Habitat for Humanity Laurens Street LEED Platinum House

Residential, Award Winning, Sustainable

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The LEED for Homes Platinum renovation of 1810 Laurens Street in Baltimore Maryland is a collaboration between Sandtown Habitat for Humanity (H4H), UnderArmour (UA), USGBC Maryland (USGBC), and hundreds of volunteers. The project, envisioned as the first prototype of many green affordable H4H renovations, consists of the full rehabilitation of a +/-1500 sf, three story, two bed, one bath, row-home in an under-served neighborhood. This neighborhood is home to more than 400 homes that have been or will be targeted for renovation in an effort to rebuild this once thriving community.

Today 1810 Laurens Street stands out as Maryland’s 1,000th Habitat for Humanity home and is on track to be Baltimore City’s first LEED Platinum home. The project was conceived during a conversation between H4H, UA, and the USGBC which exposed a common vision for Baltimore’s large number of challenged row-home communities. Soon after, over 80 volunteers from all disciplines met for a full day charette to outline a collective vision for the project with the goal of a replicable, low-cost design.

The vision which emerged focused heavily on sustainability and included layout, materials, thermal envelope, mechanical system, lighting, and landscape. This vision was then refined by a core project team tasked with building the project. Construction began in June and was substantially complete in December of 2010. The result is a low-cost home that has very high indoor air quality, uses little energy, has low water consumption, is open and spacious with both natural and artificial lighting, references the history of the neighborhood using salvaged materials, and is durable and safe.

Ziger/Snead provided construction documents, sustainability consulting, energy modeling, and design services to the team of volunteers and supporters. The result is an affordable, sustainable, beautiful home with excellent indoor air quality, low utility bills, and effective daylighting which will be an asset to the neighborhood for generations to come. 


Design Team: Steve Ziger; Jonas Risén

Team: Design-Build by Synthesis, Inc. / Donated BGE Services; Straughan Environmental - Landscape Architect; Elysian Energy - Energy Modeling & LEED for Homes Consulting;  Gensler - Interior Materials; Hamel Green Construction - Green Construction Consultant 

Project Organizers: Nate Robb - Merritt Properties; Will Phillips - UnderArmour; Mary Pucinella - USGBC Maryland Chapter

Client: Sandtown Habitat for Humanity

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Area: 1,500 sf

Completion: 2010

Program: Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Deck, Bedrooms (2), Bathroom

Photography: Jonas Risén


  • 2010 Best Green Residential Project — US Green Building Council Maryland Chapter

Sustainable Design

Excellent indoor air quality through the use of low-voc finishes and materials, enhanced control of dust and particulates, and the introduction of 100% outside ventilation air using an energy recovery ventilator.

Low utility bills and carbon footprint due to a highly insulated building envelope, installation of an air barrier, an efficient mechanical system, EnergyStar appliances, and a two kilowatt photovoltaic array.

Efficient water management with the use of low flow fixtures, a dual flush toilet, a small-scale graywater recycling unit in the bathroom, rain barrels and a stormwater management system designed as part of the garden.

Open interior space design including effective use of daylight, materials and layout designed to maximize usable space

Design for durability that the house can be used by many future generations

Features include:


  • salvage / reuse of wood beams and flooring
  • 2kW photovoltaic array
  • whole-house power switch
  • on-demand gas hot water heater
  • solar tubes
  • highly insulated envelope
  • white reflective roof
  • high efficiency doors and windows
  • EnergyStar light fixtures / appliances
  • watersense fixtures
  • MERV13 air filters
  • programmable thermostats
  • ERV
  • graywater system for toilet flushing
  • rainbarrel
  • rain infiltration garden
  • Indoor Air Quality 
  • + more