Sustainably Upcycled Renovation, Santa Clara, CA

Sustainably Upcycled Renovation, Santa Clara, CA

Bluebird Eco Friendly renovation

David's Eco Friendly renovated home

We were pleased to spent a few hours on a Saturday with David of MyEarthBoundHome.com.

David gave us a lot of great information and we saw that green building wasn’t just his business, it is his passion.

David is the president of this green home building and renovation company. He truly cares about the environment and living in a healthy home. He wants his clients to care too.

The present economy has been tough for builders and David’s company is no exception. He told us that in spite of the present economy, there are times where it should be worthwhile to spend a bit more in order to have a longer lasting product. An example of this is a lifetime roof on a home, compared to a 25 year shingle – but in order to save money, some clients are opting for shorter life-span products.

Bluebird eco renovation inside

The open living room in the home

David, his wife Amy and family have lived in this stylish, ranch home for the last 10 years and renovated it just a few years ago. The home has a large open living, dining and kitchen area, and the area is broken up by ceiling soffits. Changes in the direction of flooring, as well as other visual dividers like the kitchen peninsula break the room up visually.

David pointed out, that he custom designed and fabricated the cupboards and woodwork in the home, and that the floors, stair rails, trims and walls were finished with low VOC and formaldehyde-free finishes. The couple has 3 children and cares about their health as well as the environment.

I couldn’t say this better than the company website:

After 10 months of construction, David’s 1960’s Ranch Style dwelling was transformed into the Greenest Home in California, as rated by Build It Green’s Green Point Rated.

Though the home was designed and built before either Green Point Rated or LEED for Homes was launched, this project yielded one of the country’s most sustainably built homes. Our home was a synthesis of the construction industry’s best practices along with the greenest building materials available. We consistently opted for the least toxic and most durable materials, including the integration of salvaged building components the results of years of methodical accumulation.”

It takes time to find the right materials – especially salvaged ones – that fit into a homes character and design and not create a mish-mash of style. Half the windows, all of the doors and trim were salvaged and milled on site. We would never have known this, unless we were told. All features blended well and the home was warm and inviting.

Pex system in eco home

David's Pex system for hot and cold water

David showed us the PEX system that controlled the water volumes in the home, designed so that the showers and taps get smaller flows than the bath or the kitchen sink – items which you would fill anyways. This system cuts down the water use substantially, yet the family is not aware of lower volumes. David has also installed this system into clients’ homes and has never received a complaint of too-low flow to a tap.

The home also has a grey water system that waters the bamboo plants in the back yard. He has opted for an artificial turf – soft and thick, that looks real, instead of a traditional lawn. This saves on watering, is soft on this children’s feet and has low maintenance.

Insulated SIPS panels were used for insulation, Solar Thermal hot water and a Solar PV grid-tied system make sure the home uses very little energy, keeping the utility bills low.

The appliances were replaced over time and they opted for the highest Energy Star ratings. Just because an appliance is expensive or rated Energy Star, doesn’t mean it is the most efficient. David gave us the website CEE1 that pulls appliances together and rates them.

David’s office has now started to telecommute, saving driving time when they are required in the office. As he says, the other times they are at a job site or clients home anyways. He built a large comfortable office space when the home was renovated that also works when company members need to get together.

His company has always been value conscious, but these days belts are even tighter. Building green can sometimes take more time and money and the company does the best they can to cut down on additional costs. In spite of this, the company still gets a large percentage of the jobs bid on, as his clients see the advantages of a better built, healthier, longer lasting home. As building green becomes more popular and we hope – mainstream – materials should start to become better priced and easier to find, thus helping others to reduce waste and use less energy on a day-to-day basis.

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