The Scott’s strove to meet their increasing spatial needs using environmentally responsible certified, salvaged, and alternative materials. Alan and Ana performed much of the earlier construction/installation work and the general contractor, Craftsmen Unlimited, did the bulk of the work on the addition to the master bedroom.
About 60% of the framing lumber used in the bedroom addition was salvage material from the Rebuilding Center and Endura Wood Products and about 30% was FSC certified from Collins Companies and Environmental Building Supplies. The salvaged wood was very high quality and less expensive than new wood but these savings were offset by increased labor to obtain and refinish the wood (i.e., removing old paint). Additional lumber was salvaged from the home's outer walls, that were demolished to enlarge the bedroom, and remilled cedar was used for the siding. Endura Wood Products was able to match the existing V-grove shiplap planks to dress the exterior of the new addition and retain the home’s unique and historical appearance.
The Scott’s selected bamboo flooring for their master bedroom to further reduce their project’s demand for virgin wood. While the vertical-grain material is dense and holds up well to daily use, installers had to pay extra attention when nailing because it can split if not nailed properly. The boards were finished with low toxic hard wax oil from Environmental Building Supplies. To ensure good indoor air quality, the Scotts used low-VOC interior wood finishes, including Safecoat and Aglia. They also removed vinyl flooring and carpeting throughout the house as they installed their radiant floor heating system.
The cabinets in the existing bathroom are made from FSC certified maple and veneer plywood and the countertop was covered with recycled windshield glass tile from Environmental Building Supplies.
Photovoltaic panels remain on the Scott’s list of "to dos" around the house and Alan had the foresight to start preparing while the home was under construction. More specifically, he installed a conduit for the future photovoltaic panels when the south wall was open so that he wouldn't have to repair the wallboard and paint later. Although they cannot reap the benefits of this work now, it will be much easier and less costly to complete the project in the future because of this incremental approach. On the flip side, Alan wishes that he had the same foresight with the solar water heater and the looming need to replace the roof.
Keys to Success - Construction:
- Prioritize salvage materials and specify FSC certified woods where salvage is not feasible
- Integrate alternative renewable materials such as bamboo
- Be aware of unique installation techniques with alternative materials
- Use low-toxic interior finishes and seals
- Anticipate future projects by installing necessary conduits and structural support that will enable future improvements.