Affordable LEED Gold housing comes to Dallas, with no corrugated steel or recycled tires involved

Beating the Cost of LEED: Dallas

Affordable LEED Gold housing comes to Dallas, with no corrugated steel or recycled tires involved

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    The 3,200-square foot house stands on a 50-by-150-foot lot and recalls the bungalow-style houses that came before it. But it’s a lot greener: May’s electric bill came to just $58. In the yard, drought-tolerant landscaping and drip irrigation helped nab LEED points.

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    The home’s floors are bamboo, and all paints are low- or no-VOC.

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    The fireplace facing is Coronado, a 1 ½-inch-thick veneer made of concrete. (Stone that can be drystacked isn’t readily available in the Dallas area and would need to be trucked in.)

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    Coronado veneer lines the first-floor powder room, too.

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    The semi-gloss paint used on kitchen cabinets finishes like oil, but it’s water-based and low-VOC. One of the few splurges in this sensible house is the kitchen’s glass tile backsplash.

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    A study on the first floor faces west to catch the afternoon light.

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    In the master bath, the tile contains more than 50% recycled material and a no-VOC stain.

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    The master bedroom, seen through the master bath, is on the first floor with a bay that gets southern exposure and faces the backyard. All windows are low-E2 and vinyl-clad with argon gas.

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    Adjacent to the second bedroom is a family room with a high vaulted ceiling and carpet made with recycled fibers.

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    The house includes a detached garage and a driveway that goes into the backyard. The concrete mixture contains 51% fly ash, which lightens the color and helps reduce heat absorption.

“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.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Dallas, TX.