That’s a key point that Gina and Rodman Schley want others to take away from their home. Their remodeled old farmhouse in the Denver, Colorado, suburbs is beautiful, functional and sustainable.
Viega products play a part in the sustainability. The home incorporates radiant heating and cooling, Viega Flushing Technology products, as well as PureFlow products, including the ManaBloc and PEX tubing.
The Schleys star in the PBS TV show Urban Conversion. During its first two seasons, the show focused on the family’s foray into sustainability with things like growing gardens, beekeeping and learning about green energy. The challenge was to see how sustainability and green living concepts could be implemented into their lives.
Eventually, the family, which includes two daughters, decided to move to a farm to embrace these concepts, while staying close to the city where Rodman runs a company and the family had an established life with friends, school and community. They ultimately purchased an old farmhouse in Arvada, Colorado, on three acres, and began a large-scale remodel.
“So many people think that being sustainable means that you have to sacrifice. We don’t feel like we did at all,” Rodman said. “We live in a beautiful home with many cool, modern technologies, and when it’s all done our house will be LEED Platinum certified.”
“We want to show people sustainable options in action on a renovation project,” Gina added. “Often times, people think these technologies are only for new construction.”
Moving to the farm also meant that Gina could pursue her dream of owning a cut flower farm. While she plans to grow flowers like lavender and dahlias, which do well in arid conditions, the couple knows that sustainability in their home ties into the farm. Being so energy efficient inside affords the ability to grow the fields of flowers while still maintaining a sustainable farm.
As the Schleys began planning for their remodel, they partnered with multiple entities. The Arvada Economic Development Association is an underwriter, and other companies, including Viega, provided products. Radiant heating and cooling for the home was very attractive for the family, and Viega’s varied options proved to be just what they needed.
Throughout the 4,000-square-foot home, there are three different types of radiant installation. In the upper level of the house, radiant was installed with Climate Trak under the subfloor to preserve existing hardwood flooring, while the main floor uses Climate Panel. The old garage that was converted into living space uses embedded tubing in the concrete slab.
Greg DeSantis, Director of Automatic Company, LLC, performed the radiant installation at the Schley home and said it was the first time he’d combined all three types of installation methods in one project.
“We use Viega for all our radiant projects,” DeSantis said. “The great thing about any type of radiant is its flexibility, and this was a great example of that. We could use what was best, depending on the location and existing structures in the home.”
For the homeowners themselves, radiant was appealing because of its efficiency and health aspects.
“Our oldest daughter has bad allergies, so we wanted to avoid forced air systems as they often contribute to more dust in the air,” Gina said. “Plus, the consistency of radiant heating is so much more attractive because of its energy efficiency, comfort and quietness. Furnaces aren’t kicking on and off in the middle of the night. That’s inefficient and somewhat noisy. With radiant, you heat your body versus blowing warm air at it. We also have peaked ceilings, so we’re not paying to heat those since radiant heat doesn’t rise [like forced air]. And radiant heat allows us to turn off specific rooms, like our guest bedroom, when we’re not using it.”
The radiant system in the house has multiple zones on each level. Everything is tied together in a mechanical room that the Schleys said is fun to show visitors because of all of the intricacies. The setup also includes a Viega hydronic mixing block, which consists of a pump, a four-way valve and a programmable heating control. Radiant zones throughout the house make it easy to control each section according to use and location.
The Schley family also put Viega Flushing Technology Systems to work in their home, installing in-wall carriers and flush plates for wall- hung toilets.
“I love that it opens up the space. We have some small bathrooms, but they don’t feel small,” Gina said. “And with the bowl up off the floor, it’s so much easier to clean. The flush plates look beautiful, and we know we’re conserving water even though it doesn’t feel like less water.”
Finally, PureFlow fittings and PEX tubing provide the water system in the home. Using a Viega ManaBloc means that individual lines can be shut off, which Rodman said is attractive.
“If I need to turn off the kitchen sink, it doesn’t impact the flower farm,” he said. “It’s not one big water main that turns everything off. I also like that with the flexibility of PEX, there are fewer joints than there would be with soldered copper pipe, so there’s less chance for failure somewhere in the system.”