Preserving the Environmental Heritage of Heritage Hills in Chapel Hill
Performance (Green) building has come a long way. While a decade ago many may have perceived green building to be a fad, today it’s about more than just reducing a carbon footprint. Financially, it makes good sense with eco-friendly designs that deliver appealing functionality and healthy indoor air quality. For the second year in a row, Jeff Wiblitzhouser with Paradise Found Construction has received the National Association of Home Builder’s (NAHB) 2014 NAHB Green Certified Remodel of the Year Award, this time for a home in Orange County.
Located in southern Chapel Hill, the 40+ year old, two-story Gambrel Roof home remodel demonstrates how easy it is to preserve the charm and security of an older neighborhood and the many benefits it offers, making the home healthier for its occupants while reducing its ongoing cost of ownership. This amazing whole hose remodel demonstrates how to preserve the heritage and charm in older neighborhoods with modest investments that create a healthier living environment and yearly savings that compound over time.
“While any home can be built or remodeled with green features, a home that meets the National Green Building Standard’s certification criteria offers financial gains when the cost of ownership is reduced and a home’s value is increased,” says Jeff Wiblitzhouser President of Paradise Found Construction. “Plus, growing market evidence shows new and remodeled homes that are green certified are increasing in value and holding it better than those traditionally built or remodeled.”
The Heritage Hills home was structurally sound but needed improvements in energy usage, water efficiency, and indoor environmental quality. By replacing the original single-pane windows with more energy efficient double-pane ones, right-sizing the HVAC system, adding a dual zone controller, replacing and sealing all duct-work and a variety of other energy-efficient upgrades, the HERS (Home Energy Rating System) rating was reduced from 98 to 59. In total, energy was reduced by 40% and projected savings are projected to be $900 yearly.
Water efficiency was also addressed by incorporating EPA Water Sense-rated toilets and plumbing fixtures as well as upgrading appliances like the washing machine, which reduced the overall water usage by over 40%. Furthermore, natural hardwoods with no volatile organic compound (VOC) finishes, formaldehyde-free materials and no-VOC paints were used to improve the indoor air quality. The original wood burning fireplace was replaced with a direct-vent natural gas one and exhaust fans were installed in bathrooms to help create a healthier indoor environment.
In addition, Wiblizthouser helped the owners incorporate the latest design trends that would harmonize with the rest of the home. He increased the usefulness and aesthetics of their screened porch by creating an appealing room that could be enjoyed year round. He also brightened living areas with lighter colors to increase sunlight reflectivity.
The homes in Heritage Hills represent the explosive growth of home ownership that occurred during the economic expansion that followed the end of WWII, and they were designed to foster a sense of community, where families could come together. They were also built with denser wood that offers superior structural support compared to the same homes built using lumber from today’s faster-growing trees. Rather than demolish structurally sound homes to make way for larger ones with larger carbon footprints, a green certified remodel is increasingly attractive.
“We can preserve older neighborhoods with established traffic patterns and charm by changing the inefficiencies,” said Wiblitzhouser. “With a relatively modest investment, a green certified remodeling provides a short investment payback and continued yearly savings over time as energy and water costs outstrip the cost of inflation. Plus, when it comes to resale value, green certified homes sell at the upper end of the range and more quickly.”
Just last year, Wiblitzhouser completed a green certified remodel that enabled a Raleigh home owner to sell the home within three days of completion. Compared to equivalent traditional construction, green certifications offer a significant value and advantage in the marketplace. Paradise Found Construction also won the National Home Builders Association (NAHB) 2013 Project of the Year for Green Certified Remodeling.
About Paradise Found Construction
Since 2009, our mission and passion has been to help our clients throughout the Triangle NC create their personal Paradise in their homes. We work closely with them to understand Their Vision, and leverage our vast experience in residential design to bring it to life in a 3D Color Visual Design before helping them Rediscover the Paradise in Their Home.
WE SPECIALIZE IN:
- HOME ADDITIONS
- AGING IN PLACE
- KITCHEN REMODELING
- BATHROOM REMODELING
- ATTIC AND BASEMENT FINISHING
- SUNROOMS AND SCREENED PORCHES
- HEALTHY HOMES
- PERFORMANCE RENOVATIONS
We are proud to be this year’s recipient of the STAR Award for Best Insurance Renovation given by the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County’s Remodelers Council.
The project for which we were recognized was a basement renovation. The home owner came to notice a pinhole leak in the hot water supply line. Because the line is located in a rarely accessed part of the basement, by the time the leak was noticed the damage was done. The leak had been spraying steamy mist throughout the area, which ultimately caused a 100% moisture content in the walls and ceiling.
Moist areas are a breeding ground for mold spores, and this basement’s moisture level allowed the mold colonies to cover all exposed surfaces. This was exacerbated by the HVAC system’s return and supply line, which circulated the spores.
The home owner had to remove everything from the location, cleaning what was salvageable and storing the rest. Then came the deconstruction phase, including the excavation of the entire front wall of the basement. New drains had to be installed and expert mold remediation had to be done.
Once that was complete, we were able to go in and start our rebuilding process. We created a new large bedroom adjoining the full bath and redesigned and updated the wet bar/kitchenette. We also enlarged the bathroom and updated it to include a lovely walk-in tiled shower with frameless shower glass and soap niches, a carefully designed and coordinated vanity with a granite top, new lighting and a wall-hung mirror, as well as tile flooring.
The new living spaces functioned and looked so much better than the original areas. Many energy and water efficiencies, as well as the vastly improved indoor air quality, helped transform the basement into a bright, warm, rich, and inviting sanctuary.
Water Damage Restoration Covered by Insurance
A small pinhole in the coupling of the hot water supply line from the hot water heater developed and began leaking and spraying hot steamy mist. Because of its location in the seldom used finished full basement, it initially went unnoticed.
By the time the homeowners noticed the leaking water, the moisture content in the ceiling sheet rock and well down the walls read 100%. The moist, warm environment proved to be ideal for colonies of mold spores to spread throughout the basement, aided by the HVAC system's return and supply lines circulating the mold spores. It didn’t take long before mold patches eventually covered all of the exposed materials and surfaces, furniture included.
The homeowners had protection from their insurance policy and were able to have repairs done after this unfortunate disaster.
Construction ensued. The ceiling, floors, and all of the interior and exterior walls were stripped down to the wood framing and masonry and disposed of. The first and second floor HVAC duct work was removed, and the entire existing full bath was gutted.
The remodeling included increasing the size of the full bath and removing the shower/tub as well as installing a large and comfortable tile shower. We added a small towel closet, and a separate entry into the adjoining room, which would now be reconfigured into a bedroom. A new EPA water sense-rated commode, a vanity cabinet with a natural granite countertop and an under-mount sink, a wall-hung mirror, and new sconce lights rounded out the update.
We turned the adjoining room next to the full bath into a bedroom. We added generous closet storage space and new lighting.
We finally turned our attention to the old kitchenette/wet bar. We took away some of the footprint to add to the full bath and designed an efficient and handsome wet bar/kitchenette.
Porcelain tile, no VOC interior paints, a complete replacement of the basement and first floor HVAC ducting, air handler equipment cleaning, and green-certified carpet and pad combined to create a healthy and light-filled living environment.