How difficult is it to make a neglected 1915 home a green gem? In a forthcoming memoir, a green building guru describes how such a renovation can be stressful, costly and prolonged. David Gottfried wanted to “walk the talk” so about 15 years after co-founding the private U.S. Green Building Council, he set out to build his own perfect green home.
In 2007, he and wife Sara bought a charming but tired 1915 Craftsman bungalow in Oakland with inlaid wood floors, built-in wall cabinets and 1,500 square feet just around the corner from their favorite coffee shop. With a “small is green” mantra, he launched a stressful, year-plus renovation.
“I’ve had it! ” he recalls Sara saying one weekend, mid-project, as he drove her and their two young daughters to the third building supply store of the day. She asked: “Can’t we just go to a movie or park like a normal family?”
Gottfried, who studied solar engineering at Stanford University in the early 1980s, describes in a forthcoming memoir how he was a “man possessed” as he tried to pour everything he knew about green building into his idyll. “So of course I went overboard.”
He insulated walls, sealed crevices, used rainwater to flush the toilet, installed double-pane windows, replaced lights with LEDs and compact fluorescents, switched to wall-mounted hydronic radiator heating, put solar panels atop the roof and built a new kitchen with recycled materials and Energy Star appliances. — Full Story at USATODAY —