If you turned right on Handley from Greenbriar, you’d never know that the house on your left is "green". It’s not contemporary- or modern-looking with visible concrete, steel, etc., but that’s exactly what Katherine Homan and her late husband, Dr. Richard Homan, wanted — a traditional-looking home built with very unconventional methods.
The interview in January’s magazine with Katherine Homan touches on the fact that she is "one of the foremost recyclers you will ever meet." The same is true for her house, which was built in 2001. Homan and her husband enjoyed living there together for a year and a half, before the longtime neurologist succumbed to a brain tumor.
The Homans decided to build what she calls their "healthy" retirement home before green building was all the rage. They chose carpet made of recycled plastic soda bottles, and most of the other flooring on the first floor is the actual slab foundation, texturized to look like limestone tiles. Much of the "granite" visible in the house is actually recycled granite and marble chips.
Recycled wood, technically called "structurally insulated panels" or SIPs, are covered with concrete to create the walls of their house, and solar panels on the south side of the roof power anything on a 110-volt outlet. (So when storms knock out power and render most people unable to use a computer or warm up something in a microwave, Homan is sitting pretty.)
She also has a geothermal HVAC system, which pumps 60 degree water from deep into the ground up to a furnace that heats it to whatever room temperature the thermostat calls for. "Working off a groundwater temperature that is always 60 degrees is less energy demanding than systems that work off the ambient air temperature," Homan says. Consequently, her geothermal system consumes minimal energy, working only to raise the 60 degree water temperature to the set room temperature.
Read more about the Homans’ home on the builder’s website.