NEW HOME IN HISTORIC NORTHEAST GAINESVILLE
Ivan Solbach Company designs and builds custom homes with unique style, form and function. We also offer remodeling services, home additions, and light commercial construction. Contact us to find out how we can help you!
This new home offers a feeling of traditional luxury and modern convenience with less environmental impact. The four bedroom three bath, 2,576 square foot home is located within Gainesville’s Northeast Historic District, referred to locally as the “Duck Pond,” on a vacant lot purchased from a neighboring property. The area is known for its unique visual character and convenient distance to entertainment, shopping, and places of employment downtown. Filling in empty lots in already built-out neighborhoods rather than clearing trees in previously undeveloped agricultural areas on the edges of town benefits the environment and the community.
Ivan and Jennifer Solbach custom designed this home for its location. The Greek revival style, in which the home is designed, is one of several styles of architecture present in the Northeast Historic District, according to the City of Gainesville’s guidelines for historic preservation. The traditional elements of residential Greek revival style are incorporated into the design, but its detailing is kept simple and minimal. It is meant to fit in visually with the historic homes surrounding it, but still have its own personality and unique character.
Achieving the EPA’s energy star mark influenced the overall design of the home in many ways. The simple rectangular shape of the home and its two story floor plan reduce the ratio of exterior surface to interior volume. This is an important feature that helps to keep the temperature inside the home constant with less electricity needed to do so. The full height front porch, which is a very common feature of Greek revival style homes, is also a very energy saving feature. The porch roof shades the front wall of the house from the heat of direct sunlight, which is most concentrated on the west side. The long narrow east – west orientation of the lot turned out to be an advantage for energy efficiency because it allowed for a narrower west wall, and wider north and south walls, which are cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The exterior of the home is painted white, a very common choice among Greek revival style homes. It is also an energy efficient paint color, because it reflects heat from the sun. Darker paint colors collect heat from solar radiation.
Exterior material choices were guided by the need to fit with the character of the historic setting, energy savings, and reducing future maintenance costs. Details that ordinarily would be constructed with wood have been replaced with more durable, weather resistant materials. The exterior walls are finished with fiber cement lap siding and trim, the soffits and exterior ceilings are covered with vinyl bead board, the columns and railings are made of aluminum with a factory applied finish. Some of the decorative details of the exterior trim are made of waterproof urethane foam, but have the traditional appearance of wood trim when painted. Insulated metal doors don’t shrink and swell like solid wood doors and are more water resistant. Even the wood windows are protected with a waterproof aluminum cladding.
The old fashioned looking galvanized metal roof reflects the heat of the sun’s rays rather than collecting it as asphalt shingles would. Galvanized metal roofing will be very low maintenance, needing only a coating of silver paint every twenty-five to thirty years, and at the end of its useful life, many years from now, it can be recycled and not just sent off to the dump like shingles are.
Energy star rated wood double hung windows from Pella were installed on the home. Wood frames slow the transfer of heat from outside to inside because they are more insulating than metal windows, which are used in many new homes. The glazing is double-paned with argon gas sealed in between the layers and a low-e coating on the outside. The low-e coating reflects ultra violet radiation, and the argon gas reduces heat transmission giving each window a higher insulation value. Vinyl windows are also very energy efficient, but they did not have the appearance necessary to fit in with the other homes in the area.
Stabilized cellulose wall insulation eliminates the un-insulated gaps around pipes and wall studs which are common with the fiberglass batt insulation used in many other homes. Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper, so it is more environmentally friendly than many other types of insulation. An extra thick layer of blown cellulose insulation was added in the attic to reduce heat transfer through the ceiling.
The air conditioning and heating system uses high efficiency equipment, and the ducts are kept within conditioned space. This strategy keeps the cool air in the ducts from being warmed by the scorching heat of the attic, which is where ducts are located in most homes. Commercial grade metal ducts were installed rather than fiber glass walled ducts for better air quality, and long term maintenance benefits. The smooth interior surfaces of metal ducts leave fewer places for dust and debris to collect and can be cleaned effectively in the future.
Hot water is supplied by a tank-less natural gas water heater mounted on the exterior surface of the home. While this system is capable of creating an unlimited supply of hot water at a consistent temperature, it is designed to save energy by only heating water when it is needed. Traditional tank water heaters generate radiant heat, and when installed within conditioned space, increase cooling costs.
Energy star rated light fixtures and appliances are installed in many of the interior spaces. All of the lighting is fluorescent, any fixtures installed that were not designed specifically for fluorescent bulbs have been outfitted with energy saving compact fluorescent bulbs. All of the major living areas and bedrooms have ceiling fans installed to promote comfort in those spaces and help reduce the need for air conditioning.
Many of the energy efficient features of this project can also be added to existing homes. More information on the EPA’s energy star program can be found at www.energystar.gov.
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