Brinner Novak wins GPR Merit Award at SDGBC Sustainability Awards!

We are proud to announce that the Brinner Novak Residence won the GreenPoint Rated Merit Award at the SD Green Building Council Sustainability Awards! The Brinner Novaks decided to build GreenPoint Rated because they were concerned about the future world their young daughter will grow up in. GPR ensures that sustainability is incorporated holistically into the design and construction (check out a list of sustainable features below!).

Over the past year, the owners turned their house into a home. They say it’s noticeably more comfortable with fresher air than typical homes – a blessing in a year where most time has been spent indoors. Thank you to our homeowners, architect Buffett Design, project team, and SDGBC for making this recognition happen! 



  • GreenPoint Rated Platinum
  • New Solar Homes Partnership


  • Title 24 score of 23% which implies a 23% greater energy efficiency than a standard built home. A home with greater energy efficiency reduces costs for the homeowners, increases reliability and availability of electricity, improves occupant comfort, and reduces impact on the environment.
  • A 7.5 kW solar photovoltaic system should offset a significant amount, if not all, of the energy used in this home
  • AeroBarrier envelope sealing – AeroBarrier is a breakthrough envelope sealing technology. It’s a nontoxic airborne sealant that’s blown into a pressurized home and it finds and seals holes as small as a human hair up to as large as ½ inches wide. A tighter envelope means greater energy efficiency and better indoor air quality
  • All lighting are high-efficacy LEDs
  • High-efficiency minisplits for HVAC system
  • Energy Star appliances such as dishwasher, clothes washer, refrigerator
  • Quality Insulation Installation (QII) inspected insulation. Poorly installed insulation is one of the main reasons for energy inefficiency in a home. Gaps in insulation create thermal breaks where heat can flow freely in/out of the home which increases the load required of HVAC equipment. To achieve QII, a 3rd party verifies that insulation touches 6 sides of the interior of each wall, ensuring no thermal gaps and therefore maximum thermal comfort for the occupants and increased energy efficiency


  • Permeable paving material on driveway allows water to percolate into ground before running into storm drain
  • Built on infill site and previously developed lot, reducing need for new infrastructure and development on greenfield sites
  • Walkable to the coaster and bus station
  • All water that falls on impermeable areas is directed to a bioswale retention area in the front yard
  • Light-colored, high albedo material for hardscapes which reduces heat island effect. Less heat being absorbed into the hardscape lowers the cooling requirement of the HVAC system


  • High-efficiency irrigation with point-source drip emitters, hydro zoning, and rain sensors.
  • Water-efficient toilets, lav faucets, and showerheads
  • Water-efficient clothes washer


  • Shou sugi ban is an ancient japanese technique of sealing wood by burning it. This technique increases its durability by making it more moisture-, pest-, and fire-resisitant than traditional siding
  • Locally sourced stucco and drywall.
  • Locally sourced requires that the materials have been extracted, harvested, recovered, and manufactured locally (within 500 miles of the project site). This reduces the energy and monetary waste as well as greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation
  • Recycled and low emission insulation
  • Low VOC paints, sealants, and adhesives


  • Treated all framing members with sodium borate which is a nontoxic compound that prevents termites from converting wood into sugars, effectively starving them and not allowing them to eat through the lumber. This not only increases the durability of the home, it saves money over the lifetime of the home by negating the need for termite tenting
  • Seal cracks and joints with caulking


  • Continuously operating bath fans ensure a constant flow of fresh ventilation throughout the home
  • Air filters on HVAC equipment are ≥ MERV 8, reducing harmful airborne particulates
  • Inline dampers provide makeup air for when the dryer goes on, as well as the kitchen ventilation hood
See some more pictures of this project on the Brinner Novak project page. If you have questions about any of these features or want to discuss how they could be incorporated into your project, drop us a comment below or give us a call!

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