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Green Building News

Turning a Remodel Into a Showcase

North Carolina custom builder Bill Beasley got deep into green details during the remodel of his Durham home, and won an NAHB Green award for his effort

Vaulted The living room of Bill Beasley’s Green Makeover Home, which won NAHB’s Best in Green Home Building award in the Single-family Remodeling Project of the Year category.
Image Credit: Cat Wilborne

Back in May, during the National Green Building Conference in Dallas, the National Association of Home Builders presented “Best in Green Home Building” awards in 15 categories, including Single-family Remodeling Project of the Year.

The pool of green makeover projects is growing rapidly, and we realized we had yet to elaborate on this one, which involved North Carolina builder Bill Beasley’s extensive remodel and expansion of his mid-1980s home, in Durham.

Basically, Beasley deconstructed much of the original dwelling, retained the roof, walls, and foundation, reused the materials he could, donated or recycled most of the rest, constructed the home for airtightness and insulation, and almost doubled its size, to 4,340 sq. ft., in the process.

At the end of it all, Beasley came away with a really nice house to live in and a large-scale demo for the green building practices he endorses. As GBA Advisor Michael Chandler has noted, Beasley is a “fellow shelter nerd” who, like Chandler, has taken an active interest in the development of NAHB’s National Green Building Standard. He also has worked to spread the NAHB Green ethos to builders in North Carolina’s Piedmont area, co-founding the Green Home Builders of the Triangle and helping other builder associations in the region join the program.

Red-B goes for the Gold

Beasley and his custom-home company, Red-B Construction, present the project as a case study of how a remodel of a poorly insulated home can, despite the addition of substantial floor space, land a HERS rating of 50. Red-B created a website for the project – The Green Makeover Home – that also points out the house is expected to earn a Gold certification from Green Home Builders of the Triangle, which uses NAHB Green guidelines.

A list of project highlights notes that the existing home’s foundation and much of the overall structure was reused, including 2×4 studs, doors, cabinets, stairs, and interior trim. Spray foam insulation was used in the attic and portions of the walls, and the building’s HVAC system features 16 SEER air conditioning, variable-speed, dual-stage air handlers, and a furnace that offers 95% annual fuel utilization efficiency.

The home also includes energy-efficient casement windows and patio doors, no-formaldehyde carpets, low-VOC paints, adhesives, and flooring. A 1,700-gallon cistern holds 80% of the rainwater runoff from the roofs, which is redistributed to the landscape. The house also is equipped with a gray water recovery system.

It was an expensive project. A recent story about it, published by the Herald-Sun, a Triangle-based paper (registration required), noted that this all-out remodel ended up costing about $700,000 above the $250,000 purchase price of the house – although the expansion alone would have been a budget buster for most people even without adherence to green standards. But as Beasley points out on the Green Makeover site, the main point of the project is to show how green construction techniques and materials might be applied to a remodel of almost any scale, how waste can be reduced, and how a home’s performance can be greatly improved.

“I’m kind of on a mission,” Beasley told the Herald-Sun, “to take this company and use it to educate people on the importance of green homes.”

One Comment

  1. Peggy Deras | | #1

    Re: Turning a Remodel Into a Showcase
    and almost doubled its size, to 4,340 sq. ft...

    What the heck is green about such a remodel?

    No matter how efficient the house becomes, it is still double in size.

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