LEED Allen

Happy Earth Day, CandysDirt.com readers!

What a wonderful day to celebrate everything easy on the Earth, things that go in the ground, and all of the fabulous homes that help to reduce your ecological footprint using energy-efficient design and finishes. Today we want to show off the great variety of homes you can find on the market today in a multitude of neighborhoods that are all LEED Certified. Whether in the Dallas Arts District, Midway Hollow, Fort Worth, or Allen — green homes are everywhere today and come in so many different styles. From chateaus to condos, there’s something for everyone who wants to tread lightly on the Earth!

Jump to see our list of the top 5 LEED Certified homes in North Texas!

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A Bed Over My Head HH Parade

B.A. Norrgard’s tiny home was towed down Newell in Hollywood Heights during the neighborhood’s annual Easter parade last weekend. (Photo: Jo England)

Perhaps you already saw B.A. Norrgard’s adorable 112-square-foot house on wheels at the Hollywood Heights Newellian Easter Parade this year? Or maybe you saw it in this BuzzFeed video?

Well, if you haven’t yet seen inside the super cute but VERY COZY little home documented on Norrgard’s blog, you’ll have another chance to see it during Earth Day Texas. Norrgard will open the teacup cottage to visitors and talk about what she call’s “lifestyle repackaging” but is also known as “extreme downsizing” during the free April 24-26 event at Dallas’ art deco gem, Fair Park. She’ll also talk about the prospect of tiny house communities in Dallas, which is an idea we’re absolutely smitten with.

Jump for more information on Earth Day Texas!

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Trammell S. Crow

Earth Day Texas founder Trammell S. Crow is the keynote speaker for the free, one-day sustainability conference on Friday, March 20, hosted by Cedar Valley College in Lancaster. (Photo: David Woo/DMN)

Ready to make your great business dream a reality? Lancaster’s Cedar Valley College, a Dallas County Community College District campus, is hosting a sustainable communities conference 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, March 20, featuring real estate scion and Earth Day Texas founder Trammell S. Crow as the keynote speaker, as well as soil biologist Dr. Elaine Ingahm. The conference is called H3: A Responsible Pathway. The “H3” stands for “head, heart, and hands” as that’s what attendees will use to focus their commitments to a sustainable community.

There are three tracks available for the free, one-day conference: People, Planet, and Economy. Jump to find out more about how to register.

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Urban Reserve

While all of the homes in the Urban Reserve development are ecologically sensitive, you don’t have to have a gorgeous, modern home to go green.

If you’re considering selling your home in the next few years, every dollar you spend on making your house more energy efficient will add value to your home — and sometimes help you make a profit!

Of course, there are some easy fixes and no-brainers, but these are the top 10 tips to get your house green before you sell!

10. Get an energy audit.

Sometimes your power company can help you get discounted services for energy audits, but like a thorough home inspection, finding out your home’s weak spots will help you capitalize on home renovations.

9. Seal your windows …

You’d be surprised how much air loss occurs on and around windows. A tube of caulking will help fix this issue, which is common in our area due to the fluctuations in humidity and temperature, which causes caulking to expand and retract.

8. … or replace them with Energy Star-qualified brands

This is a splurge, but it’s a huge selling point, especially in older homes. It’s hard to sell a home built in the 1950s with the original windows, so make the investment in some double-paned vinyl windows that will help keep your home cooler and lower your bills.

7. Mind the gap under your doors.

Replacing weather stripping around exteriors doors — including the garage door — can make a huge difference. They experience a lot of wear and tear, and aren’t expected to last much longer than a decade.

6. Install a radiant barrier.

If you think it gets hot in your attic, imagine how much cooler it would be if you installed reflective insulation, also known as a radiant barrier. This cuts cooling costs by keeping convection at a minimum.

5. Upgrade your insulation.

Insulation loses loft and R factor over time, so consider an upgrade if you haven’t already. The higher the R factor, the better, and there are lots of options and businesses that can do all the work for you and clean up afterward.

