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Designing and building in a sustainable way is not new, it has simply been rediscovered.
     
 
Capitol Hill: Pre Civil War House to Carbon Neutrality

           

Front view of home (before)

This Carbon Neutral House is located just four blocks from the Nation’s Capitol (view map) in the heart of Capitol Hill. The modest existing wood stick home dates back to the early 19th century. Although it has been vacant for several years in disrepair, the property is a wonderful opportunity to showcase “DC’s first Carbon Neutral Home.” With strict historical standards, well informed neighbors, tight building conditions, tough existing structural conditions and all the other challenges adaptive reuse projects have, it’s a serious challenge –that proven successful, will be a very compelling model in sustainable building.

View a PDF of this elevation.

An Ideal Location
The location of this project fits well into the greater carbon question of choosing thoughtful site locations. The ability for people to live close to where they work and play is essential. Besides being steps from the Capitol, the East Capitol Neighborhood has many restaurants, bars, retail stores and parks to enjoy. The size of the house also fits well into the sustainability story. Despite having three bedrooms and 3 ½ baths, the completed home will still only be approximately 2400 square feet – proving you can live more with less.

Great Power in Neutrality
To get to carbon neutrality, the home will blend extremely tight building envelope with some cutting edge mechanical systems which will include ground source heating and cooling, solar hot water, tankless water heaters, LED lights, and Energy Star appliances. This home will use 60-80% less energy than a standard home in the area. The remaining energy needed to power the home will be purchased as “clean” power from the local utility provider. So in the end, the user will be left with a home that produces no net carbon released into the atmosphere.

Reflecting the Past While Moving Forward
The renovated home will reflect its historical past by including many of the original elements that have been found on the original structure. This will include a sitting streetside porch, lapped siding, and the reuse of materials found at the existing home like original brick and wood timbers. The modest 10’ x10’ addition will feature a “warehouse” like wall of glass – that will allow for incredible natural light and thermal properties – not to mention making for great space inside.

This historic home will show what is possible when you blend cutting edge sustainable practices, historical fabrics of the past with forward thinking design and innovation.

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