Designed by Susanna Kartye in collaboration with Tom Wilson + Associates

View from above (Google Earth)

Leed Certification
Sustainable Sites

Grovewood Residence


Susanna and Clay Kartye


Houston, TX

Project Type:


Project Goal:

The original site of the Grovewood boasted a 1,600 square foot, brick ranchette. The homeowners recycled 90-95% of their bungalow through Habitat for Humanity and designed a new house for certification under the LEED for Homes rating system with an aim of achieving LEED Silver. Their decision was based on a goal to construct a home that was healthier for their family, consumed fewer fossil fuels, was more durable, and would have less of an impact on the environment as compared to a conventionally built home. Follow @The_Grovewood, the project blog of owner and accredited LEED for Homes AP, Susanna Kartye, to read more about this journey through deconstruction and reconstruction.


The homeowners were especially concerned with good indoor air quality. They utilized a range of low or VOC-free paints, caulks, and primers and elected to use CelBar, a spray-on cellulose insulation that completely fills the space between the studs, is pest-resistant and hypo-allergenic, and doesn't release smoke when it burns. The high-efficiency 17 and 20 SEER HVAC systems use MERV 13 air filters. In addition, the wood products contain no added urea formaldehyde. As a result of these measures, the project was able to meet the standards required for the EPA's Indoor airPLUS program, and the residence went on to become the first in Houston to receive this certification.

The team faced additional challenges. To meet Energy Star standards, team members increased the space between certain framing components, creating a more materials-efficient frame and leaving a larger gap for insulation. The house achieved a HERS rating of 52, which means it is 48% more energy efficient than a conventionally built one. Waste management was difficult because of the small project site; the team attempted to minimize waste instead of utilizing a recycling dumpster.

Ultimately, the Grovewood residence exceeded the original goal and achieved LEED Platinum even without generating power on site – though the house is wired to accommodate solar panels in the future.

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