1950s Pennsylvania Home Gets New Life with LEED, Energy Star and American Building Products Like InsulStar Spray Foam Insulation. Becomes Teaching Lab for Sustainable Building
MOUNT AIRY, NC—The small stone colonial home on Landover Road in Bryn Mawr, PA was built in the 1950s, but thanks to a local builder, it’s now a model for future home design, construction, healthy living, and using American made building products.
“It’s a brand new 60-year-old home,” says Brian Walters, owner of the home and president of Brian Walters’ Factotum, Inc., the Paoli, PA, company responsible for the extensive renovation work. Though the word “renovation” doesn’t quite describe what Walter’s did with the small colonial. “We gutted it including removal of the concrete basement floor, walls to roof and, following strict EPA guidelines, we removed all the lead based paint. At one point you could stand in the basement and look up at the sky.”
The result is a beautiful stone-clad sustainable home. Walters says he wants the 1950s home to be a teaching facility for other builders, architects, trade contractors, and home owners to really see how LEED design, Energy Star appliances, and American building products can be used and incorporated into any project from new build to renovations.
According to Walters, “We did our level best to design and build the home with as many sustainable materials as we could and we closely followed LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) guidelines. LEED is an international rating system for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, homes and neighborhoods.
The home includes green/sustainable products like concrete made from recycled content, counter tops made from quartz, most abundant material on earth and twice as strong as granite, non-porous, no off-gassing and non-absorbent. The kitchen cabinets are made from Pennsylvania Cherry and the floors from Pennsylvania White Oak, PEX tubing for the plumbing system which is corrosion proof and doesn’t transfer heat as readily, low-to-no VOC paints and finishes, low voltage and LED lighting, ERV (energy recovery ventilators) fresh air exchange system, and the Viking appliances are American-made and Energy Star-rated by DOE. This project was audited throughout the renovation process to comply with LEED certification requirements.
The Landover home also includes high-performance insulation. Walter’s says the home, like many others built in the early-to-mid 20th century, had bad, under-performing, or very little insulation. A great deal of the energy used by the home went out through the walls or up though the roof. Walter’s chose InsulStar high performance spray foam insulation (SPF), by U.S. company NCFI Polyurethanes, headquartered in NC. Our insulation contractor, Jim Reilly of Reilly Insulation Co. in Willow Grove, PA, was set on using InsulStar and we agreed with him.
“InsulStar is ideal insulation for sustainable projects. It has exceptional R-value, helps us achieve LEED standards, and the closed-cell foam is perfect for sealing the building for consistent climate control and less energy loss. It saves the homeowner lots in energy costs. Plus, just as we used the ERV system for fresh air exchange, we used InsulStar because it is an air barrier and keeps out pollutants, molds, pollen, and other airborne particulates. It’s also a water barrier, so even if mold comes in through open doors or windows, InsulStar keeps out moisture so the mold spores won’t grow. It’s a great three-in-one product and one every sustainable home should use.
“We love the fact that NCFI is one of the only U.S. companies making high performance spray foam. Since one of our tenets was to build with as many American made products as we possibly could, using InsulStar makes a great deal of sense. Plus, they have more than 40 years of experience so we knew we were covered by their technical support.”
Mitch Clifton, a director with NCFI, says his company appreciates what Brian Walters and Jim Reilly are doing. “Sustainable building is fast becoming bestpractices building and every builder, contractor, architect and home owner knows it costs less in the long-run, is safer and healthier, and will improve resell value.We applaud Brian’s creation of a hands-on learning environment with the Landover home. People need to see the finished product of LEED guidelines, good building science and American-made products. We’re glad they included InsulStar and we’re confident they will attract smart people with their message of better building.”
For more information or to arrange an interview on this subject contact Dale McGlothlin, (202) 341-8615
NCFI, headquartered in Mt. Airy, NC since 1964, manufactures polyurethane foam chemical systems for spray foam-in-place insulation (SPF), roofing, marine floatation, packaging, specialty molding, and many other uses. The company also offers a complete line of flexible foams for furniture seating, transportation seating, bedding, carpet underlay, and packaging. NCFI also has manufacturing plants in Hickory, N.C., Dalton, GA., and Salt Lake City, UT. To learn more about NCFI please visit www.NCFI.com.