LEED Homes Awards Highlights the Top Green Projects and Firms

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced the recipients of its 2017 LEED Homes Awards, an annual honor given to innovative projects, architects, developers and homebuilders leading the residential green building market.  
“We believe that every building, especially homes, should be green. LEED-certified homes enhance the health and wellbeing of occupants by providing clean indoor air and incorporating safe building materials to ensure comfort and safety, and they are designed to save critical resources, use less energy and water and save money,” says Mahesh Ramanujam, USGBC President and CEO. “The LEED Homes Awards showcase the most inspired and efficient practices in the residential green building movement. These leaders showcase what it means to create a home that balances aesthetic appeal with real human and environmental needs.”
The recipients include multi-family, single-family and affordable housing projects and companies who utilized innovative and effective sustainability methods in residential spaces in 2017.
LEED Homes Award Recipients include:

Photo courtesy James Shanks.

Project of the Year: The House at Cornell Tech, Roosevelt Island, NY
Developed by The Hudson Companies and Related Companies, Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island campus features The House,” a LEED Platinum multi-family residence open to students, staff, and faculty. This 26-story full-functioning apartment building uses 60-70 percent less energy than that of a similarly sized typical building.

Outstanding Single-Family Project: Historic District Infill Home, Decatur, GA
Built and owned by SK Collaborative principal Carl Seville, the Historic District Infill Home manages to fit seamlessly into a prestigious existing historic district while meeting the highest standards of energy efficiency and sustainability through its LEED Platinum certification. This 100-percent electric home employs state of the art concepts in design, construction, and mechanical systems.

Photo courtesy Tim Ridley.

Photo courtesy Mark Boisclair Photography Inc.

Outstanding Single-Family Developer: Maracay Homes, Scottsdale, AZ
For over 25 years, Maracay Homes has been a leader in Arizona’s sustainable real estate industry. Having constructed more than 9,000 homes for families across Phoenix and Tucson, Maracay strives to provide homebuyers with smarter choices that serve both their lifestyle and the environment.

Outstanding Multi-Family Project: PassiveTown Phase 3, Building K, Kurobe, Japan
Developed by YKK Fudosan Co., Passive Town Phase 3, Building K is a LEED Platinum low-rise multi-family residence and the first LEED for Homes project in Japan. After the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, YKK Fudosan Co. realized the importance of sustainable and resilient design and decided to construct the 3-block PassiveTown community.

Photo courtesy Saito Sadayuki.

Outstanding Multi-Family Developer: The Hudson Companies Inc., New York, NY
Started in 1986, The Hudson Companies, Inc. focuses on urban development in the New York metropolitan area. Committed to quality, each of its developments is designed to achieve green building standards like LEED. They currently have completed over 3,500 housing units and have nearly 5,000 additional units in pre-development or construction.

Outstanding Affordable Project: Crescent Crossings Phase 1, Bridgeport, CT
Crescent Crossings is the result of a collaboration between JHM Financial Group, Crosskey Architects and Viking Construction, who wanted to create a durable, welcoming community with low tenant utility bills. The first phase of the four-part project achieved LEED Platinum in 2017 and resides in an area once riddled with crime and violence. However, the creation of the Crescent Crossings community will help vanquish old reputations by fostering a healthy, safe, and vibrant community.

Photo courtesy Mark W. Lipczynski.

Outstanding Affordable Developer Builder / Developer: Native American Connection, Phoenix, AZ
Part of Native American Connection’s cultural heritage is its mindfulness to how our actions affect future generations. Therefore, incorporating LEED into its work is an important step as it gives their tenants a higher quality of life while ensuring a healthier future.

USGBC also recognized “LEED Homes Power Builders,” a distinction USGBC established to honor an elite group of developers and builders that have exhibited an outstanding commitment to LEED and the green building movement within the residential sector. In order to be considered a LEED Homes Power Builder this year, developers and builders must have LEED-certified 90 percent of their homes/unit count built in 2017. Homes at any LEED certification level are eligible for consideration.

2017 LEED Homes Power Builders include: (*Represents a company that also won a LEED Homes Award):

Construction Rocket Inc.

JHM*

Habitat for Humanity of Kent County

The Dinerstein Companies

Metro West Housing Solutions

Forest City Realty Trust

MHI Dallas

Gerding Edlen

Koral & Gobuty Development

Frankel Building Group

AMLI Residential

C&C Development

Alliance Residential

Carmel Partners

Native American Connections*

The Community Builders

Thrive Home Builders

Active West

Millennium Mission, photos courtesy The Dinerstein Companies.

A partnership between Duravit and Studio 804 will help to pave the way toward a more innovative, accessible and sustainable world of design.

Rendering of the 2018 Studio 804 house

Duravit has joined forces with Kansas-based Studio 804, Inc. to promote the benefits of innovative, adaptive architecture and design. Studio 804, Inc. is a not-for-profit that annually builds and designs a home that represents sustainable, affordable, and inventive building solutions. Duravit will donate a variety of bathroom product for the 2018 house, highlighting the impact of forward-thinking, modern bathroom design.
“Our partnership with Studio 804 is a testament to the value of their program,” says Duravit USA President Tim Schroeder. “The effort, research, and care that goes into every Studio 804 project is something Duravit is incredibly proud to be involved with, while the company’s goal to create thoughtful, sustainable design aligns with our own core values.”

