Worthington News

Rush Creek Home is city's first to be LEED certified

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At first glance, the new Rush Creek house looks much like the others in the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired neighborhood.

Stark geometric lines and walls of glass seem to blend effortlessly into the wooded setting at the far-east end of the 49-home subdivision.

A closer look reveals some unusual, energy-saving elements that have earned the home LEED certification -- the first such home in Worthington and the first to be built with private money in the Columbus area.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The designation is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The house was designed by architect Brian Seitz for his family. He, wife Elizabeth and their two children plan to move in by the end of the month.

He also designed the house next door, which already is complete and inhabited by Karen and Randy James.

Both purchased lots in Rush Creek in 2005 and have struggled with the neighborhood's building review committee at each stage of construction, thus prolonging the process.

Seitz said that was fine with him. A Rush Creek resident since 1997, he respects the stringent building rules, he said, and wants to see the National Register of Historic Places neighborhood protected.

"I didn't want to be the guy who screwed it up," he said.

Among the green features that earned the home LEED certification are geothermal heat and air conditioning; a structurally insulated panel system; a 70-percent permeable site; and small rooms, each with built-in furniture, as is common in Rush Creek houses.

The exterior siding, which looks like the other "natural" homes, is actually cement board made to resemble wood.

"We are not using trees but are using man-made materials," Seitz said.

Nearly every room in the four-bedroom, 2,600-square-foot home opens onto a terrace with an overhang.

An 800-square-foot pottery studio adjoins the home. On its nearly flat roof grows a drought-tolerant ground cover.

Many of the LEED requirements were met not by the house or the site but by the Worthington location, Seitz said.

Within a half mile are bus stops, stores, a post office, schools and other amenities that make the location very "walkable," a major advantage for energy-friendly living.

He encourages others in the community to build or renovate to LEED specifications.

"LEED construction in Worthington is easy because of what Worthington has to offer," Seitz said.


 

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