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Green Design On The North Fork

Green design on the North Fork is more than a trend. Conserving the natural resources on the North Fork is vital in a lifestyle so intertwined with the environment. Here are some local builders and architects utilizing green design in the homes they build.

North Fork Woodworks, co-owned by Kyle Schadt and Scott Edgett in Mattituck, is a custom homebuilder focused on new homes, additions, and renovations. Scott remarks, “There are really two sides to the green design approach. We try to reuse as much of the original home as possible, especially for historical renovations. But we also make sure to use the latest approaches, which is really important for energy efficiency.” All floors, rooflines, and walls are often fully encapsulated with spray foam for insulation, conserving the energy in the house. To maintain this efficiency, the latest ‘smart house’ technology is incorporated to automate thermostats, lighting, and pool systems for maximum energy conservation. These systems are also remotely managed via smart phone or computer apps. Kyle observes, “We’re actually mindful throughout the entire building process. For example, during the demolition phase, we use a three-container system to immediately sort waste for recycling.” Additional green-practices include the use of engineered lumber and reclaimed wood from old buildings and barns where possible. To reduce energy costs, they often make use of LED lighting, very high-efficiency (98%) gas boilers, geothermal heating and cooling systems and solar options whenever possible. In addition, high-performance insulated glass designed to reduce UV rays is used, especially on waterfront homes.

Meryl Kramer Architect is an architectural firm in Greenport specializing in residential design, renovations, and additions since 1999. Meryl Kramer is a LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – Accredited Professional and a member of the United States Green Building Council. Sustainable design begins with the orientation of the house on the property in relation to the sun, prevailing winds, topography, and vegetation. A reflective roof made of metal or asphalt shingles is created with more reflectivity using lighter colors. Deep overhangs are constructed to keep the sun out in the summer and passive heat in during the winter. Highly insulated natural materials are used for siding. Solar or geothermal heating and cooling systems are utilized. High quality windows are featured with very little air and moisture infiltration to minimize molds. LED lighting is included for energy savings. Septic systems are upgraded whenever possible for environmental protection. Drywells and gutters are installed to keep rainwater on the property and prevent stormwater runoff, meeting the requirements of Southold Town. Meryl reflects, “The goal is simple: Reduce a project’s environmental impact and the environmental and financial cost of sustaining that project.”

studio a/b architects in Riverhead, co-owned by Glynis Berry and her husband Hideaki Ariizumi since 1992, features modern home design and renovations. Glynis is a LEED Accredited Professional and a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. A Greenport home they designed in 2011 received Platinum in LEED for Homes. Glynis remarks, “Sustainable design considers the emotional, physical, and environmental aspects of a site.” It is important to integrate the building with the site in relation to the sun, the winds, exposures, and vegetation. Geothermal heating and cooling systems along with solar panels can be utilized. Certified sustainable woods are used and VOCs that contribute to air pollution are avoided. Water-conserving plumbing fixtures are featured. Stormwater runoff is managed by reducing the area of impervious outside surfaces such as driveways. Landscape sustainability is achieved with less turf and selecting more drought tolerant plantings. Septic tanks are upgraded to prevent excess nitrogen from affecting the aquifers. Glynis observes, “Their designs create choices for the user by stimulating a mix of experiences and stressing a connection to nature.”

James A. Richter, Registered Architect, Office of the Engineer, Town of Southold states, “Stormwater Management Codes in the Town of Southold have been developed to implement State and Federal Regulations stemming from the Clean Water Act. Under State and Federal guidance, the Town had developed Stormwater regulations as early as 2007. Currently, building permit applications that meet minimum requirements must first undergo a stormwater review by the Town Engineering department. Additional information regarding requirements for this review can be found on the Town Website under Engineering Department and Stormwater Management. Town Code Chapter 236 Stormwater Management is intended to prevent and/or limit negative impacts associated with erosion during construction and ultimately the protection of water quality. Drainage requirements are mandated to contain stormwater generated by developed surfaces on site where it is created and not allow it to become an issue for neighboring properties or adjacent wetlands and water-bodies downstream.”

Local builders and architects are incorporating green design to conserve energy, preserve the environment, and protect water quality. Utilizing recycled materials, energy efficiency, ecological landscaping, and stormwater management; sustainable building on the North Fork is here to stay.

Ruth Thomas, a freelance writer on the East End enjoys history, music, literature, art, nature, the beach, and her cute dachshund, Clancy. She can be contacted at [email protected]