20th century tower remodeled, becomes Utah's greenest home

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Recycling, reuse and innovation are bringing a Salt Lake City house with a 20th century tower into the 21st century of eco-friendly living.

"Even if I build big, I still have to build smart. I think it's just being responsible to the community and to the environment," said homeowner Mary Andolsek.

We first told you about this house in the St. Mary's neighborhood back in December when it was under construction. In an effort to receive the highest LEED certification possible, Bill and Mary Andolsek recycled and made use of everything they could from the house they tore down, including the tower.[Click here to see list of energy-efficient ideas]

Mary Andolsek says neighbors were nervous when they started building. She says, "I think in the beginning people were pretty scared because we were saving so much stuff."

The home is now complete and featured in Salt Lake's Parade of Homes Tour. The Andolseks say they are eager to share what they have learned about building efficiently.

"I think 99 percent of the people have walked away with a positive thought," said Mary Andolsek.

The home includes solar panel thermals, FSC wood, radiant floor heating, geothermal cooling with high-velocity ventilation, double-flush toilets, LED lighting, low-flow faucets and insulation made out of recycled denim.

"Our stairs are bamboo because bamboo grows really fast, so it replenishes quickly," said Mary Andolsek.

The Andolseks even figured out how to harvest water. "We capture the groundwater that flows underneath the house," explained Bill Andolsek. "We pump it into a system in the front of the house. We use it to cool the home, and then we pump the excess up and use it in the water feature and also for irrigation."

Most of the furniture inside the house is refurbished, and the carpets are made out of recycled material. Mary says they are easy to clean. She says, "You can take them apart and scrub them, and you can actually put them in the dishwasher."

The Andolseks also wanted to make sure their home was accessible to everyone. So they installed an elevator, made the hallways extra wide and made every bathroom wheelchair accessible. Mary says, "We've had so many friends and so many relatives that needed assistance, it just seemed natural."

A lot of research and careful planning went into every detail of the house, and while neighbors might have been skeptical at first, the Andolseks say most of them now appreciate it. Bill says, "Even if this architecture is not their style, they love the idea of the energy saving, recycling."

The Andolsek's home is first on Salt Lake's Parade of Homes tour. The tour runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Aug. 23. Click here for ticket information.


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