Living Green House and Conservation Garden
You’ve read all those articles about living “green” – maintaining your home in a manner that uses less energy, produces less waste, and is kinder to Mother Earth. Now don’t you wish you could go somewhere that actually shows you, up close and hands-on, how it can be done?
On June 20, 2009, the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News opened the Goodson House, a “Living Green House” environmental education center. In its exhibit house and yard, homeowners, architects and contractors can see all the latest techniques and products they can use to build and maintain an earth-friendly home, presented in a way that makes them visible and understandable to the general public.
The museum’s Green House is the first of its kind in Virginia and one of the first anywhere in the United States.
Green House Features
The 600-square-foot exhibit house includes these features:
Recycled building materials, including salvaged lumber and wood-like siding made from recycled paper.
- Alternatives to PVC piping and to treated lumber for decking.
Roofs covered with living plants, which both insulate and reduce water runoff, that can be installed on homes, garages, sheds, porches or businesses.
Solar photovoltaic panels, a solar water heater, passive solar heating and radiant floor heating, daylighting and natural ventilation.
Alternative wall systems and alternative insulation systems.
Collection of storm water in rain barrels and cisterns.
Geothermal heat pump and cooling unit.
A computer kiosk where visitors can calculate their own carbon footprint.
- A solar fountain that demonstrates the power of the sun. (This exhibit is available for purchase by other museums, zoos and aquariums. Please call 757-595-1900 ext. 212 or email for information.)
The house is named the Goodson House in honor of the contributions made to the museum by long-time supporter George Goodson, his family and their company, Warwick Plumbing and Heating Corp.
Architect was Watershed of Richmond. Builder was Calvin S. Collins Contractor, Inc., Newport News.
The 3,000-square-foot “Conservation Garden” features earth-friendly gardening techniques: the use of native plants, mulching and composting to reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. It shows how proper landscaping methods can reduce storm water runoff that pollutes local waterways, while proving food, water and shelter for wildlife.
The $315,000 project was partially funded by a $150,000 matching grant from the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network. The garden portion of the project was also being supported through a donation from the local Huntington Garden Club.
Additional donations provided by:
Walls, insulation and windows
US Dept of Energy:
ICF walls: http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11640
Icynene ® spray in insulation http://www.icynene.com/
SIP panels http://www.sips.org/content/index.cfm?pageId=269
AirKrete® insulation http://www.airkrete.com/faq.php
Efficient Windows Collaborative http://www.efficientwindows.org/factsheets/virginia.pdf
Aquatherm pipe http://www.aquathermpipe.com/
Energy and lighting
Solar hot water heaters: http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=12850
Solar electricity http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/consumer/solar_electricity/basics/index.htm
Solar panels http://www.solarpanelinfo.com/
Geothermal or ground source heat pumps: http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/heating_cooling/geothermal.html
Velux tubes http://www.veluxusa.com/solar_tube.htm
Compact fluorescent bulbs: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls
VA Gov. Assessing Your Home’s Energy fitness:
Lighting fixtures approved by the International Dark Sky Association:
Gardening /backyard habitats
National Wildlife Federation – creating a backyard habitat:
U.S Fish and Wildlife ‘Bayscaping’ http://www.fws.gov/chesapeakebay/Bayscapes.htm
Plants to avoid in the southeast U.S. (N.C. Botanical Garden site) http://ncbg.unc.edu/pages/74/
Native plants for landscaping:
Invasive plant species to avoid: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/documents/invlist.pdf
Rain barrels http://www.composters.com/rain-barrels.php
Pervious paving ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/IA/news/PerviousPaving.pdf
Light pollution http://astronomy.concreteairship.com/martin-lewicki/lpgallry.htm
and a NASA composite satellite photo of the world at night showing light pollution:
Green Roof research Program at MSU (with good photos of green roofs)
Green roof http://www.greenroofs.com/Greenroofs101/faqs.htm
District of Columbia links to online tours for a collection of "showcase" green roofs demonstrating the best the city has to offer. Over the last six years, Washington D.C. has been quietly developing one of the country's best green roof programs. An initial demonstration program was followed by a green roof subsidy in 2007, and the result has been an explosion of space-effective, stormwater-slurping green roofs. D.C. has now compiled an inventory of approximately 75 green roofs in the District, each over 1,000 square feet, with total area coverage of ~350,000 square feet.