“Small energy footprint” isn’t a term you’d normally associate with anything built in Dallas. But affordable, green homes are coming to town, and neither corrugated steel siding nor recycled tires are involved. This green house is craftsman-style, moderately priced (about $620K), and LEED Gold certified. It’s 6218 Llano, a 3,200-square-foot home located in a walkable neighborhood that’s a 15-minute drive northeast of downtown.
Angela and Scott Branan of Greenbrook Homes built 6218 Llano as a spec house, but it sold just a couple of weeks after the certificate of occupancy was obtained. The house sits on a quiet street in Lakewood Heights, a once-sleepy pocket of Dallas that has turned vibrant. Full of small 1920s-, 30s-, and 40s-era tract homes, for years the community was a gap neighborhood between downtown and the fashionable enclave of Lakewood. Now, young families are moving into Lakewood Heights, remodeling or tearing down the modest 1,000 -to 1,200-square-foot prairies, Tudors, and bungalows that line the streets. In this walkable community, which boasts a lake, bike and running trails, and a Whole Foods all accessible by foot, the Branans saw opportunity on a 50-by-150-foot lot.
“It seemed to be a part of town that appreciated green homes more than the rest of Dallas might,” comments Angela Branan.
LEED Gold certification was attained at a reasonable price—just $5 more per square foot compared to a similar, non-LEED Gold home. How? With a 16-seer HVAC system with an energy recovery ventilator, a combination of blown blanket and open cell foam insulation, low-E2 vinyl clad windows with argon gas, drought-tolerant landscaping with drip irrigation, low- and no-VOC paints and finishes, HardiePlank siding, WaterSense fixtures, low-flow toilets, and bamboo floors.
“We kept hearing that people were sick of the ‘North Dallas special,’ and we were, too,” says Branan, referring to the McMansions typical to Dallas suburbs that were popping up in Lakewood Heights. She points out that when the new, Craftsman-style spec house was completed, “the neighbors said, ‘thank you.’” In fact, 6218 Llano has been so well received that Greenbrook Homes has launched a similar house project two blocks away. The new project, though, pushes things even further—thanks to details like solar panels and doors made of recycled wheat, it’s LEED platinum.
Amy Albert is a senior editor at Builder.