4. Consider water-friendly landscaping.

We love Conservation Grass, but there are other options such as xeriscaping and native plants. Our favorite landscape company, Harold Leidner Landscape Architects, can help you choose the water wise landscape that is best for your property.

3. Upgrade to a tankless water heater.

Not only does a tankless water heater use less energy, but you’ll waste less water waiting for the tap to heat up. Besides that, it’s definitely a selling point for any home.

2. Upgrade appliances.

Some people upgrade their cooktops, ovens, and ranges sheerly for looks. When buying a new kitchen appliance — like a refrigerator, for example — consider purchasing a brand that is energy stingy.

1. Have your air conditioning and furnace serviced regularly.

I got this tip last fall, and I can already tell that my A/C unit is running more efficiently. Just like cars that need oil changes, your HVAC units need regular tuning and maintenance, too.

Did we mess a good energy saving tip? Comment below!

 

2001 N. Buckner FrontWelcome to the ultimate Green Structure in Dallas! That’s 2001 North Buckner Blvd, now listed with Vicki White of Dallas City Center. This is such a unique home, I am going to let Vicki do the talkin’ here, because she knows more about this home than anyone– maybe even the owners! 2001 Buckner was built in 1989, sits on, or I should say under, 1.84 acres, boasts 4561 square feet, three bedrooms, three baths, two living areas. Asking price: $1,150,000. Lowest utility bills in town. About the address – yes, the owners went to the city and applied for that number. Get it? 2001 A Space Odyssey! Here is another plus: the home has often referred to as a bunker, a perfect solution for those that are looking for the highest level of security. In addition, cameras mounted front and back give you 24/7 access to activity from any computer in the world. This coming after the disastrous week we had last might sway a few potential buyers!

“It is known to almost everyone in east Dallas/ White Rock area as “the underground house.” It’s a completely ‘Green’ house, built just before green living was all the rage. Yet that is exactly what the architect Frank Moreland and the home owner were working to achieve. With more than 100 tons of reinforced concrete over the dwelling, and 1000 tons of earth on top of the concrete, it is not only extremely energy efficient, it is also almost eerily quiet. The summer that temperatures in Dallas soared over 100 degrees for more than 70 days, the total electric bill for June, July and August combined was just over $200.00 in this house. Energy efficiency and security are what this home is all about.

This creek lot on 1.84 acres overlooks thick, lush foliage along Ash Creek. No other homes or buildings can be seen from the windows or the scenic back porch. There is a 100’ foot expance of windows going across the front (facing away from Buckner) that make you feel like you are living in a countryside or forest. Above the house, actually 22’ up from the living room floor is a turret of glass blocks protruding above the hill facing east and west. This allows sunlight to pour into the house below. Since there are no right angles in the walls, but only rounded corners, the light filters throughout the living areas, making it light and bright, so much you often need no lights during the daytime.

The only evidence that this 4561 square foot home exists on this property is the concrete three car garage that is imbedded in the hillside. It looks like a beautiful treed lot with greenery and a soft hill. Even the driveway, which will hold over a dozen cars, was built from Turfstone pavers, a grid- type base that allows grass to grow between the grids. This makes the driveway somewhat visually go away.

Architect Frank Moreland broke ground on 2001 N. Buckner in 1989 and the home was competed in 1991. Mr. Moreland stated this home would last well over 1000 years as it is protected from the elements and is considered almost fireproof.  Land disguises a dwelling in addition to the 1000 tons of earth, and 100 tons of reinforced concrete, and 60 tons of steel. Each piece of rebar was individually tagged and put together like a puzzle. It took 72 truckloads of concrete to pour the foundation, some of it as much as 6’ deep. Talk about secure: the contractor in charge of the concrete pour had just retired after pouring several rocket pads for Cape Kennedy. The home is as cozy as can be, but large enough to seat 60 people in the large great room!! There is bench seating built into the 1500 square foot living room that can seat 45.

