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Green Building, Residential Design

USGBC 2010 Natural Talent Design Competition

A group from the GCCDS is entering the United States Green Building Council’s 2010 Natural Talent Design Competition. This is a competition for emerging professionals or students to design an efficient green house for an elderly client in the Broadmoor neighborhood of New Orleans. Ultimately, four designs will be chosen for construction, and these will be evaluated based on the project criteria to choose a ‘winner’.

Meeting these criteria will be no easy feat. Here’s an idea of the difficult (some might say crazy) program requirements:

  • 2-bedroom, 1.5-bath, 720-880 SF house
  • LEED Platinum
  • $100,000 construction budget
  • Elevated 7 feet above grade
  • ADA accessible
  • 150 mph wind rating
  • 100′ x 30′ lot with a 70′ x 24′ buildable area

Actually, some elements are not far from what the GCCDS already builds. Our houses often come in around $70-80 a square foot, but that is based on the use of volunteer labor. They’re often elevated 8 feet or more, although those houses are rarely ADA accessible (the required ramp would be over 100 feet long, and elevators and lifts can easily cost $15-20k). We’re used to limited budgets, tight floor plans, and other constraints. We’ve even built a LEED-certified house, although LEED Platinum is a higher and more difficult standard.

I think we have chance to apply our experience and pragmatism while creating a design that pushes the boundaries of our day-to-day projects. In any case, this should be an interesting project and I’m sure it will keep us busy over the next several months.

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