Cleveland's greenest house

A new kind of home can be found at 4301 E. 71st Street in Clevelands Slavic Village neighborhood. From the outside it looks like many of the other wood-frame homes in the neighborhood. But from the inside one can see the special design features that make it the citys first affordable green homea home that can heat for less than $300 a year and that provides a remarkably healthy indoor environment for its owners.

The 2,200-square-foot home was constructed recently by GreenBuilt Homes, Ltd., a local partnership comprised of Jim LaRue (aka The HouseMender), Phil Davis, Carlton Rush, and Tesco Builders, Inc. It was designed by Building Science Corp. and Betsy Pettit Architects, Boston-based experts in green building techniques. The project was supported by the Building American program of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Features of the house include:

  • A tight building envelope to seal cracks and minimize heat gain or loss. Details include a well insulated outer wall and high-efficiency windows with double glazings.
  • Energy-conserving insulation, including insulated subslab and foundation walls under the house and a roof with R-30 insulation between the rafters, R-5 styrofoam insulation on the inside of the rafters, and R-38 cellulose insulation in the collar beam area.
  • Healthy building materials, such as kitchen countertops made of straw bonded together with resins that dont off-gas hazardous volatile organic compounds. Low-toxic paints were used throughout the house, and materials made of particle board were sealed to reduce chances of chemical off-gassing.
  • Water-saving devices installed on sinks, showers, and bath tub.
  • Energy-efficient, compact fluorescent lighting throughout the house.
  • Roof with a southern exposure not visible from the street that has been designed for future installation of photovoltaic panels (solar cells that generate electricity from sunlight).
  • Wiring for phone and cable service in each room for maximum space flexibility.
  • Recycled materials, including carpeting made of recycled plastic bottles and siding made of 90 percent recycled vinyl.

The home is so well insulated and efficient that it can be heated by the hot water tank. Total energy consumption for heating is less than a third of a conventional house. Yet the rooms are spacious and flooded with natural light.

GreenBuilt Homes plans to build similar homes in Cleveland, including two in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood as part of the Cleveland EcoVillage project. The firm seeks to set a new standard for low/moderate income housing in the city - housing that provides superior health and safety, comfort, affordability, energy efficiency, and resource efficiency.


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EcoCity Cleveland
3500 Lorain Avenue, Suite 301, Cleveland OH 44113
Cuyahoga Bioregion
(216) 961-5020
Copyright 2002-2003



Prototype green house: The GreenBuilt home on Clevelands east side provides affordable comfort while being easy on the environment.

See the new GreenBuilt house in the EcoVillage

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