HGTV home is green on the outside

| by John Johnson
HGTV home is green on the outside

Signs of green living and sustainability are in evidence long before you approach to the driveway of the HGTV green home at the Pinehills community in Plymouth,, Mass. For starters, open space abounds in this sprawling community. The Pinehills is constructed on 3,000 acres covered by forest that represents the world’s third largest pine ecosystem.

With that in mind, Pinehills developers built on only one-third of the land, leaving two acres open for every acre they develop. Nearby Old Sandwich Rd., believed to be the country’s oldest unpaved road in continuous use, has been preserved, along with the Colonial era Cornish Tavern.

With shops, doctor’s offices, a post office, a gym and much, much more, the area is designed to promote sustainability and limit the need for automobiles to get from place to place.

Then, of course, there is the HGTV home, a 2,500 square-foot cottage style home constructed by Gary and Glenn MacKenzie. Guests are met by dazzling green elements before even stepping foot into the home, which boasts the simple charm of a New England cottage. The home is 41 percent more efficient than a typical home of the same size, and it achieved a Gold overall rating with Emerald (the highest rating) in all but two categories. To see a slideshow of the home's exterior, click here.

Around the home, large native shade trees were transplanted to reduce heat build-up in and around the home. Builders relied on light-colored and highly reflective materials for the driveway, patio and walkway to lessen heat build-up. The driveway and patio pavers are made of a material that allows water to drain into the ground, as opposed to running into the storm water system. The MacKenzie’s also used light-reflective shingles to keep the entire home cooler.

The landscaping around the home proves that water-efficient plantings can in fact be elegant. A fully-blooming garden is watered with a highly efficient irrigation system that uses drip hose to minimize evaporation while putting water exactly where it’s needed. Technology is even present in the landscaping, where a rain sensor signals the system not to run when it is raining or when the vegetation has enough moisture to delay watering.

In addition, rainwater is harvested from the home’s roof into a New England-style rain barrel located near the patio grilling area. The rain barrel has a pump on top to generate pressure when using water from the system.

Many of the trees that surround the HGTV home were removed before construction, and then strategically re-planted around the home. Trees that had to be permanently removed were shipped to nearby Cape Cod, where they were used to stabilize river banks and improve trout habitat as part of the Eel River Headwaters project. Builders even figured out a plan for the sand removed for the home’s foundation – it was shipped to local cranberry farmers who used it in valuable bog restoration projects.

Topics: Building Green, Landscaping, Photovoltaic / Solar Panels, Solar Power, Water Quality, Water Saving Devices

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