B.U.G. (Beautiful.Useful.Green) Design: May 2013

                                                Mill Valley Green Home

“To me it’s the story of place, either real or desired, that inspires the architecture. The context of the site, the environment – natural or man made – is the origin of the design evolution,” explains architect Geoff Butler of his design process.

mill valley green homeWe’re revisiting his Mill Valley Green Home one year after it’s lush, photo-filled debut in San Francisco Magazine, with more gorgeous pictures from the synonymously named web site.

Why is it beautiful? Geoff Butler didn’t have to look far for inspiration when designing the Mill Valley Green Home, a showpiece of sustainability located in his hometown. The home incorporates staples of California living – skylights, outdoor showers, easy transitions between indoor and outdoor space – with energy efficient details like radiant heating, a solar ready system, and an electric car charging outlet in the garage.

Why is it useful? The Mill Valley Green Home is leading by example with a cutting edge, three-tiered home design that includes the latest in luxury green features in California’s Bay Area. LEED Platinum certification is pending. And although in a rarefied price range, this luxury home incorporates green solutions that can be introduced on a smaller scale to the mid-range market.

mill valley hogsWhy is it green? “Bottom line energy savings, water reuse and drought tolerant landscaping,” are three eco-friendly features that Geoff Butler readily identifies in the Mill Valley Green Home. Nineteen Rainwater HOG provide 1,000 gallons of rain and grey water storage for landscape irrigation and toilet flush. Even in the construction of the home – aimed to show that green does not have compromise in quality or cost – more than 50% of the wood used was recycled from the original home.

Check out Sally’s blog for more B.U.G. designs.

August 2012: Glencoe Green Home

Twenty-five miles outside of Chicago,  the fifth LEED Platinum home in Illinois was certified in December 2011 in the town of Glencoe. Barry and Natalie Slotnick publicize their residence online as the Glencoe Green Home.

“The fact that it is a traditional home that is LEED Platinum makes it a unique structure,” says Barry Slotnick, of his Glencoe Green Home.

“Our two children are the biggest motivator,” explains Barry, on the inspiration behind building a home to the highest environmental standards. “They are four and six. The world will be theirs and their kids and grandkids.”

He identifies the most distinctive feature of his Illinois home, constructed from April 2010 through April 2011, as its traditional facade . It fits into the neighborhood. “It looks like it was built in 1911 rather than 2011,” says Barry.

The heightened functionality of the home belies its conventional facade. The materials and technologies used help save energy and minimize its environmental impact. The Glencoe Green Home has a green roof, solar rooftop panels, Energy Star appliances, and windows and sliding glass door sized and oriented to increase passive solar energy. Water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and sustainable landscaping were considered during construction. Additionally, a modular, off-site construction method reduced the energy and waste output and shortened the overall build time.

Rainwater HOG features in the LEED certification of the Slotnick’s home. The main roof was configured to direct rainwater towards the east side of the house and into two vertically-mounted HOG tanks.  “HOGs work well because of their design,” explains Barry, after using them for over a year to irrigate arbor vitae around the perimeter of the yard. “They have a very good outflow.”

June 2012: Campus Rainworks Challenge

A Green Infrastructure Design Contest for Colleges and Universities

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has launched Campus Rainworks Challenge, a student design contest engineered to raise awareness of green infrastructure alternatives for stormwater management.

Let’s pause a moment before we go into more detail. At HOG, we love this idea! In fact, we’d like to make an offer to participating student teams. Incorporate HOG tanks into a winning entry, and we will give you three HOG tanks.

Student teams, working with a faculty adviser, will submit design plans for a proposed green infrastructure project for their campus. Entries will be judged on:

  • Analysis and Planning
  • Preservation or Restoration of Natural Features
  • Integrated Water Management
  • Soil and Vegetation Management
  • Value to Campus
  • Likelihood of Implementation

And what’s the prize? Winning teams will earn a cash prize of $1,500 – $2,500, as well as $8,000 – $11,000 in funds for their faculty adviser to conduct research on green infrastructure.

