Special offer

Southern Home Design - Can Southern Homes be 'Green'? Part 2

Services for Real Estate Pros with Tim Barron Architect, Inc.

Southern Home Design - Can Southern Homes be ‘Green'? Part 2

When I design Southern Home Plans for my clients, the use of energy and stewardship of natural resourses is always a big consideration. In my last post, I was exploring how the old Southern Home would rate using the 9 LEED certification categories.  Let's continue:

The Southern Home would probably get a zero in Energy & Atmosphere.  That was before we knew about insulation, and the old wood burning stoves were not very efficient at heating water. [They did double as space heaters - even in the summer!] The windows were not high performance, and nothing met energy star. Of course they were also "off the grid"... let's move on.

Southern Home PlansSouthern Homes were very impressive in their stewardship of Materials & Resources. LEED gives points if 20% of the materials used are manufactured - and if 50% are harvested, extracted or recovered - within 500 miles. Very little of the old Southern Home came from more than 50 miles away! Often farm and plantation homes were built with wood that was cut when they cleared the site to build the home. Bricks were manufactured locally throughout the south (still are, to some degree), and finishes usually consisted of whatever was locally available (although some special finishes were brought from Europe on trading ships). Construction waste was scrupulously avoided, and whatever waste there was didn't leave the site (it was often burned to heat water).Southern Home Plans

Indoor Environmental Quality was pretty good in old Southern Homes - unless the ‘heater' was ‘on'.  They were known for plenty of fresh air (sometimes they were downright drafty), so the indoor air quality matched the (usually excellent) outdoor air quality. And there were no ‘Garage Pollutants' - they knew better than to put the stable too close to the house! And I still admire the way they used natural daylight to enhance the feeling of health inside the home.

Southern Home ParkSouthern Homes can teach us a lot about Location and Linkages as well. OK, they wouldn't get points for building where the infrastructure was already in place, there wasn't a lot of Urban or ‘Brown-field' Redevelopment, and they weren't always close to mass transit (weren't many bus stops back then). But they were very close to the inhabitants' employment. And talk about Access to Open Spaces - WOW! Old Southern towns and cities were laid out so you were never over a quarter mile away from a park. And you just have to admire the way they always found the Preferred Location on a piece of property and sited the home just right.

This gets us up to the last 3 categories, which I will cover in Part 3.

If you'd like to ask any questions about the ‘Green' features  in the Southern Home Plans I design, just send mailto:Tim@TimBarron.com