable solutions and client’s expectations. To achieve the contemporary, environmentally conscious home that the clients would be able to enjoy until well after retirement, a major gut rehab was the only option. The existing structure was deconstructed, dismantling the home piece by piece. Everything from fixtures and windows, to beams and trusses were carefully removed so they could be repurposed in new homes and remodels. The foundation and some structural walls along the mountainside were kept and incorporated into the new structure.

The floorplan was designed with the relationship to the sun’s rotation in mind. The pattern of sunlight day to day and year-round directly affected placement of walls and windows and allowed for maximum benefits of passive heating and cooling techniques. By focusing on this natural resource, the house is able to obtain daylight and warmth during dark, cold times of the year and reject excess warmth during warmer months.

ENERGY STAR rated appliances and lighting provide the highest standard in energy efficiency and were selected to be used throughout the home. When daylighting was not an option, dimmers and daylighting sensors ensure that energy is not being wasted. Water efficiency was realized with WaterSense high-efficiency, low-flow toilets plus low-flow faucets in kitchen and bathrooms.

Zero-VOC paints and finishes were used throughout the entire house improving indoor air quality and health of the residents. Formaldehyde-free cabinetry with water- based finishes were a very important aspect of maintaining the indoor air quality standard in the kitchen and bathrooms. In some cases, formaldehyde or VOC-free choices were not an option. In these cases, a sealant was used to prevent off-gassing.

Through the process of deconstruction used to dismantle the existing structure, the threat of mold and other issues that might affect Indoor Environmental Air Quality were eliminated.

The walls throughout the main level are earthen-based plaster which works well with paper-lined gypsum board. The wall color is set on-site, eliminating the need for paint and off-gassing. Flooring throughout the home consists of regionally sourced natural stone, hardwood, and cork ensuring durability, healthy IAQ, and a long-life cycle. Much of the wood for the floors and ceilings was reclaimed and most all wood was FSC certified. Cork is a renewable resource that was sustainably harvested from the bark of the Mediterranean oak tree and is FSC certified.

The use of regional materials for all cabinetry, upholstery, and counters eliminate extra cost and energy consumption through shipping. Natural materials are healthier for the occupants and the planet. Walls within the bathrooms are adorned with mosaics of recycled glass tile. Many of these tiles are constructed from 100% post-consumer recycled glass and will last the life of the home. Recycled ceramic tile in the bathrooms are durable, easy to clean with inherently IAQ qualities. In today’s market, these companies have achieved the Green Squared Certification.

All finishes were chosen with durability and resistance to fading in mind. Since the owners wanted large open windows with no coverings and the home was based on the sun model, natural fibers were the best choice to meet these standards and can be found in all furniture upholstery. The carpets and rugs were made of 100% wool, a natural renewable resource, and CRI Green Label Plus Certified.

Project supervised and led by Annette K Stelmack while Design Director/Sr. Project Designer with Associates III