Residential Retrofit in the Mountains

Residential Retrofit in the Mountains

Green Builder® Media’s ReVISION House® at Rancho La Garita, high in the Colorado Rockies, showcases sustainability and serenity.
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ReVISION House at Rancho La Garita

Green Builder Media

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 8:00am

CAMPAIGN: VISION House at Mariposa Meadows

CONTENT: Article

Sometimes it's best to leave well enough alone—a green building lesson not always taken. Green Builder’s renovation of the ReVISION House® at Rancho La Garita is a study in keeping what works, recycling materials and upping the green quotient of a home that was built in 1990.

In this residential retrofit, keeping what works means leaving the log home structure with its metal roof intact. Ron Jones, president and cofounder of Green Builder® Media, as well as the home’s remodeling contractor, says the 3,000-square-foot house with its zoned radiant heat flooring is comfortable even in the coldest temperatures.

A Solid Envelope

Built in 1990 out of D logs—logs that have their natural rounded contour on the outside and are milled flat on the inside—the three­-bedroom home was designed to take advantage of passive solar heating, facing south to capture the winter sun. Jones sets the radiant floor heating to 62°F, and it stays that way on the coldest nights, some of which are below zero. When the sun shines, the home’s temperature naturally rises to the 70s for daytime comfort.

When installing the Whirlpool vent fan for the range, Jones discovered that the logs have fiberglass insulation between each log, which in addition to the chinking makes a reasonably tight wall. He guesses that the roof insulation is roughly R­-38. The Log Association notes that depending on wall thickness, the R-value of a log wall is equivalent to standard insulated framed walls; however, the thermal mass of the thick walls slows the transfer of outdoor temperatures to the indoors.