The Green House

by Matthew Bushey, August 10, 2009

Earlier this summer, TruexCullins was approached with a unique proposal: Cercone Brown & Co., a Boston based PR firm, requested that our firm host a group of journalists and editors at one of our green house projects in order to demonstrate “green living” methods.South Farm Homes, a community of 6 net-zero energy residences located in the village of Hinesburg, VT, was perfect for the occasion. One of the houses was just nearing completion, and the owner graciously allowed the use of the home before moving in. The homes truly are “net-zero”, producing as much energy on-site as the buildings consume. The house used for this event has a 4,300 watt solar PV system, a solar hot water system, and a geothermal heat pump for space heat.For three weeks in May, a group of 20 top consumer, green and business editors from regional and national publications lived the “green lifestyle”, rotating through the house in small groups, living in Hinesburg and travelling to events around the area. They included writers from InStyle/Early Show green segments, Shape Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and a number of green design blogs including Eco Chic, Huffington Post & Greenopia.

Dubbed “The Green House”, the project aimed to show that building a green house and living the green lifestyle need not be expensive or inconvenient. The guests gathered and slept at the house, participated in events at places such as Shelburne Farms, dined on local food at the Inn at the Round Barn, toured Seventh Generation and Green Mountain Coffee and even test drove the new Honda Insight Hybrid. While they were staying at the house, it wasn’t all rest and relaxation. One day, the guests participated in Green-Up Day, helping to pick up trash and clean up the neighborhood around Hinesburg while another group participated in a community service garden project to aid local families in need.

TruexCullins outfitted the house with furnishings and accessories from vendors we regularly work with for many of our projects. The interior items contributed to the sustainable qualities of the home and made for a comfortable, healthy interior. Finely crafted furniture using FSC-certified wood was supplied by furniture makers Beeken Parsons , Lars Larsen and Pompanoosuc Mills. Hand-woven area rugs were provided by Beaver Meadow. Table lamps using efficient lamping and recycled materials were donated by Conant Metal & Light. Other companies that graciously offered their wares included Seventh Generation, Bennington Potters, and the Vermont Flannel Company as well as Lake Champlain Chocolates and maple syrup from Square Deal farm. Artwork was provided by Tom Cullins, Sally Reiss, Judy Minadeo, Rolf Kielman, and Doris Weeks, among others.

Our friends over at LoveTomorrowToday were at the Open House, and they filmed this video of Rolf Kielman and builder and collaborator Chuck Reiss of Reiss Building & Renovation talking about the project.

You can also read about the South Farm Homes/Green House on CasaSugar under Green Living, where editor Elka Karl highlights the renewable and energy-efficient features of the house.

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