When Bethesda Bungalows built what it calls the Incredibly Green Home, a LEED-Platinum and NGBS-Emerald infill house, in 2009, it didn’t just jump head first into sustainable construction, it set itself up as a go-to green builder in the upscale suburbs of Washington, D.C. The efficient building principles the company learned and embraced for the demonstration home, along with its signature “city prairie” style, have attracted a cadre of new clients—even in this battered economy--including the homeowners of its latest tear-down project.

The KellyGreen home, an infill lot within walking distance to the town’s bustling retail center and the subway, is being modeled after the Incredibly Green Home, with a similar, but pared down, floor plan. The homeowners requested Bethesda Bungalows’ new standard of energy efficiency construction and product choices they had seen in the demonstration home and agreed to LEED certification provided it didn’t require upgrades—and therefore money beyond their budget—to obtain. Based on the initial meeting with the LEED verifier, Washington, D.C.-based Everyday Green, the house is expected to achieve a minimum of LEED-Silver without any changes.

Among the highlights of the project are high-efficiency cooling (original plans for geothermal had to be nixed because of soil issues), a super-tight envelope, Energy Star-rated appliances, water-conserving fixtures, low-VOC paints and finishes, an energy recovery ventilator, recycled-content concrete, and FSC-certified and/or locally sourced wood.

Most of these features are in the demonstration project, and the company continues to refine its designs, product selections, and construction methods with each certified home it completes. Standard practices for the builder include waterproofing the footer to avoid moisture wicking to the foundation, blower-door testing, sealed ducts and pre-occupancy flush, mudrooms,  energy recovery ventilation, and reuse of some of the exiting home’s materials.

Over the course of the next few months, EcoHome will follow the Bethesda Bungalow house from start to finish through detailed articles and videos that provide you with practical, expert guidance on eco-friendly construction. In addition to highlighting the home’s green features, you’ll find tips and advice for product selection, home deconstruction and recycling, working with LEED raters, marketing green houses, and much more. The house will be featured on the home page, so check back often for updates. The reports also will be in the weekly EcoHome Update e-newsletter, which includes new products, news, legislative updates, and other information about building green. If you are not a susbscriber, click here to get yours free of charge.

To learn more about the Bethesda Bungalow house, the deconstruction of the original rambler, and the challenges of the small infill lot, click on the video above. For more details from the design architect, click here.