Green Features

The Green House has the following energy-efficiency/sustainability features:

Structural/Building Envelope
  • metal roofing -- hail-resistant and acts as radiant barrier, reducing heat absorption
  • sealed attic with spray foam insulation under roof (keeps the attic and ductwork cool)
  • blown-in cellulose insulation in walls (made of recycled newspaper)
  • structural insulated sheathing (SIS) instead of wood sheathing
  • low-E windows
  • low-maintenance Hardie siding
  • stone from Leuders, Texas (required less energy to transport to Austin)
  • house oriented to minimize solar heat gain through windows during summer
  • wide overhangs over windows on south side of house
  • windows placed to provide passive solar heating during winter
  • solar tubes instead of skylights allow light into kitchen without unnecessary heat gain

Energy Use/Mechanical
  • high-efficiency geothermal heating and air conditioning system
  • programmable thermostats serving three HVAC zones
  • compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs throughout
  • ceiling fans in living area and all bedrooms
  • Energy Star appliances
  • 6 kilowatt solar array

  • low-flow toilets
  • low-flow sink faucets
  • electric water heater assisted by geothermal heat pump (electric water heater alone is not green)
  • on-demand recirculating hot water pump (recycles cold water in pipes as faucets warm up)
  • high-efficiency (low-water) washing machine

Interior Finishes
  • low-VOC paint
  • durable floors (no carpet)
  • wide hallways/doors and lever door handles (making home wheelchair-accessible without renovations)

  • all plants are from City of Austin's Grow Green list of native and adapted drought-tolerant varieties
  • lawn is drought-tolerant Palisades Zoysia grass
  • drip irrigation system
  • rainwater collection system in progress

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