by Nicole Jewell: Many people may be in love with our beautiful earth, but Maryland resident, Ed Gaddy is straight up infatuated…
Recently featured in the Baltimore Sun, the eco-warrior has spent seven years fulfilling his dream of building an ultra-efficient home. Designed in collaboration with friend and architect Miche Booz, the home has many sustainable features hand-picked by Gaddy to reflect his fervent commitment to environmental preservation. The result is an architectural “love letter to the environment.”
Gaddy first purchased the 1.22-acre lot located in Clarksville, Maryland in 2010. The property is just a mere 10-minute walk to his office, eliminating the need for a car. Gaddy told the Baltimore Sun that his initial objective was to build a beautiful three-bedroom home that was self-sustaining. Before breaking ground however, he and Booz decided to shoot for the impressive goal of achieving all three of the major sustainability certifications: LEED, Living Building Challenge, and Passive House
“The three certifications reflects his commitment and passion for this particular subject,” Booz said. “I would say it bordered on a fixation, and a good one. It’s his way of contributing to what he considers a crisis on the planet. He was all in — financially, emotionally and intellectually.”
To start the project, the home had to be orientated to take advantage of optimal sunlight during the day, warming the interior in the winter months and shading the interior during the summer heat. High-efficiency windows were installed throughout the home to avoid air loss.
All of the construction materials in the design were selected for their zero or low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Additional finishings like paint and tiles, along with the flooring, were chosen for their durability or potential for future recycling such as the kitchen’s stainless steel countertops. The appliances in the kitchen and bathroom are the highest rated in terms of efficiency. For water conservation, the bathrooms were equipped with toilets that use less than a gallon per flush and waterless urinals were also installed. Point-of-use water heaters in both the bathrooms and the kitchen reduce the time it takes to run hot water to the faucets.
As far as energy generation, the home is equipped with a solar array and there’s a heat recovery ventilator that transfers heat and cold throughout. According to Gaddy, they also installed top-of-the-line heat pumps, but the structure’s 18-inch thick, three-layer insulation ensures they are rarely necessary.
Outside, almost as much detail was put into landscaping as was the home design itself. The lot was landscaped to reduce runoff and a collection system directs rain to a large underground cistern for greywater use. Native plants were planted in the raised garden beds, and they put in a vegetable garden, along with cherry, apple, walnut and peach trees.
Thanks to this amazing sustainable profile, Gaddy’s dream home has achieved two of the three green certifications so far. It has been certified as LEED Platinum, as well as a Net Zero Energy Building by the International Living Future Institute. They expect to receive the Living Building Challenge certification soon. The Passive House classification has been denied to Gaddy due to a small hitch concerning a failed airtightness test. Gaddy is currently working on fixing the issue and will hopefully achieve that certification soon. So, what is your love letter to the environment?