Nassau Interests, a Darien-based real estate development firm, is one of the first builders in Darien to design and build a new home registered with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes program. By teaming up with Darien-based Neil Hauck Architects, the two local firms were able to build the new-LEED certified home at 49 Mansfield Ave.Until the beginning of 2008, LEED certification, an acronym for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design”, was geared for commercial construction. With the rollout of the full LEED program for residential construction last year, about 14,000 homes nationwide have registered, with only 3,000 receiving the LEED stamp of approval. Only a few have registered from lower Fairfield County.
“Promoting sustainable building practices is not something new for our company’s construction projects,” said Ryan Salvatore, principal of Nassau Interests and a LEED Green Associate.
Standard amenities in Nassau Interests’ new homes have traditionally featured a wide range of energy-saving features, including Energy-Star appliances, thermal-paned windows, high-efficiency rated HV/AC systems and water conservation fixtures. The new LEED program has fueled Salvatore’s desire to go beyond the minimum requirements and become recognized as the primary source for the most environmentally-friendly, green homes available on the market today.
To that end, Salvatore enlisted the help of Neil Hauck Architects to build the LEED-certified home at 49 Mansfield Avenue. Salvatore said that he and Hauck built the home to be the gold standard “Prius” of new homes, “where man’s wants meet nature’s needs.”
“Gone are the days of multi-million dollar houses that overpower the neighborhood and the environment,” Salvatore said. “The culture has changed from what it has been in recent years. Smaller, more environmentally sensible homes are taking the place of the very large homes that were in vogue in the recent past, and there is a growing demand for them in Fairfield County.”
“As we started to plan the project, Ryan and I agreed that the design should not just incorporate green building practices, but should really grow organically out of them,” added architect Neil Hauck, a LEED accredited professional. “We began by choosing a site that was within walking distance of downtown Darien and MetroNorth rail service in order to provide an option for energy-conscious buyers who wanted to lessen their dependence on the automobile.”
The home’s close proximity to downtown and the train station earned the project LEED credit for easing local travel congestion and transportation energy demands.
The partners also enlisted the services of a LEED consultant at the onset of the project to ensure compliance with the new green building standards. “Ryan and Neil met with us early in the design process to target sustainability criteria appropriate to this project. Their goal was to incorporate strategies that will provide the greatest savings in water, energy, resources, and construction dollars,” said Karla Donnelly, a LEED for Homes accredited professional at Steven Winter Associates, Inc.
Describing it as “the quintessential Connecticut farmhouse,” Hauck said that his intention in designing it “was to create a house that was simple, yet elegant, that would fit easily into the surrounding context. The farmhouse-style architecture satisfied those requirements and allowed us to move easily to a more modern, open feel on the interior.”
Sized and engineered for the site, in keeping with LEED guidelines, this 2,900-plus-square-foot, four bedroom, three-and-a-half bath New England farmhouse incorporates features that integrate green design-and-build solutions to meet indoor and outdoor environment quality standards.
In addition, the home features handcrafted millwork and paneling to add architectural character and enhance the overall aesthetics of this modern-day green house. Energy-efficient appliances, including a state-of-the-art Sub Zero refrigerator and freezer, Viking range and Miele dishwasher, reduce energy loads and water consumption. Also, lighting and temperature controls work with natural daylight to monitor thermal comfort and ultimately lower utility bills.
“We employed advanced framing techniques and used open-celled foam insulation to ensure the utmost heating and cooling efficiency in the home and will be landscaping the property with plantings natural to the environment,” Salvatore said. “Our green roof garage is an important feature of this home and speaks to our commitment to long-term sustainable construction practices.”
The unique green roof above the garage both limits the development footprint on the property and maximizes the outdoor living space on the one-third acre lot.
Hauck said: “From the main living space, you can look out on what appears to be the lawn and garden of the back yard, without realizing that the two-car garage is actually underneath it. We were able to maximize the views from the main living spaces and let in more daylight by utilizing this design technology.”
Designed to conserve energy by moderating temperature on the roof and the surrounding areas, a green roof is typically distinguished by having a layer of living vegetation installed on the top of a conventional flat or sloping roof. The soil and vegetation absorb heat during the day and cool the building underneath. The daytime heat is retained after sunset to keep the building warm at night.
Another major benefit of green roofs is their ability to absorb storm water, retaining from 60 to 100% of the storm water they receive, before releasing it slowly over a period of several hours. In addition, green roofs are said to have a longer lifespan than standard roofs because they are protected from ultraviolet radiation and the extreme fluctuations in temperature that cause roof membranes to deteriorate.
The new energy-efficient farmhouse at 49 Mansfield Avenue is scheduled for completion in January 2010, with third-party testing and verification being conducted by Steven Winter Associates, a LEED for Homes and Home Energy Rating Services provider.
For more information and to schedule a private viewing of the property, please contact Nassau Interests at 655-0303.
Nassau Interests, headquartered in the original Darien Town Hall, is a full-service residential and commercial real estate firm. The firm offers project management capabilities that range from development and analysis of market dynamics and budgets, to coordination of necessary approvals and permits, right through to execution and construction. Nassau Interests’ building services include renovations, additions, office retrofits, new home construction and commercial construction.
Neil Hauck Architects is a full-service architectural design firm serving both residential and commercial clients from its offices at 859 Post Road in Darien. Their varied portfolio of work includes new homes, home renovations, civic and commercial projects. They take a holistic approach to the process of design, whereby each project evolves as a unique response to the client’s intentions, as well as the site and surrounding context. Some of the firm’s recently completed projects include renovations and additions to the Darien Historical Society, a remodeling of the sanctuary at First Church Congregational of Fairfield, the Brooks Brothers building in Darien, and a number of private residences throughout Fairfield County.
TO VIEW THIS HOME CALL ME AT 203-554-0951 for an appointment.I plan to take pictures and post them shortly BUT IF YOU JUST CANT WAIT, GIVE ME A CALL.