Husband and wife architect team finish first LEED Gold (leadership in energy and environmental design) certified historic house renovation on Nantucket.

Restored within the strict guidelines of Nantucket Island’s Historic District, this 264-year-old Cape still pays homage to its Quaker-inspired design roots. Behind the simple lines and cedar shake lies a range of modern conservation-minded features that enhance the home’s immediate and long-term performance, proving that sustainability can be integrated into existing homes without compromising authenticity. In addition to preserving and modernizing the LEED-Gold house, architect husband and wife team Michele Kolb and Eric Rosenberg added 260 square feet for a new kitchen, bathroom, and entry in keeping with the period. Among the many challenges posed by this whole-house renovation were meeting LEED insulation and air sealing requirements, installing new mechanical and ventilation systems, and restoring the original single-pane window sash to conserve energy while meeting historic architectural standards.  Further energy improvements included sealing and insulating the existing crawlspace; installing new exterior sheathing; insulating the envelope with spray foam; and installing zone-controlled HVAC, HRV, and ERV equipment and high-efficiency water heating. Low-flow faucets and fixtures as well as water-conserving landscaping contribute to water-efficiency goals.  American Clay plaster, reclaimed oak floors, and pine ceilings were specified for their natural and environmental qualities; painted surfaces were finished with Benjamin Moore’s Aura low-VOC products; and floors were oiled.

Project Details

Union Street Residence, Nantucket, Mass. | Size: 1,810 square feet | Cost: $273 per square foot | Completed: August 2010 | Certification: LEED-Gold | HERS Rating: 69 | Architect: Rosenberg Kolb Architects, New York City | Builder: Knapp Construction, Nantucket | Verifier: Conservation Services Group, Westborough, Mass.

Green Highlights

Energy: Sealed crawlspace / insulated foundation and slab / Icynene spray insulation throughout / restored historic window sash for tightness / Life Breath HRV, 98% AFUE York gas furnace / BMPlus Zone Control system / Rinnai LS Series tankless hot water heater / Emerson Blue Single Stage thermostat / Energy Star appliances

Resources: locally sourced marble countertops / cedar shingle roof and siding / oil-finished reclaimed oak floors

IAQ: American Clay plaster / Benjamin Moore Aura low-VOC paint / Blanchon oil-finished wood floors / MERV-13 filters / Panasonic WhisperGreen exhaust fan / Johns Manville urea formaldehyde–free duct insulation

Water: Toto Eco Supreme toilets / drought-tolerant landscaping / high-efficiency drip irrigation with Irritrol Total Control system


For more information or a consultation, contact:

Rosenberg Kolb Architects PC

226 East 79th Street, New York, NY  10075