A new house on the Parade of Homes tour in the Twin Cities area is made out of repurposed materials, is not a McMansion, and cost $1.1 million:
“With Excelsior one of the oldest communities in the state, we wanted the house to fit in the neighborhood. This looks like a 1910 farmhouse but it has the energy efficiency of 2012. It’s only a two-bedroom, 2,500-square-feet house; it’s not a McMansion,” he said.
It was built with as many recycled, reused, repurposed materials as possible. The floors, walls and ceilings are made of wood from an 800-square-foot fallen-down cottage that was on the property and from wood salvaged from another dismantled house. The roof is made of old tractor tires and sawdust, although it “looks like wood shingles,” said Shelby.
“It’s triply certified: USGBC Green Building Council LEED Platinum, Minnesota GreenStar and Builders Association Twin Cities,” said Shelby, who noted the residence has a HERS score of 18. “HERS, Household Energy Rating System, benchlines a house built to 2012 code at 100 for energy efficiency. … My house has a HERS score of 18, so it is 82 percent more efficient than a standard house.
“It’s geo-thermal, with electricity coming mainly from solar panels on the garage roof. I’m going to have very few bills; in fact, I become a utility with my solar because when I’m not there and not using electricity, it’s producing electricity and sending it back into the grid, and then they have to pay you the same prices they charge for a kilowatt hour.”
This sounds like an interesting house but several things stand out:
1. A 2,500 square foot home for $1.1 million? I assume that someone might want to buy it for its green features but it reinforces the idea that truly being green is only attainable by people with money.
2. It is intriguing that the owner wants to be very clear that this is not a McMansion. Why would he feel a need to do this? It sounds like he wants to emphasize that while the house was expensive and has some upscale green features, it doesn’t stand out in the historic neighborhood.
3. The owner later says later in the story: “This is not just some fancy home. This is a statement of an ethic…Truthfully, I’ve been standing on my soapbox 15 years talking about these things. I thought it was about time to walk the talk.” This home is not just a place to live; it is a personal statement, one couple’s testament to how they think they and others should live. This feeds into the larger American idea that your house (and many other consumer objects) should express your individuality and your ideas.