Green on the outside AND inside

| by John Johnson
Green on the outside AND inside

When you mention green homes, it’s a natural to think about construction techniques, low E windows and solar panels. But as professional builders of green homes know, there is so much more to a sustainable house than what goes on the outside.

Nowhere is that more evident than at the HGTV green home on display at The Pinehills in Plymouth, Mass.  Sure, the two-bedroom, two-bath 2,500 square-foot cottage-style home has nine solar panels, drought resistant landscaping, a state-of-the-art rainwater harvesting system, Nastic-sealed ductwork and light-reflective shingles.

But the green aspect of the home is perhaps even more noticeable inside its four walls, not only in the low-flow water fixtures and Energy Star appliances, but in the entire interior design of the home. The HGTV green home was raffled off to a lucky winner on July 2. The package, which includes the house, an SUV and $100,000 in cash, is valued at $800,000.

Linda Woodrum, owner of TS Hudson Interiors in Hilton Head, N.C., and the interior designer for the HGTV green home, went out of her way to include sustainability in every aspect of the home’s interior, from locally purveyed artwork to recycled rugs and CaesarStone quartz-based countertops, which are 93 percent natural quartz and manufactured partly from recycled glass. The countertops are recommended by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“Luckily for us, this is the third HGTV green home that I’ve worked on, and there is so much more product available now that it’s almost easier to do a green home now as it is to do a regular home,” says Woodrum, who grew up in New England and welcomed the opportunity to return to her native roots to design the home’s interior. Woodrum also designed the color scheme for the exterior of the house. The house’s color palette is modeled after the movie Toy Story. A bowl of pine cones even pays homage to the home’s location in the Pinehill’s community, where pine trees are plentiful.

Of the close to 20 pieces of art found throughout the home, all were purchased between Boston and Provincetown, Mass., in order to keep as small a carbon footprint as possible.  That includes a mirror in the spare bedroom that is decorated with tightly woven pages from old magazines.

In addition, an installation of colored Lucite makes an impression as one ascends the stairs. The modern-art piece, discovered at a gallery on Boston’s plush Newbury St., pulls in the home’s color palette. “It was the most exciting find ever,” says Woodrum.

The kitchen table is made from a reclaimed barn door and was manufactured on Cape Cod. The stone fireplace is made from natural fieldstone and was harvested in such a way that the builders were able to use the entire rock and achieve a face on all four sides. The kids' bunk beds were made from reclaimed closet doors.

“There is so much excitement now from the vendors when you talk about green products,” says Woodrum.

While it’s important that the home was designed with green principles in mind, the issue extends far beyond sustainability. Green homes also strive to create high indoor air quality levels, which is another advantage of decorating with green products. Indoor air quality is also a major consideration for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification program.

Woodrum notes that non-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints were used throughout the house to limit off-gassing and that the rugs and even the fabric used for couches and other furniture are made from recycled materials. The area rugs in the home, supplied by Shaw, are also low-VOC and made from recycled materials.

The entire home is decorated in a relaxed, Cape Cod feel, something that Woodrum says catches some visitors by surprise.

“What is fun about this house is that there isn’t a green look that we are trying to convey to our audience,” she says. “We’re trying to send the message that you are not locked into a certain look by going green. A lot of people expect contemporary wood or something and are surprised by the modern cottage look when they come inside. That’s very important. We want people to embrace green and not be put off by the sense that green is restrictive.”

Topics: Appliances, Cost of Ownership, Flooring, Indoor Air Quality, Interior Design, Solar Power

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