815 North: A Green Home in Boulder

Posted by Caryn Colgan | Sep 30, 2009
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815 North: A Green Home in Boulder

From start to finish the home of David, Stephanie, Elijah and Abey Adamson was a vision of recycled, eco-friendly, sustainable functionality. Not only did the homeowners use some of the best environmentally-friendly products available on the market, they recycled a surprising amount of material from area demolition projects. For more than 20 years David dreamed about building a low impact home and was able to do it with a lot of research, creative vision, and the help of many volunteers. The Adamson structure includes their 1500 SF residence, a 1000 SF apartment and a 500 SF office for Eco-Build, Solutions for Better Building.

815 North Solar System

815 North in Boulder, Colorado features passive and active solar energy components to keep the home comfortable without the need for air conditioning units or furnaces. South-facing windows allow the sun, which is lower on the horizon during winter months, to heat, massive concrete and clay plaster floors to slowly absorb heat through the day and release it at night. Surrounding trees and roof overhangs were engineered to shade the floors and prevent summer overheating. Galvalume standing seam roofing material is heat-shedding and makes attaching solar panels easy.

815 North Straw Bales

The Adamsons used barley stalk bales to construct the exterior walls.

815 North Straw bale Construction

Straw bales provide excellent R27+ insulation and require 50% less wood for framing than conventional building standards.

815 North Exterior Detail

The building's siding was constructed of natural, low maintenance, recycled and easily recyclable redwood planks reclaimed from another construction project. Leftover redwood decking was used to make planter boxes. Roofing materials was used for metal planter box frames.

815 North Limeplaster

St Astier Natural Hydraulic Lime provides a beautiful waterproofing over the straw bales and subsequent clay plaster coats. It uses just 25% of the energy to make cement based plaster and even absorbs CO2 as it cures. Lime plaster cracks less often than other comparable products and requires few, if any, control joints.

815 North Daylighted Stairway

An elegant and contemporary stairway is a recycler's dream.

814 North Reclaimed Cork Stair

Made of reclaimed redwood and eco-friendly cork, the stairway is as green as it is lovely.

815 North Recessed Windows Daylighting

By adding recessed window pockets throughout the structure the Adamsons and their tenants use fewer light fixtures during the day.

815 North Dining Lighting

Compact fluorescent light fixtures and extensive windows help the occupants use only about 1/3 of the energy of a typical house. To operate the light fixtures the house draws upon the energy generated by the solar panels.

815 North Dining and Living Area

On an annual basis, this home generates up to 70% of the energy its occupants use and houses seven people and one full-time consulting business, Eco Build, to help other homeowners achieve their dreams of building eco-friendly, energy-efficient homes.

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