LEED ® Silver Lakeshore Cottage on Wooded Dunes
The process and the cost of working toward LEED certification was absolutely worth it. Most of the cost and the time commitment came in the planning. This was our first experience with LEED requirements so there was a learning curve, but that in itself was worthwhile from my perspective.
Sustainable and Livable
Michael and Joy wanted to prove that a sustainable building could be designed with the look, feel and character of a home. “We believe that sustainable building is the way of the future and we wanted to show that going green can result in comfort and beauty as well as responsible efficiency.”
Responding to Michael and Joy’s vision for their cottage, AMDG employed creative sustainable building methods without compromising the character and appeal of relaxed cottage living. Screened-in sleeping porches overlooking protected woodlands provide shading and allow passive air to move through the house. Instead of using traditional air conditioning methods, the cottage is also cooled using ‘extreme green’ ceiling fans that draw in fresh lake breezes. On a sweltering afternoon day with a cottage full of guests, the house is comfortable and still feels cool.
Salvaged, recycled and locally manufactured materials contribute to the preservation and celebration of the environment and add effortless elements of personality to the cottage. For example, an interior stained glass window acquired at an antique fair paired with efficient lighting solutions take advantage of natural daylight to brighten each room in Michael and Joy’s home.
Cottage Style with Whimsical and Natural Accents
Michael and Joy did not want their cottage to exude the stark, minimalist design often associated with sustainable building projects. “We wanted to create a cottage that felt like a Lake Michigan cottage through and through, that fit its wonderful setting, and that worked with the environment, not against or in spite of it.” The homeowners also desired that every room incorporate an element of surprise.
To reflect the tones and features of the Lake Michigan environment into the cottage, notions of nature were designed into the details of Michael and Joy’s home. For instance, Michael handset recycled scraps of marble to make a unique and fanciful kitchen island countertop that is a great conversation starter.
Every room has a similar moment of surprise, from a relaxing view of the surrounding wooded sand dunes or appealing built-in bench at the stair landing. A loft-like ceiling space in the bunk room imitates the enchanting open expanse of a night sky. Michael handmade an outdoor bluestone terrace and a bubbling fountain in the patio that reflect the sounds of rippling lake waters.
- The cottage is landscaped entirely with native plants and no turf thus requiring no irrigation.
- The building is sited to protect the majority of the existing wooded lot located atop a small dune.
- The property uses no concrete or asphalt for a 100% permeable lot.
- The water runoff from the cottage is completely managed on-site.
- The home is highly insulated resulting in an exceptionally tight building envelope.
- The energy use is decreased using high-efficiency HVAC system and an Energy Recovery Ventilator.
- The plumbing fixtures provide ultra high-efficiency water usage.
- The energy efficient lighting solutions and day-lighting resourcefully brighten the interior of the cottage.
- The use of passive cooling methods are employed in lieu of traditional air conditioning.
- The project is constructed using sustainable materials including:
- recycled decking
- locally manufactured gypsum board
- products with low VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
- salvaged finish materials