SEED’s high performance home is under construction in McLean, Virginia
SEED homes was born of the tech savvy new age with the original craftsmanship and artistry that comes with the years of seasoned expertise. They phrase it quite nicely on their ‘about us’ section of their website: “Comprised of engineers, sustainable building professionals and experienced builders, SEED is not your traditional construction company. Although the company was recently formed, SEED pulls on decades of construction experience, extensive sustainable construction education, technological expertise, an exhaustive list of partners and supporters, and dedication to environmental responsibility to succeed.”
“In doing so, SEED bridges the generational divide in construction. The experienced builders – those that have been building quality homes in the area for decades but have been slow to adopt environmentally friendly practices – have teamed up with young professionals – those known for their passion for conservation, technological savvy, and innovative design.”
Even though SEED is a very young company, a seedling – if you will- this passion for the environment and knowledge of the industry has been poured into the first couple of projects. Vic notes that the first homes that SEED built were really trying to “show the value” of the custom homes of the past, “while adhering to green practices and the understanding of today’s modern family.” Taking at look at SEED’s newest construction project, a spec-home located at 6606 Chesterfield, McLean, VA (aptly named, The Forester), you can see the alignment of Vic’s sustainable principles hard at work with his father’s established building practices.
From the outside of this home- standing in the Southernmost exposure and what will soon be the permeable drive, this generously sized home, wants to draw you in. In its current state of construction, the home has been meticulously wrapped in Dow’s Structured Insulated Sheathing which is a vapor and water barrier, then where the super-energy-efficient Jeldwyn windows and doors have been placed were carefully flashed to prevent moisture penetration. Not even walking inside of the construction yet, the layman can even tell that this home will be a high performance home! From a sustainable builder’s standpoint, this home has pulled out all of the stops. Vic established his team before the plans were finalized. The tradesmen he uses have been utilized by his family’s construction companies for many years and are all local subcontractors. Speaking of plans, Vic has gone above and beyond the call of any project manager’s duty by writing up a section of the plans that define each of the trades responsibilities for their part in creating a home that is high performance and LEED or energy star rated. This is something that made my jaw drop and I wanted to give Vic a high-five for it, but he was in the middle of talking to his long time drywall man… The fact that each of the trades can view what their part is before they even get to their scheduled time for their work is astonishing and I feel should become commonplace in the building industry. In the building process, organization is key and having your team established from the outset and on the same page by sending plans over to subs and allowing them to review before the building commences is normal, but going the extra mile to show the trades how LEED certification comes into play is phenomenal. Kudos to SEED Homes for establishing this precedent for builders everywhere.
Since the home is still mostly just framed out, with electrical being dropped in while we walk through, I know it is hard to imagine, for some people, where things will actually go and how the house will flow where there are beams all around, but this home is going to be high performance, efficient, functional and above all, grand. With two master suites, one on the bottom floor with a French doors out to a screened in porch over looking a sizable back yard and the 2nd master suite as the entire eastern portion of the upstairs, any sort of family can find functionality in this home. Healthy living is very important to SEED homes, and the fact that they look into all facets of life, and how people will actually use this home shows an amazing amount of forethought. There are numerous spaces in this home for relaxing and using the delicious outdoors as a retreat. Even in the current state, some mama birds have grasped this idea and nested in the eves of the 2nd story terrace. Don’t worry, the birdies will be lovingly relocated before someone moves in!
Vic takes note of the exceptional living spaces: “Communal sitting areas are important. That’s why we have several spaces to relax. I love this evening lounge and the terrace beyond. From here you can monitor kids or just take it easy.” The purchasing homeowner will rejoice and revel in the custom kitchen which will be outfitted with top of the line energy star rated appliances will be housed in the very spacious kitchen with a lovely surprise… the pantry will be built into the “cabinets” so it looks like it is just another set of cabinets, but in all actuality, in true Webster styling… it is a secret walk in pantry! Who wouldn’t love that each bedroom comes with its own bath and walk in closet?! A short distance down the hall, the home is pre-wired for a custom elevator; if the purchasing homeowner so chooses, the elevator can be installed in the shaft, or the three levels can become large closets. In the fully finished basement, there will be a state of the art media room complete with black out blinds and totally wired for an iPod doc and surround sound.
Also in the basement, is what we all love to call the “brains” of the house: the main HVAC and Energy Recovery Ventilation system. Since the home is so tightly enveloped by the insulating SIS foam core, the home needs to cycle in fresh air. This will be accomplished with the ERV. Vic mentions that the 18 SEER Bryant system (code is 13 SEER, so they have outdone themselves again) “rivals geothermal” technology and will “give the homeowner something like 65% of energy savings.” There is also a 2nd HVAC system in the fully conditioned attic space. High-fives are flying around “The Forester:” the air conditioner installers spent over a week sealing all of the duct work throughout the house after they installed it. You can see that they were quite careful to prevent leakage by applying mastic over all joints and ducts. All of this talk about “brains” and we haven’t discussed the rainwater collection system yet! The back portion of the home will allow for over 50% of the roof’s run off to be collected into rain barrels. The water run off in the rain barrels will provide irrigation for the native and drought tolerant plants which the home will ultimately be landscaped with. The front yard will have a rain garden which will receive excess water run off from the driveway to prevent the water from going into the watershed. The water inside of the house will have a reverse osmosis system for ultra pure drinking water for more healthy living!
Understanding your surrounding and how you are going to live functionally and sustainably in your living space is imperative. Vic Puri and his team at SEED Homes has started this process for you by knowing what it takes to build a solid, high performance home for the shifting needs of today’s modern household. “The Forester” located at 6606 Chesterfield is one of their shining moments of providing a family with a luxurious, sustainable home where they can choose to have a healthy, happy life in a home that suits their ever changing needs. Keep an eye out for 6606Chesterfield.com to watch progress on the home; the site should be launching this week.