Tom Moore, a leading Vermont builder, has always had a vision of building a home for his family, primarily made with wood from his land. He wanted to build an environmentally conscious home that would be sustainable, energy-efficient, exquisitely crafted, and comfortable.
That is exactly what he did.
On Upper Stevensville Road in Underhill Center, you will find the truly “green” Moore home. The house is mostly made from tamarack trees — because he had acres of them, and because of their natural ability to be rot-resistant. He used the tamaracks instead of pressure-treated lumber for retaining walls, sills, outdoor joists and miscellaneous framing.
Other wood harvested included ash, pine and maple, which were fashioned into tongue-in-groove wall paneling, flooring and ceilings. The only wood he commercially purchased were for trusses, decking, wall and roof sheathing, wall studs and sustainably harvested cork flooring.
The airtight and weather-tight house has a foundation that was poured using insulated concrete forms, which Moore claims is most effective way to build a finished, heated basement. The house’s double-wall framing — 13 inches thick — was designed by Moore using two separate applications of soy-based foam spray. There are also 2-foot overhangs and two roof-mounted flat-panel solar collectors. The house is outfitted with a highly efficient propane boiler, is divided into five separate heat zones, and has triple-glazed Pella windows with between-pane shades. Beveled window openings have wide sills of recycled granite that absorb incoming heat.
Other features include a heat exchange system, fresh-air ventilation, LED lighting and appliances, European-style radiators, and a remotely-controlled gas fireplace. Moore’s vision was to build a totally green home — not just the structure, but everything in it, including built-in closets, stairways and a fully equipped kitchen. The home showcases magnificent creations, such as a cherry and tiger maple bedroom set and book-matched tiger maple inlaid kitchen cabinets. All were designed and custom-crafted by Moore, his son Lincoln, and master cabinet maker Clark Sargent in Moore’s cabinetry shop.
Additionally, the house is efficient in size. Moore believes that, to be responsible for the environment, the “mega house” needs to go away. He set the example by building a smaller, smarter house that takes advantage of every square inch of space. Mini-closets under stairways and built-in storage contribute to the space-saving residence. Mirrors are strategically placed to reflect and expand visual space.
The house may be downsized, but it does not compromise any home comforts.
Perhaps the most significant accolade for the Moore house is a LEED certification. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), established in 1998, uses a rating program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is a voluntary program that promotes transformation of the home-building industry toward sustainable practices. The organization claims that a certification means a “green” house uses less energy, water and natural resources, creates less waste, and is healthier for those living inside than conventional structures.
To most of us, that means lower energy and water bills and — more importantly — the security of knowing that our families are not exposed to health threats such as mold, mildew and other indoor toxins. Plus, the resale factor may have an advantage.
According to a recent blog post by Peter Yost, director of residential services for Building Green LLC in Brattleboro, “While many green labeling or rating programs are just beginning to penetrate the real-estate and appraisal industries in a significant way, LEED (for homes) is already well-recognized in the marketplace for well-built, energy-efficient and comfortable homes. This label should be attractive to potential buyers when you decide to sell your home in the future.”
Today, Moore—a certified green professional— has become an expert on building energy-efficient homes beautifully. He wants to build cozy, comfortable green dwellings where people can raise their children, and then adapt easily for retirement years. He wants to build homes that conserve resources, while teaching children to be good stewards of the earth. He envisions artistically crafted, custom-made works of art that celebrate the world — and do not contribute to its destruction.
Information: www.tommoorebuilder.com; some information courtesy of Dick Nelson, Vermont Builder and Architect Magazine.