The Joseph Story House in Massachusetts is a historical landmark in the city. The building that played a crucial role in the development of the region, is now in the news again for a very different reason. The 200 year old structure has now been renovated and has attained the coveted LEED Silver rating.
The federal style building presented its own set of challenges to engineers working on it. Built way back in 1811, the 9,000 sq. ft house, was renovated by architect Mr.Richard Long. The goal of the renovation was to maintain the historical integrity of the building, while making it adapt 21st century sustainability. With the goal firmly charted out the owners of the property, Neil and Martha set about studying the intricacies involved in getting the prestigious green certification.
One of the most challenging tasks was to make the building self –sufficient when it came to its energy requirements. The problem was solved using a closed-loop heating and cooling system. The entire system consisted of seven wells drilled right into the front yard of the building. Each of the well is 500 foot deep. The building was then insulated using the latest closed-cell spray-foam insulation. An ‘R’value of 6 per inch on the ceilings, floors, walls and attic was achieved by the designers using the insulation material. The closed cell insulation material was chosen since it is considered the best option when it comes to adding structural integrity while not disturbing the existing delicate brickwork of the old building.
88 Low – E windows were added to the design to utilize the solar radiation to the optimum levels. Radiant floor heating and low VOC paints were the other features that were incorporated in the building. The carbon buildup by the chimney in the building was another challenge that the architect faced when making the building green. Similarly delicate demolition work needed to be carried out many places, while salving original carvings that add a touch of elegance to the building. Plywood enclosures covering the carvings were painstakingly built before the renovation process began in order to protect them from the dust.
Using shovels and picks, the working crew also had to lower the level of the floor to around 18 inches, which is a common practice whenever a historical renovation work is carried out. The old granite foundation was renovated, so were the accurate copper gutter.