Project Participants:Spirit Interior Design
Sons Development & Green Building Supplies
Green Upgrades to a Traditional Tahoe Cabin
We had the unique
opportunity to salvage many of our materials from a lakefront home which was destined
for the landfill. This got the ball rolling a year early and we remained active
in the project throughout construction. In addition to incorporating many recycled
products and energy efficient design it is a great example of the small house concept.
To build half as much as you think that you need and using every bit of space more
resourcefully is very green. Our original project was to double our space, but we
reconsidered. Reading lots of books about
small spaces (especially the works of Sarah Susanka) helped us realize what we really
wanted and actually needed. These books also showed us how to make a smaller space
more useable and yet seem larger. We utilized the concept of bringing the inside
out by creating useful outdoor space. We did most of the product research and planning
ourselves, as well as putting many hours of physical work this project which has
made us very invested in our new home.
Build Half as Much –
Build what you’re going to need 80% of the time. Larger homes mean use of more resources
both in construction and ongoing heating and cooling, lighting, etc. and more maintenance
(cleaning and routine maintenance). Figure out how much it’s going to cost you to
have that extra room, “just in case.” Plus, the more space you have, the more you
fill it with stuff. If you’re planning to use recycled/reclaimed material, it’s
never too early to start buying and gathering. Materials are
not always readily available when you need/want them. Same goes for off-the-shelf
green materials. We spent a lot of time researching and sourcing many of the finish
materials for our project. California and
Nevada have different regulations as far as regulated VOC content in materials sold.
If you are purchasing materials in Nevada you have to be more conscious of the content
in the materials you purchase. The Industry
still has a lot of growing to do. We spent a lot of time tracking down the low VOC
products that we needed. There are a lot of green products out there, but they might
not necessarily be what you need or might not have the quality that you are looking
for. There is not much locally available and you may need to order materials from
a distance. Order samples in advance and plan ahead.
to John Doherty, Doherty Construction, for helping us
to source many of the salvaged materials used in this project. Also, to our friend,
Sue Duerksen (former SiGBA president), our biggest cheerleader and
who offered up space in her garage for over a year giving us a place to store most
of the salvaged interior materials.
- General Contractors:
Building Energy Solutions, Reno, NV and
Kurt Schoemig of Cedar Ridge Builders
- Designer: Shoberg Design, Kings Beach, CA
- Plumbing: Moraine Sink Company, Truckee,
Vink’s Electric, Truckee, CA
- Framing: Cedar Ridge Builders, Truckee,
Basile Management Practices,
Tahoe City, CA
- Interior Design:
Spirit Interior Design, Truckee,
- Salvage Material
Sources: Habitat for Humanity; Re-Use Store,
Reno, NV; Ohmega Salvage, Berkeley, CA; Urban Ore, Berkeley, CA.
- Green Materials
Sources: Eco Home Improvement, Berkeley, CA; Green
Sacramento, Sacramento, CA; EcoHaus, Seattle, WA; Special Hardwood Products, Atlanta,
GA; Son’s Development and Green Building Supplies, Grass Valley, CA
Design, Architectural Design
Energy Solutions, General Contractor
SIZE (SF): 800
DATE OF COMPLETION:
- Salvaged wood
for interiors and decking
- Salvaged furniture
- Fly ash in concrete
- All excavated
soils remain on site for landscape.
- Prepared all
demolition and salvage materials for reuse onsite.
- All original
plumbing and wiring recycled.
- All waste sorted
to ensure maximum recycling and appropriate handling
- Original windows,
doors, fixtures, etc were sold off or donated for reuse.
- FSC specified
framing specified inside and out.
- American Clay
interior wall finish.
- Blown in polyurethane
closed cell foam insulation for exterior walls
- Ultratouch Cotton
Fiber for Interior“sound proofing"
- Quality windows/doors
selected for energy efficiency.
- All windows/doors
sealed with foam to minimize leakage.
- Overall tight
construction, blower door tested.
- Low flow toilets
and shower heads.
- Landscape to
be native and/or adaptive species for minimal irrigation
- Energy Star
washing machine and dishwasher
- Mechanical ventilation
via an energy recovery ventilator (ERV).
- High efficiency
gas fireplace on programmable thermostat
- Instant gas
hot water heater
- Dimmer and Motion
- Compact Fluorescent
- Passive solar
for natural lighting
- Plumbed and
planned for future solar hot water.
- ITRPA compliant
- Vegetate disturbed
and compacted areas