Gail of Green Living


GREEN Medical Center Home for Sale: Principles for the U.S. Gulf Coast Home

3703 Drummond

The United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Homes (LEED-H) program looks at home building from a broad view.  This program looks at where the home is built, (Braes Heights near the Texas Medical Center in Houston, TX), and how, and with what materials it is built.  The LEED certification process requires site management, recycling and waste management during construction.  Credits are given for energy efficiency, water conservation, air quality, product choice, etc.  The top rating is Platinum.  The guiding principles for a U.S. Gulf Coast home involve “what makes sense” in regard to the following features:

Strength and Durability:  This basically means “hurricane resistant”.  The storms bring wind water and utility failure.  Walls, windows and the roof are the core of the strength of the system.  Utility failure, which lasted up to three weeks after Hurricane Ike in 2008, dictated they include backup electric power and water.  Durability also applies to a longer term without maintenance issues.  The builder pursued the “Fortified” rating from the Institute for Building and Home Safety.  This is awarded to homes of exceptional strength and threat resistance.  This home was engineered to withstand winds 20 miles/hour over the FEMA wind speed zone designation for this location.

Efficiency:  This is in regard to energy in vs. energy out.  “Energy in” means solar electric and solar thermal.  “Energy out” is the sealed building envelope, immense insulation, and radiant barriers.

Security:  Keep out the boogie man and keep your stuff in!

Livability/Health/Comfort:  This category addresses air quality, humidity level, choice of appliances, lighting and finishes, and even the bathroom exhaust fan.

Affordability:  Understand there is a cost to buy and a cost to operate.  This is where “what makes sense” makes sense!  The owner shared with me that this home’s costs were about 20% higher than a traditional home, and I think much of that extra cost is recovered in energy savings, longer lived appliances, especially those with water that is pure as this system provides.

Green:  LEED-H Platinum was the target goal.

Next week’s blog will reveal the details of the building envelope, the backbone of the Building System.

If you would like to know more about this home, more pictures and details can be found here.




Green Townhome
1414 Southmore

I have this property listed in the Museum District, which is just adjacent to the Medical Center.  It has some green features you can usually count on finding in a property built since 2005.  Several of these features would be easy to put in an older townhome to make it more efficient.  One is low-e windows.  There are more windows placed on the north and south exposures than on the west, where intense heat can add to energy use in the summer.

Another feature that is easy to add to any home is a digital programmable thermostat.  Set it to be warmer in the summer while you are at work and have the house cool by the time you return.

A feature of this home that you don’t see in many green articles is the flooring.  All floors except the two bedrooms on the second floor, are Italian carerra marble tile.  In Houston, this creates a cool floor that is very comfortable in the summer.  The second floor living area has very high ceilings that trap warmer air at the ceiling and make this living area more comfortable.

Ceiling fans throughout the home allow the thermostat to be set to a warmer temperature in the summer.  In the winter, the fans can blow the warmer air toward the floor for added comfort.

A North-South exposure is another feature that makes heating and cooling this home more efficient.  In the winter, sun will come in the south windows to heat the home.

Another green feature of this home is its location.  It is within walking distance to the Metro Rail that can take you to downtown venues or south to the Medical Center, Rice University and Reliant Stadium.  You can also walk to Hermann Park, lots of museums and Miller Outdoor Theater.  You can park your car in the garage and improve our air quality and gasoline.  This feature is beyond reality for most Houstonians!

Look at other pictures and information for 1414 Southmore http://goo.gl/shGxO  and let me know if you or someone you know might be interested in this stunning property.