Duravit X-Large Vanity in Studio 804 Bathroom

Duravit’s Darling New Mirror

Studio 804 is an education opportunity for graduate architecture students studying at the University of Kansas. Every year, students undertake building a home from scratch, with nine LEED Platinum projects and three Passive House certified projects under the organization’s belt. The project is entirely student-run, with every aspect of the design and construction completed by students throughout the nine-month academic year.
Duravit will donate product to correspond with the project’s modern design and accessible features. Signature collections, including Darling New, X-Large and Delos, will be on display. Featured items include:
X-Large wall-mounted vanity: Offering plenty of storage space and subtle elegance, the X-Large vanity unit combines function with form. Perfect for small spaces, X-Large highlights maximized storage, accessibility and sleek design solutions.
Darling New lighting mirror: The Darling New mirror’s harmonious shape, practical design language and ease-of-use creates a timeless piece for any modern bathroom.
Delos Mirror cabinet: Designed by EOOS, the Delos mirror cabinet utilizes innovative, non-glare LED technology and modern, minimalist forms to deliver a design-centric mirror with storage and technical solutions in mind.

“Duravit has been an ideal partner for Studio 804 throughout the years,” says Dan Rockhill, a professor within the school of architecture at University of Kansas. “The brand’s focus on innovative, lasting design matches our goals in addressing today’s evolving housing needs and shifting lifestyles.”
The 2018 house will be adjacent to Brook Creek Park in Kansas, situated to maximize views of the natural landscape. The house was designed with an open-space, flexible floor plan in mind to accommodate a variety of living situations and varying needs of the inhabitants. The project consists of both a 1,500-square-foot main house and a 500-square-foot dwelling unit, allowing for greater flexibility and multiple, adaptable living situations. Following in the footsteps of previous years, students will aim for an eleventh LEED Platinum building by limiting their impact on the environment and utilizing advanced building technologies.

Studio 804 is expected to reveal their 2018 housing project in May 2018.

Photos courtesy of Studio 804, Inc. 

As concerns for the environment grow, tiny homes have emerged as an earth-friendly alternative to traditional homes.

By Stacey Staum

In years past, the motto has been “the bigger the better.” The idea lent itself to every part of life, especially in the square footage of a luxury home. But as modern homeowners become increasingly aware of environmental issues, a new trend is emerging:

tiny homes.

 

Tiny homes can be as small as 200 square feet, and provide homeowners with a significantly smaller carbon footprint than traditional homes. Features like solar power, water catchments systems, and composting toilets have made tiny homes the premier housing option for an environmentally conscious lifestyle, and the luxury market is embracing this movement. 

Jason Francis, co-founder and president of Tiny Heirloom in Portland, Oregon, has brought high-end materials and amenities to the forefront of his designs. Francis explains, “We take pride in starting each project with a blank page and assuming everything is possible until proven otherwise.” Tiny Heirloom’s projects have included an $8,000 toilet, a $40,000 custom sculpted rock wall, Jacuzzi tubs, and rooftop decks, all incorporated into tiny home designs.

In a tiny home, it is of the utmost importance that all of the area is well utilized. “Using the space effectively is absolutely crucial. To do this well, we start with the right mindset. Every square inch is valuable space that can’t be wasted. When we have this truth in mind, we look at the design differently and begin to think outside the box of ways to maximize space and use or create dual purpose features wherever possible,” Francis says.

Part of the excitement of building a tiny home is deciding where to put the home once it is complete. Tiny Heirloom has finished projects in exciting locations, including the ocean shores of Hawaii and a 9,000-foot bluff overlooking the Rocky Mountains. Many tiny homes are portable, so homeowners don’t have to commit to only one location. Tiny homes offer the unique opportunity to move the home to different locations without having to pack up for a traditional move.

Customizations are limited only by the imagination. This home features a $40,000 sculpted rock wall on the exterior.

Wheelhaus in Jackson, Wyoming, also offers exceptional tiny home options, featuring top-of-the-line, energy-saving appliances. The company achieved a Gold standard with the U.S. Green Building Council. Sustainability is the goal at Wheelhaus, as is evidenced by its use of High-R-value insulation, windows for abundant natural light, space-saving design, and sustainable building practices. The Wheelhaus aesthetic blends rustic and modern design styles. Wheelhaus’s most remarkable model is the Stack-Haus, with a base price of $365,000 for 1,400 square feet of living space — a mansion by tiny home standards.

The future of the luxury tiny home market looks promising. Francis explains, “The idea and belief goes beyond just tiny homes. The truth is starting to spread like wildfire — that a bigger house, nicer car, and more things don’t equate to happiness. Eliminating waste and simplifying life within one’s respective means creates a lifestyle where you can truly enjoy what you do have and who is around you.”

Photos courtesy Wheelhaus

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