Post Hurricane Ike

Final Elevation

Leed Certification
Materials and Resources

Green Revival House


Galveston Historical Foundation


Galveston, TX

LEED Consultant:

Chip Henderson


Green Rater:

Project Goal:

Galveston, Texas has one of the largest collections of historic 19th and 20th century buildings in the nation. When Hurricane Ike slammed into Galveston in 2008, more than 70 percent of the city’s buildings were lost or damaged. With many residents attempting to incorporate more energy-efficient systems into their historic home restorations, the Green Revival House provided a timely opportunity for sensitive “green” restoration. What makes this project so significant is that Galveston Historical Foundation is targeting LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, while at the same time carefully preserving the historic value of the house. Because LEED certification requires an energy efficient home, green construction guidelines often conflict with preservation guidelines. Only a handful of historic home owners nationally have attempted the complicated process of meshing the two goals.


The original 1891 home is a cottage-style interpretation of Greek Revival architecture, featuring a four-column front porch, decorative gingerbread, and a small window in each gable. Built prior to air conditioning, its design elements still work well to naturally moderate interior temperatures. A side hall, 12-foot ceilings, transoms, and walk-through windows opening onto deep porches provide air circulation and shade. Energy-efficient magnetic insertion windows were mounted behind the originals, at a fraction of the cost of replacement, and film treatments control heat gain while allowing full light to penetrate.

More than 90 percent of the materials were preserved, including the original cypress walls which saved roughly 150 cubic yards of waste from the landfill. Brick from two chimneys dismantled for the move found new life as garden pathways and edging for beds. Porch decks are built from the top layer of interior pine flooring, which was removed to expose the original layer. Removing the original cypress siding was not an option for the Galveston Historical Foundation, as replacement material would change the character of the house. The challenge was to find a high-performance insulation that could be inserted into the existing wall cavity. Mold-resistant drywall was installed over existing wood lathing and ground polystyrene (recycled from rigid foam board insulation used in new construction) was poured into the wall cavity. Two rainwater cisterns supply water for landscaping, flushing toilets and washing clothes and four solar panels on the roof of the back porch provide supplemental energy.

The project is a stirring reminder that sustainability and preservation are compatible goals. It has drawn thousands of visitors, and is the first historic home renovation in the country to earn both LEED Platinum certification and a 2011 award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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