This house wasn’t supposed to be green. In fact, the owner, who requested an energy-efficient house, cautioned: “I don’t want a green house. They look ugly, like a garage. I want a home that is a traditional design.” After some back and forth, the owner told custom home builder Josh Wynne that he could make it as green as he wanted as long as he didn’t have to make any financial or aesthetic sacrifices.
Wynne accepted that challenge and built a home that was the highest scoring LEED for Homes Platinum in state of FLA (110); highest scoring FGBC house in country (267). The home’s HERS rating is 27. “You can build a historically accurate home that’s not spare in any finishes and still be at the upper level of the green rating systems,” says Wynne.
Wynne learned that in order to build in the client’s budget he couldn’t rely solely on the open market, either because the products were too expensive or because there wasn’t anything available meeting his green criteria. His answer is to build all the millwork, stair treads, furniture, and other items, much like Gustav Stickley and Green & Green did earlier in the 19th Century.
You’d think custom built-ins would raise the price past the threshold acceptable to Wynne’s client. But not so. Wynne believes that by using his own labor, he is cutting out about 25 middle men in the process of building furniture or other parts of a house. “In our situation with this house, we bought the material from about the third guy in the chain of custody. And by doing that we were able to product a custom built product at a comparable if not better price than even products from China.”
The greatest compliment came when the house was included on a LEED tour of sustainable homes. As people wandered through the new home, they remarked on what a beautiful restoration job Wynne and his team had done.
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