Launch Slideshow

Green Building and Technology Tour

Five projects showcase sustainability.

Green Building and Technology Tour

Five projects showcase sustainability.

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    THE WOODS OF MONTICELLO
    The home, built with insulated concrete forms, was certified to the NGBS for about $1,100.

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    THE WOODS OF MONTICELLO
    The house features durable, low-maintenance CertainTeed fiber-cement siding and ultra-efficient SeriousWindows units with krypton gas.

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    THE WOODS OF MONTICELLO
    Glass patio doors help flood the open living space with light.

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    THE LITTLE HOUSE
    The Little House, built in 1920, is one of the region’s first LEED-Platinum renovations. It sits behind the 3,000-square-foot main house and is currently used as a short-term rental unit.

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    THE LITTLE HOUSE
    Built-ins such a breakfast nook (shown), a Murphy bed, shelves, and cabinets help ensure maximum use of the small floor plan.

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    THE LITTLE HOUSE
    The home’s 250-gallon “rain cubes” are made from discarded vegetable oil containers from snack manufacturer Frito-Lay. They hold roof runoff from downspouts, which is then used to irrigate the garden via soaker hoses.

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    THE LITTLE HOUSE
    Knotty pine cabinets are one of the reclaimed materials that grace the house, many from the local Habitat Home Store.

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    THE LITTLE HOUSE
    The side patio’s built-in benches allow for seated gardening for the owners, who grow some of their own food and raise chickens on the small property.

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    THE STRAW BALE HOUSE
    The home is the first in Tennessee to implement straw bale construction, which was used for the large addition.

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    THE STRAW BALE HOUSE
    The interior of the original home was gutted and turned into a large, open great room.

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    THE STRAW BALE HOUSE
    The galley kitchen features concrete countertops, Energy Star appliances, and a small child-accessible sink for hand washing.

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    THE STRAW BALE HOUSE
    The addition contains a master bedroom and a large, open children’s bedroom with modular, movable beds made by a local woodworker.

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    THE STRAW BALE HOUSE
    Rainwater is collected in a tank at the back of the house to be used for irrigation.

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    EDENBRIDGE
    The ultra-efficient home relies on ground source heating and cooling. Two 300-foot-long closed-loop geothermal lines run horizontally about 8 feet beneath the ground in the front yard.

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    EDENBRIDGE
    LED lighting and Energy Star appliances help keep energy use as low as possible in the kitchen.

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    THE VENUE AT COOL SPRINGS
    The apartment complex is the second multifamily project in the country to be designated an Audubon International Signature Sanctuary.

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    THE VENUE AT COOL SPRINGS
    The property includes three detention basins that collect and filter rainwater. Here, water from the lower basin is pumped to the upper area where it is filtered by native plants.

The 2012 National Green Building Conference got under way with a daylong Green Building and Technology Tour April 29 that showcased the best of Nashville-area high-performance home buliding. From a luxury custom home to a sustainable historical renovation and an affordable ICF project, the tour highlighted the area’s diverse green building options.

To learn more, see the descriptions below and click on the slide show at left for design and product highlights.

THE WOODS OF MONTICELLO
Sporting super-insulating ICF construction, high-performance products, and a light-filled open floor plan, this NGBS-Gold home nearing completion outside of Nashville is a far cry from typical local housing for low-income families, says builder Tim Hawbaker.

“It’s definitely not the usual small shotgun-style home—people love the layout,” says Hawbaker, president of Nashville-based A Better House.

The home is the first of four that his company is building in the Woods of Monticello, an affordable housing development project from Nashville’s Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency. Qualifying families of four must earn a combined income of no more than $52,950 to be eligible for the homes, which will sell for about $125,000.

Each of the 1,600-square-foot dwellings will also be affordable to operate, with average monthly utility bills of less than $50, Hawbaker says. To achieve this level of energy efficiency, the builder relied on spray foam insulation, Cree LED lighting, a GE GeoSpring hybrid water heater, and high-efficiency R-11 windows.

THE LITTLE HOUSE
This LEED-Platinum renovation, a former carriage house and servants’ quarters, is chock-full of innovative touches and high-performance features.

The home’s sustainable technologies include geothermal heating and cooling, a rainwater harvesting system, a dual-flush toilet, and low-flow fixtures, but the real value of the tiny space is in the efficient way it functions, says builder Ryan Nichols of Green Home. Almost every inch of the 750-square-foot floor plan does double duty, including hidden between-the-studs storage, a Murphy bed in the living room, and a breakfast nook with window seats that transforms into a sleeping area for up to four people.

While the dwelling currently functions as a short-term rental unit, it was designed to adapt to its owners’ future needs, Nichols says. The project, priced at about $200 a square foot, was guided according to a 50-year plan so that it can be functional for several generations without significant reconstruction. To that end, planners included a roll-in shower, blocking for grab bars in the bathroom, wheelchair-accessible sinks, and wide doorways.

The renovation produced very little trash—about one Dumpster full—and nearly 95% of the materials used to refurbish the home were reclaimed from other buildings and salvage yards. To maximize energy efficiency, the home is outfitted with radiant heat floors, soy-based spray foam insulation, and Marvin high-efficiency windows and doors.