The architect of the property was the late Frank L. Moreland, a Fort Worth native. Mr. Moreland was highly recognized in his field as an esteemed architect, college professor and author of four books on architecture and design, specifically about earth sheltered houses which were his passion. He received numerous degrees from UT Austin and TCU, meeting all the requirements for his doctorate. He earned his master’s degree at UC Berkley. He was highly influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright. Later he became a professor at Penn State and the University of Texas where he taught architecture. In 1975, he coordinated a National Science Foundation conference on earth-covered buildings and edited the published proceedings; he did the same for the Department of Energy in 1979. In 1981, he prepared a report for FEMA. That was the year he left academia to follow his passion and become a contractor and start his own firm to build sustainable buildings as well as “earth sheltered” homes. That’s the “proper term” for the underground house, by the way. His inspiration was a professor from the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Texas: “He was an inspiration, and deeply influenced my interest in structures, particularly concrete. I vividly recall his presentation of the performance of reinforced concrete structures in the massive 1950s earthquake in Mexico City.”

He built 9 other earth sheltered houses before 2001 North Buckner, but this was his first in an urban setting.

The current owner had an interest in earth sheltered homes for many years. His curiosity caused him to start researching the concept and seeking an architect and designer. Then he began his search for the perfect lot. Meanwhile, Architect Frank Moreland had begun having private meetings in his home in Fort Worth attended by 6 or 8 couples for interested parties. He showed videos of his renderings and designs for earth sheltered homes and launded their benefits. Current owner Bill Coleman began attending those meetings and was smitten!

Coleman found the 1.8 acre plat on Buckner that backed to Ash Creek. Knowing that the earth sheltered part would be along Bucker to buffer noise, and the front door would essentially face the Creek. It is VERY quiet in his home. Coleman stated “Solitude in the middle of the city is one thing I’ve particularly grown to appreciate –“It’s like a park.”

Originally, this land had been under contract with a developer that wanted to erect 5 homes in that 1.8 acres rather than one.

After construction was complete, the owner commissioned renowned artist Carmen Valarde from Taos New Mexico to work on the interior. Carmen came to Dallas from Taos, New Mexico along with 3 men and her grandson. During those three weeks, with her own hands, Carmen applied the adobe surface to the three Kiva fireplaces, and a large banco (the benches surrounding the great room). She also built privacy walls, display walls and built in cabinets. They all have the flavor of a Taos style building.

Carmen is a household name in Taos. She received from the Smithsonian Institute and National Park Service a Certificate of Appreciation for her contribution to the Festival of American Folk life, and a host of other awards. She was even invited twice to represent New Mexico by the Smithsonian Institution of Washington D.C.

Bill Coleman and his wife, Mirella, purchased the land in 1985. When they broke ground they had a $500,000 budget. After a year of building, and ANOTHER $500,000 to the pot, they took a 9 month sabbatical to evaluate and discuss. It took 2 years from start to finish and the sheltered earth home, the first in Dallas, was finished in 1990.

Insurers take note: Mr. Coleman’s earth sheltered home has very low insurance risk thus low rates, since there is no chance of hail damage on the property as well as the fact it is said to be semi-fire resistant rated by the State of Texas due to the fact that it is a concrete structure and floor, likened to a commercial building. Architect Frank Moreland stated that this homes’ rock solid construction gives the structure a life expectancy of 1,000 years and beyond.

Let’s face it: this is the ultimate ‘GREEN’ building. Now the top of the house is covered in solar panels that decrease the energy by 1/3rd. While the property is very low upkeep, you still have to mow and water the roof!!

Here is another plus: the home has often referred to as a bunker, a perfect solution for those that are looking for the highest level of security. In addition, cameras mounted front and back give you 24/7 access to activity from any computer in the world. This coming after the disastrous week we had last might sway a few potential buyers!

2001 N. Buckner Living 2001 N. Buckner Office 2001 N. Buckner Kitchen 2001 N. Buckner Dining 2001 N. Buckner Roof