The Home

From Top: Steve Glenn, LivingHomes; Tom Darden, Make It Right, and Bridgett Luther, Cradle to Cradle

From Top: Steve Glenn, LivingHomes; Tom Darden, Make It Right, and Bridgett Luther, Cradle to Cradle

In a perfect balance of beauty and brains, the 2014 Greenbuild LivingHome blends the latest green building practices with a forward-thinking design to offer inspiration for a wide range of sustainable projects.

Imagine a future where a home’s commitment to green building could run so deep that it would not only conserve resources but also actively make things better for both its residents and the planet.

Now stop imagining, because that future is here. And you can find it at the Greenbuild LivingHome.

Created in collaboration with Hanley Wood, LivingHomes, Make It Right, and the International Cradle To Cradle Products Innovation Institute, this revolutionary show home achieves an array of lofty goals that enable it to be supremely sustainable both for the environment and its owners. And after demonstrating the latest green building technologies and practices at the 2014 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, the home will be permanently placed on a Make It Right site in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward to become part of Make It Right’s ongoing recovery efforts.

With that end in mind, the home is not only designed for exceptional sustainability, but also for superior resilience, durability, and affordability—all while maintaining a high level of design.

“Our homes are differentiated by both more modern design and an extremely comprehensive LEED Platinum–level program,” says Steve Glenn, CEO at LivingHomes, the project’s design firm. To meet this home’s unique needs, the team at LivingHomes adapted one of the firm’s original modular home designs to accommodate New Orleans’ climate. The result is a sleek, clean-lined design that looks as good as it performs. And that’s no small achievement considering the home meets both LEED v4 Platinum requirements and Energy Star v3, while also incorporating a wide range of Cradle To Cradle–certified products and criteria from the new International WELL Building Institute’s certification program.

The project’s emphasis on both efficiency and health ensure it will be sustainable both for the environment and for the home’s ultimate owners, who will be able to purchase the home through Make It Right’s recovery program.

For these buyers, having access to a LEED Platinum home makes a big impact, says Tom Darden, Make It Right’s executive director, who reports that the organization’s LEED homes in New Orleans save owners an average of $130 per month in energy costs. “We also have many homeowners reporting that their allergies or asthma symptoms have decreased or disappeared,” Darden says.

Given the challenges facing the Lower 9th Ward, the home also had to be able to withstand some of the worst conditions nature can deliver. To that end, everything from framing to roofing is optimized to keep moisture out. That includes arming windows with hurricane-resistant screen systems (an affordable alternative to pricey hurricane-ready windows), cement lap siding that sheds water, and—in case any water does get in—antimicrobial, anti-mildew drywall that can actually capture VOCs brought into the home.

But despite its ultra-high performance, perhaps what makes the home most sustainable is its ability to achieve its goals in a way that will win over customers of all kinds. Far from any feeling of frugal restraint, the home embraces the new spirit of sustainability. “It’s about abundance and enough for everybody,” says Bridgett Luther, Cradle To Cradle’s president, who adds that if everything we bought and owned made the world better, there wouldn’t be any need to cut back. Fortunately for builders and homeowners alike, that ideal is now within reach.