Shooting For LEED Platinum in Mount Pleasant

by Lark Turner

Shooting For LEED Platinum in Mount Pleasant: Figure 1
1814 Irving Street NW

When Erik Hoffland moved into a Mount Pleasant rowhouse in 2003, he knew it was going to need a lot of work. He had to put pots and pans down on the floor when the ceiling leaked. A small hole in the floor revealed, of all things, the bathroom.

“It was a group house that was just falling apart,” Hoffland told UrbanTurf. “Structurally, it was a mess.”

Shooting For LEED Platinum in Mount Pleasant: Figure 2

Seven years after purchasing the three-bedroom, three-bathroom house at 1814 Irving Street NW (map), the architect amassed enough money to begin a full gut renovation. Based on a couple of environmentally-friendly projects he’d worked on, Hoffland decided to shoot for LEED Platinum certification for the house. He had that in mind when he purchased it, he said.

“I chose the house because it was in such a rundown state,” Hoffland explained. “From an environmental standpoint there’s nothing better than keeping an existing house, but in this case it really needed to be gutted and there was not much structural or architectural integrity to what was here.”

Shooting For LEED Platinum in Mount Pleasant: Figure 3

Hoffland recycled what material he could, and used reclaimed materials in the rest of the house, including the flooring. He also used environmentally-friendly finishes, including recycled content tile and countertops, and efficient appliances. But those aren’t the main features that keep energy use down, Hoffland explained.

“I always tell people that the actual surface materials you see are really the smallest component of keeping a house sustainable,” he said. “It’s how tight the envelope is and the mechanical systems that really contribute the most efficiency.”

So, the home was built with spray-foam insulation, a tankless water heater, efficient windows, a high-efficiency gas furnace and solar panels that supply 50 percent of the home’s energy each month.

Shooting For LEED Platinum in Mount Pleasant: Figure 4

The rowhouse, which was designed with what Hoffland called a Scandinavian modern vibe, also used architecture to try and help its occupants curb energy use.

“We really tried to open it up with skylights and an open floor plan to make it as light as possible, so at daytime you don’t need to have lights on in the house,” he said.

Hoffland has yet to formally receive the LEED Platinum certification, but his application has been submitted and he is confident it will be successful. For now, he is on to his next project: He sold 1814 Irving and recently closed on a larger home in need of work just three blocks away.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/how_one_of_dcs_first_leed_platinum_homes_came_to_be/8653


  1. Mary said at 9:14 pm on Tuesday June 24, 2014:
    What a pretty renovation!It looks like the front of the house has the old steel casement windows - how did the architect handle those? Are they replacements? Or, was upgrading the insulation and putting new windows on the back of the house good enough to get the energy efficiency he was looking for?
  1. Erik Hoffland said at 2:54 am on Wednesday June 25, 2014:
    Mary, Thanks for the compliments and the clever eye. We decided to keep the original steel casements for their historic architectural beauty, but they leaked like a sieve, so once they were stripped down, restored and resealed, we added interior storm windows from Allied Windows. The two windows together act essentially like a modern double-glazed window and helped us achieve the air-tightness we targeted for LEED Platinum.

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