Part of a continuing series on sustainable remodeling projects from across the country.

This project in the heart of Washington, D.C., integrates 21st century building science into a historically protected 1800s rowhouse.

Great effort was taken to make modifications which were environmentally sustainable and also acceptable to the Georgetown neighborhood’s historic preservation review board. The entire home was reconfigured and updated with new systems and a three-story addition at the rear, while preserving the historic character of the home. Landis Construction carefully restored the front façade’s original windows, adding weatherstripping and high-efficiency wood storm windows. A state of the art solar thermal hot water system was installed on the new reflective roof.

Restoring a century-old house in the low-lying neighborhood required careful erosion controls, including the stockpiling and protection of disturbed topsoil, controlling the path and velocity of stormwater runoff, protection of sewer inlets, and the addition of swales and erosion barriers. Project planners also installed interior and exterior gravity drainage for the foundation that directs water to a sump pit.

A new concrete basement slab was constructed with a drainage mat in lieu of gravel with a foam insulation board on top. Above that, the project team laid thick-mil plastic and wire mesh reinforcement before pouring the concrete.  An expansion joint was also created around the edges with the rigid insulation board and closed-cell, high soy-content spray foam was used to insulate the basement walls.

Other sustainable features include:

  • a densely populated location with easy access to public transportation and bicycle routes. 
  • FSC-certified dimensional lumber, plywood, and interior stair systems.
  • advanced framing techniques that saved wood, limited thermal bridging, and optimized the size of insulation cavities.
  • Demilec open-cell, high soy-content spray foam for non-basement walls and roof rafters.
  • high- recycled- content gypsum and paper wallboard.
  • engineered salvaged heart pine flooring on middle and upper floors.
  • Green Seal-certified primers and paints.
  • Fusiotherm non-metallic piping.