Registration opens September 4 and ends December 14, 2012. Winning entries will be selected by EPA and announced in April 2013.

In other words, boys and girls, there’s plenty of time to devise an award-winning, money-making, campus-improving stormwater management plan for your school.

Looking for Inspiration?

An 8-HOG catchment system provides an on-site reserve of water for the Green & Main Pilot Project. Workers install a bioswale in the foreground.

Check out the Green & Main Pilot Project in Des Moines, Iowa. Eight HOG tanks were incorporated into the ambitious greening of a mixed-used commercial building. Their comprehensive
stormwater management plan is part of their bid to achieve LEED Platinum status.

May 2012: San Francisco Magazine – The Trickle-Up Effect

Architect Geoffrey Butler’s LEED Platinum home design features state-of-the-art water reuse

Sausalito-based architect Geoffrey Butler’s $2.9 million Marin spec home brings up-to-the-moment architectural design to a water-wise home.

©Philip Harvey

Profiled in the June 2012 design issue of San Francisco Magazine, the Geoffrey Butler home, located in Mill Valley, saves up to 61,000 gallons of water per year.

A 4-HOG installation (hidden under the deck) converts showers into lawn water, and an additional 15 HOG tanks are used to flush the toilet in the 5-person home for up to 8 months out of the year.
How does the HOG modular rainwater catchment system work in this Mill Valley home?

©Philip Harvey

Toilet Flush                                                 Gray Water System
rainwater                                                   shower and bathtub water
[goes to]                                                                [goes to]
15 HOGS behind garage                              4 HOGS under deck
[goes to]                                                                [goes to]
toilets                                                                      garden

Check out the magazine in print if you’re in the San Francisco area or see it online here (we’re on page 72-73).

November 2011: Green & Main–Renovating History, Building Community

“We believe the completion of the first LEED Platinum building renovation in Iowa will encourage other building professionals to adopt these methods. We are also encouraged by the project’s focus on water conservation and storm water management.”
Marian Riggs Gelb, Executive Director, Iowa Environmental Council

Green and Main broke ground on its pilot project in Des Moines, Iowa in September of last year. The Iowa-based initiative is focused on the social and environmental transformation of existing buildings and neighborhoods into sustainable communities.

For the pilot project, the historic Sherman Hill neighborhood in Des Moines will see the renovation of a mixed-use commercial building originally constructed in 1931. Designer/developer Chaden Halfhill speaks of making an impact on the ‘Main Street level.’ He sees the rehabilitation of existing buildings to exceed current environmental and energy standard as a way to foster community and revitalize Main Street.

An 8-HOG Rainwater Harvesting System provides an on-site reserve of water for the Green & Main Pilot Project. Workers install a bioswale in the foreground.

“Storm water management and water conservation are two critical areas that we have emphasized for this project,” explains Halfhill. An eight HOG system will assist in the transformation of 800 19th Street by providing a reserve of harvested rainwater on site. “We were able to adjust the location of their placement due to a shift in design strategy,” says Halfhill, highlighting the versatility of the tanks. Eight tanks, vertically installed, will capture water from the carport and the smaller roofs over the entries. The rainwater will be used to establish native plants, and to clean the parking lot and patio area. A green roof helps to manage stormwater, and to direct excess water through a bioswale to a garden.

With this renovation, Green and Main is leading the way in Iowa as the first Pilot Project for the Sustainable Sites Initiative.

For its LEED certification, Green & Main is assessed on its water and energy use, construction and materials waste, materials used, indoor building quality and the site itself. Strategies include increasing the building’s energy efficiency by 75%, and using photovoltaic panels to generate up to 25% of the building’s electricity. Additionally, recycled and repurposed materials are used for construction. For an in-depth view of the construction practices and green technologies Green & Main is using in its bid to achieve the highest environmental rating (LEED Platinum), click here.

The former corner grocery will host Healing Passages, a midwifery owned and operated holistic health and birth center. The second story will provide residential living space. The building will also be a site for ongoing education about green historic rehabilitation.

To find out more information, visit greenandmain.org.