It's Showtime for Show Homes

At this month’s Southern Building Show in Atlanta and the Pacific Coast Builder’s Conference in San Francisco, attendees will have the opportunity to view two fabulous show homes — each with its own unique style and design. Carl Seville, along with Jimmy Carrion and Michelle Brinkman of SawHorse, Inc. in Atlanta, presents the Earthcraft Remodeling Showcase Project, a completely remodeled 1918 Tudor home in the Druid Hills Historic District of Atlanta.

On the opposite coast, Sarah Susanka’s “Settling in the City” follows her design principles set forth in her book, Home by Design. The completely remodeled 1930s Oliver Rousseau house in Pacific Heights incorporates healthy home products and technologies which offers a safe, energy-efficient and comfortable living environment.

For all spectators, both homes serve as a hands-on display for ideas that they can incorporate into their own remodeling businesses. These two show homes are great examples of the many options in design and construction.

Historic renovation for the new ages

Making its debut at the Southern Building Show, the Earthcraft Remodeling Showcase Project features a 4,700-sq.-ft home that packs an environmental punch by meeting all qualifications for the EarthCraft House Certification. EarthCraft is the first green renovation program in the country that provides remodeling contractors with a comprehensive methodology to turn existing homes into efficient, healthy and durable structures ? meeting the highest standards of sustaninable, energy-efficient construction. With 100 percent performance testing of every project by qualified, independent inspectors, both the contractor and home owner are given hard evidence that their house meets the strict criteria of the EarthCraft House Certification Standards. “Initially the EarthCraft House program was designed exclusively for single-family, new construction homes,” says Dianne Butler, EarthCraft House Development Director. “The success of the program and the satisfaction of the consumer created a new demand for expanding the criteria to include a broader range of housing options including remodeling.”

This success has paved a path for an Earthcraft Showhouse. This home educates remodelers about the advantages for both the homeowner and the contractor in building with energy efficiency and sustainable products in mind. This home, estimated at $1.4 million dollars, features five bedrooms and four and a half baths with an unfinished full bath.

Curb appeal
Since the home sits in a historic district, all alterations and improvements had to be approved by the governing historic commission. “To begin production on this home, I had to submit a fairly extensive report to the historic commission,” says Seville. “I wanted to make a bigger presence to the front of the home, but the commission is very resistant to changing the front exterior or anything that can be seen from the street.” Seville designed a new front dormer (that was eventually approved) and concentrated on restoring the exterior brick and original roof tiles.

“Accommodating the historic guidelines can set you back if you don’t expect it,” he says. “Half of the roof tiles on this house were destroyed. I found a very similar product with a lower cost, but the commission wouldn’t approve the product.”

With this, Seville used a clay tile on the main house, and the porch roof is prefinished standing seam metal. “The vast majority of the exterior materials will never deteriorate and won’t require replacing,” he adds.

The exterior front of the home also features casement windows, along with double-hung units at the rear of the house. These offer simulated divided lights, Low-E argon filled glass and features PVC exterior trim. “These efficient, durable windows will keep the house cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter and resists rot,” says Seville. In addition, the house is sealed with a self-adhering flashing around all windows and exterior doors to keep out unwanted moisture.

Incorporating a sound structural system
While viewer’s cannot physically see many of the upgrades, Seville makes a point to identify the many structural changes this home underwent. The structural system in the house has been equipped with an AllJoist I-Joist floor system including VersaLam LVL and Versa Rim banding product from Boise Building Solutions. He adds that Boise also provided its engineers who made site visits to review the installation and assist in solving issues as they developed on-site. “The capacity of these products allowed us to span large areas and redistribute loads from floor to foor without compromising the design while maintaining much of the orginial structure,” says Seville.

Insulating a home is one of the key factors in an EarthCraft home. It provides superior air sealing and insulation keeps the house healthy, efficient and comfortable all year. In the Atlanta remodel, Seville opted for Icynene’s spray foam insulation on the entire envelope of the house ? roofline, walls and floor bands. “The insulation provides excellent air sealing which contributes significantly to the energy efficiency and indoor air quality of the house,” adds Seville. “It also reduces noise transmission from the exterior and it’s comprised of non-toxic water-based propellants ? this is a popular product in many EarthCraft projects.”

Another sought-after item that may not be visible, but has tremendous value is the central vacuum system by Beam Industries. The system allows the air to be directed to the outside, eliminating the typical problem of poorly filtered, dusty air being blown around the house when using canister or upright vacuums. “The whole-house central vacuum system is more efficient than standard units and keeps the interior air cleaner,” says Seville.

To increase the indoor air quality, high-efficiency, low-sone fans were installed in all the bathrooms and the laundry room to remove excess moisture. “Each fan is hard ducted to the exterior and is run by a timer switch to avoid leaving it running,” explains Seville.

Throughout the home, a high-efficiency HVAC system supplies each floor of the house with a media air filter to eliminate movement of dust and other pollutants through the air. “Each duct system is sealed with mastic to reduce the air leakage to a minimum, says Seville, therefore increasing the effectiveness of the equipment.”

Additionally, due to the fact that house is extremely sealed against air leakage, a small amount of outside air is introduced into the return air plenum to keep the air in the house fresh. “During the course of construction, the registers were protected with Duct Diapers by MPB Solutions to keep debris from falling into the ducts,” says Seville.

The interior of the home saw significant changes with multiple low VOC products. “It’s important to live in a healthy environment,” says Seville. This means installing products that emit a low VOC, recycled products and those with an Energy Star label. “Nontoxic water-based finishes were used on all wood flooring, and Carpet and Rug Institute ‘Green Label’ carpets and pads were used in the bedrooms and closets.” The interior of the house was freshly painted with Benjamin Moore’s Eco Spec Low VOC paints to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals released.

A complete process
Seville demonstrates a well-rounded construction process with this EarthCraft remodel. “All of the unpainted lumber was ground and spread on-site or used on other jobsites,” he says. “We also used the concrete from the old driveway as aggregate; the broken roof tiles were ground for sub base under concrete walkways and driveways; and many of the doors, shutters and light fixtures were donated to Habitat for Humanity.”