Hoekenga House: LEED Gold in West Cape May, New Jersey

This graceful 3100-square-foot home on New Jersey’s southernmost point is aiming for a LEED Gold rating from USGBC and includes a number of advanced building technologies that will support its application.

The Hoekenga House in West Cape May, New Jersey was designed by Cecil Baker + Partners Architects of Philadelphia and is pursuing a LEED Gold certification from USGBC. The 3100-square-foot home features a variety of green design features ranging from a geothermal heating and cooling system to a green roof that includes local flora and roof shingles manufactured from 85 percent recycled-content material.

Gretchen Hoekenga, a college professor from Florida and former landscape architect, is developing the project and hopes to sell it at unspecified asking price to an older couple; although the home offers modern green amenities, as you can see Cecil Baker’s design does strive to blend in with local Cape May architecture. Hoekenga is aiming for a 35 percent reduction in energy use over a comparable conventional house.

The house includes two interior courtyards landscaped, again, with local flora that will be irrigated by a graywater system, as well as a plant-filtrated swimming pool. Hoekenga opted not to incorporate solar panels into the house because of the payback period, but did specify a translucent wall panel installation from Kalwall that provides extensive daylighting without sacrificing insulation values. Other green features include bamboo floor tiling and interior walls prefabricated from SIPs. Contractor Cape May Carpentry required nearly two years to construct the house.

Interestingly, West Cape May actually has a piece of LEED-driven legislation on its books. Owners are allowed to build up to an additional 250 square feet under the local floor area ratio regulation based on the number of LEED credits that they are seeking (i.e., 5 credits, 50 square feet, 10 credits, 100 square feet, etc.). Developers must submit a LEED scorecard indicating which credits they will pursue; it’s unclear whether the Hoekenga House takes advantage of the bonus, as the legislation only took affect a couple of months ago.

As of late December, the project was substantially complete, with only the installation of kitchen countertops (made from concrete) and appliances (each of which is Energy Star-rated) remaining. You can find the house at 119 Fourth Avenue in West Cape May. Check out a video tour of the house, including an interview with Ms. Hoekenga, below.

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