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Local Home Is Among Top Green Houses In The State

Yakima Valley Business Times December 2014

By Linda Prier

When Mary and David Huycke decided to build a green home, they fittingly chose a lot on Homesite Drive. And because they wanted the design and the building of their home to be a collaborative endeavor, they chose what would become Leading Force Energy and Design Center to plan and build their new home.

Leading Force is owned by Steve Weise. Weise and seven other building specialists work from the newly opened Yakima store and collaborate on green home building.

The Huyckes have lived in Yakima since the late 1990s; they met and married here. She is a United Methodist minister who specializes in leadership and coaching, and is a church consultant and writer. He teaches geology and history at Yakima Valley Community College.

They had been living in a 100-year-old home, so the move to the new one in September was a dramatic change.

Their new home, designed by architect Terry Phelan, was one of the homes on this year’s Tour of Homes.

“It was selected by the Northwest Eco Building Guild as part of the 2014 ‘grand slam,’ she said. “Ten architects presented 10 slides of homes they built and were allowed 10 minutes to talk about them. It was an honor that our home was chosen.”

The 2,500-square-foot, three bedroom, three-bath, three-cat house sits on a hill in an area off Yakima’s Scenic Drive, surrounded by xeriscaping. The home’s construction is a case study in environmentally friendly construction.

The stairs leading to the front door are concrete. The door itself and a portion of the home’s corrugated metal siding were both salvaged from an old Cowiche apple shed, built in the 1950s. The wood from that shed had been used to make a building before the shed, so it is even older and has a great deal of character and beauty.

Huge wood beams within the home were also recovered from the apple shed.

The home uses geothermal heat; electricity is provided by 53 roof installed solar panels.

“We actually put electricity into the grid (Pacific Power) and so far, we’ve never had to pay more than $8 a month for our electric bill and that amount is for fees and taxes,” she said.

She added that the cost of purchasing and installing the solar panels would be recouped in five years.

The living room has concrete floors — the kitchen floor is cork and easy on the feet. The home’s drywall is covered with eco-friendly American clay.

Mary said that she and David chose Leading Force because they very much wanted their home to be a collaborative effort. The Huyckes believe strongly in community and in working together, and they also wanted their home constructed with sustainable materials. “Leading Force saved us money and gave us a better home. We built our home for ourselves, but alsofor the families that follow us. This home will be standing a hundred years from now and other families will live here,” she said.