Be energy efficient with Sustainable Sanctuary Homes.
What is a “green” home? Sustainable Sanctuary Homes has a mission to build or renovate homes so that they are attractive, comfortable, healthy and significantly more efficient than a home built to meet current building codes. A home built by SSH uses renewable materials as well as requires less water, energy and maintenance.
“I have always enjoyed building and renovating homes but was only able to do that as a hobby in the past,” said owner and founder of Sustainable Sanctuary Homes, Henry Liedtka. “The technology available to make a home more efficient and less impactful to the environment has grown in leaps and bounds but no one in our area has been building them. I think there is an untapped demand for environmentally friendly homes in the Montclair area.”
Being a green home means different things depending on the design and features of the home. One main feature of a “green” home has to do with the insulation and air sealing. According to Liedtka, well insulated homes uses less energy, are much quieter and will be more comfortable because the temperature inside the home will change slowly. Additionally, well insulated/air sealed homes allow the use of alternative heating/cooling systems and need an active ventilation system to bring in fresh air and exhaust stale and humid air. Modern ventilation systems will filter the air coming in and recycle the heat associated with the stale air as it leaves the house. This is not only more energy efficient but reduces the amount of dust and dirt entering the house and helps reduce allergy symptoms for the people that live there.
There is a planning process involved in building a Sustainable Sanctuary Home – or renovating a conventional home. According to Liedtka, planning a sustainable home includes determining which specific “green” features or products are appropriate for a specific site or building and where to locate the main living areas. One example of some changes that might be needed is if a building site is true south facing, as this is an opportunity to incorporate passive solar heating features in that house. Some ways of increasing solar heating are putting more windows on the south facing side of the house and placing the main living areas on the south facing side of the house.
One way that Sustainable Sanctuary Homes renovates older homes is by making sure to blend their projects into the old environment. “In one of our projects we are incorporating large water retention tanks that capture rainwater to be used later on to water gardens and plantings,” said Liedtka. “Large water tanks sitting next to a house are not attractive but we were able to incorporate them into that plan because the property was sloping and this allowed us to bury the tanks. Another builder would have just leveled that entire piece of property instead of blending the new home and the water tanks into the existing slope and terrain.”
There are a few projects that Sustainable Sanctuary Homes is currently working on, both in the planning and permitting phase. The first to break ground will be a “green” renovation of a 1950 Colonial home on Mount Vernon Road. The other project is a new build of a small sub-division on Elm Street which will contain two single family homes and a 2 family house. The sub-division plan requires a zoning variance and is subject to approval by the Montclair Planning Board. Be sure to stay up to date with SSH news to check the progress on these processes.
Sustainable Sanctuary Homes was born in Montclair, but they are looking at opportunities in and around Montclair. “[Working in Montclair] has been great and I have certainly enjoyed working with some very talented people,” said Liedtka. “Paul Sionas and Alan Trumbulak have helped me immensely and have been key supporters of the new business. The values of our company are aligned with the large number of Montclair residents that embrace environmentally friendly approaches and ideals. The housing stock in Montclair is old and the need to renovate and revitalize the town’s beautiful homes is a constant. Why not do that in an environmentally friendly way?”
If you wold like more information about Sustainable Sanctuary Homes or find out if you’re living in a green home, visit their website at www.sustainablesanctuaryhomes.com.