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Rendering of DC’s first carbon neutral home

(This is the first of a two-part series for Unique Spaces that profiles the construction of DC’s first carbon neutral home in Capitol Hill. Look for the second installment in about a month once the home is finished.)

Nick Cioffi and Mark Turner are two developers who have a unique sensibility not often seen in the world of residential green building. Turner, the former vice president of construction for Abdo Development, and Cioffi, who comes from a family of builders, are the principals of GreenSpur, Inc., a DC-based building and design firm that uses sustainability techniques to deliver homes that are energy efficient as well as cost effective. They want to prove to home buyers that going green doesn’t need to be some exotic, expensive endeavor. 

The proof of this idea can be seen in their latest project, a pre-Civil War home in Capitol Hill that will be DC’s first carbon neutral home. To achieve carbon neutrality, the three-bedroom, three-bath home, which will be complete in late October or early November, will use cutting-edge mechanical systems including ground source heating and cooling, solar hot water, tankless water heaters, LED lights, and Energy Star appliances to produce a home that will use 60-80 percent less energy than a standard home in the area. The remaining energy needed to power the home will be “clean” power purchased from the local utility provider, and the finished property will release no net carbon into the atmosphere. In addition to the mechanical systems, the new home will reuse timbers from the former property and the flooring will be reclaimed heart of pine from a textile mill in Virginia.

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The Home’s Exterior Uses Reusable Materials

Despite good intentions, the construction of the home was not an easy endeavor by any means.

Along with a labyrinth of regulatory hurdles and permitting nightmares given the property’s location four blocks from the Capitol, GreenSpur had to completely gut the 150 year-old home, enlarge it (from 1,000 to 2,400 square feet), hand dig the basement and, in keeping with their mission statement, make it completely green but still priced comparably to any other (non-carbon neutral) home in the area.

“We basically want to show people that they don’t need to pay a green premium price,” Cioffi said. “Through experience and careful, intelligent design, we have proven that green homes don’t always need to cost much more than normal construction.”

If you are interested in more information about this property, please send an email to [email protected]. Check back with Unique Spaces soon for GreenSpur’s finished product!