New Orleans, May 12 – When you meet Anna Porter, owner and developer of a Warm Beach, Wash., custom home dubbed “Going Green at the Beach,” she doesn’t strike you as the type who would allow just anyone into her home.
But that’s just what she, along with husband Dave and Skipper the dog, did, admitting anyone and everyone into their home via the Web site GoingGreenattheBeach.com.
Turning the project into a virtual demonstration home (in addition to providing in-person site tours) allowed anyone interested in sustainability to witness, in real-time, the Porters’ real-life quest to transform their 100-year-old beachfront home into a highly energy-efficient, environmentally friendly dwelling.
Anna Porter, who operates Porterworks, a Web site dedicated to providing support on sustainability issues, said the experience was a success, and she and her husband learned a lot about green from “putting ourselves out there.” For example, one initial challenge the setup created was a stream of skeptics who peppered the couple with questions about the sustainable elements of the home; those questions, however, helped the Porters learn and create a dwelling that would better meet their goals.
The Going Green at the Beach home, which was built by Chaffey Homes and designed by GMS Architectural Group, offers a laundry list of features that boost energy efficiency; promote water conservation; utilize reusable resources,durablematerials, and natural landscaping; provide for healthy indoor air; and make efficient use of space (click here to see a full list of the home’s green elements). Of all the green elements the home has to offer, Porter said she is most proud of its natural lighting and its low energy load, which is achieved through features such as a 1.2-kW photovoltaic system, a geothermal heat pump, a radiant floor heating system, spray-foam insulation and an air barrier, and Energy Star appliances, to name a few.
In the end, the project achieved certifications from the American Lung Association Healthy House; Seattle-area Built Green (Five Star rating); Energy Star; Environments for Living; LEED for Homes (Gold level); and the NAHB (Gold level).
The achievements culminated in the project being named Single-Family Custom Home of the Year during the Green Building Awards at the NAHB’s National Green Building Conference.
The public can continue to monitor the home’s energy use through the Web site, which Porter pledges will remain live and updated. After all, Going Green at the Beach has plenty of fans: As of January, more than 10,000 unique visitors had visited the Web site, joining more than 1,200 people who have toured the home in person.
Porter told EcoHome that one of the things that stood out during the building process was the number of people involved (a team of 19 vendors and consultants) and the education process required to master green building practices. “It is amazing to me that so much of green building is about awareness,” she explained.
For the foreseeable future, it looks like the Porters will be doing their part to pass on that hard-earned knowledge to the masses.
More coverage from the NAHB National Green Building Conference: