By Nina Wu
It looks like the landscaping and final touches have been put on to the New Hawaiian Home in Kaimuki, which will host two more "open house" days in July to showcase its green features.
If you haven't heard of it, the "New Hawaiian Home" is an energy-efficient home outfitted with a solar water heater, solar PV system, Techshield radiant barrier, icynene foam and ecobatt insulation.
It was built by BIA Hawaii as a prototype of a green home, with participating contractors from all over the isles pitching in the best of green technology and design.
A giant whole house fan, reflective metal roof, awnings, and most importantly — strategically placed (low-e, double-pane and tinted) windows that allow cross-ventilation in the rooms will keep the home cool during hot summer months.
How many of us are sweltering in homes that were just positioned the wrong way and feel like sweat boxes during the summer? If only the tradewinds from outside could cool the house inside.
The open-floor plan of the kitchen and living room, which lead to an outdoor dining room and the back yard, are my favorite part of this home. It's like a great room, incorporating indoor and outdoor living the way a home in Hawaii should be.
Walking through the home at noontime, you'd be amazed how cool it is without air-conditioning.
The home was flipped to take advantage of natural tradewinds as well as to create a southwest-facing roof for the 4.7-kilowatt solar PV system. The whole house fan is an interesting idea -- it supposedly draws hot air out of the top of the house (and Hawaii Energy is now offering a $75 rebate).
The interior is designed to bring in plenty of natural light -- the master bedroom, for instance, has generous windows high above and won't require too much lighting during the day. The garage door also has translucent panels, letting light through.
In the yard (which isn't huge), there is a vegetable and herb garden, fruit trees, aquaponics system and a clothesline, just steps away from the laundry room.
Other green features include low-flow water fixtures, (the toilets are ZURN, by the way, manufactured in Germany), countertops made from recycled paper and recycled concrete, EnergyStar appliances, and FSC-certified wood cabinets.
All in all, it's a comfortable family home.
More than 80 contractors, and five architect firms, worked on the New Hawaiian Home. Find a list of participating contractors on BIA's blog.
Kaimuki is an eclectic neighborhood with a mix of 50-year-old cottages and newly remodeled homes. It would be great to see more green homes like the New Hawaiian Home there.
The New Hawaiian Home will hold open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 10 and Sunday, July 17. Visit www.biahawaii.org for more information.