The countryside of Georgia is dotted with gorgeous 19th century estates and farmhouses from yesteryear. One historic home of ornate Italianate style - also once owned by a former Georgia governor - has been both historically preserved and given a modern LEED Gold update. With a design by architecture firm Lord, Aeck & Sargent and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the sprawling farmhouse has been restored to its original splendor and now boasts expert energy efficient systems.
The farmhouse, built in 1870, is an exquisite example of old world charm, complete with plentiful porches and capped with a cupola on the third floor. The house sits on Hardman Farm, a 173-acre site that is home to 18 historic structures. The $2.1 million reconstruction and restoration project brought the home back to its hey day, which was around the early 1920s. This restoration was unique, because the house was not updated over the years, still maintaining its 1870s interior finishes, gas light fixtures and plumbing from the early 20th Century. Lord, Aeck & Sargent had the unique task of preserving the historical architecture and technology, while making the home LEED certified — all without disrupting the historical grandeur.
The house already had a few elements that gained it points toward LEED efficiency — historic stack ventilation draws air through the cupola above the attic; the house’s position minimizes solar gain; and the deep porches keep the interiors cooler in summer. The team employed a hydronic radiant heating system underneath the original wood floor on the first floor, which effectively heats both the first and second floors. Outside the main yard of the house, 22 solar panels were installed and encased in a picket fence that matches the existing fences on the property. An underground cistern was installed to harvest rainwater for irrigating the grounds during dry seasons.
The historic landmark is now restored to its original glory, acting as a time capsule for architecture, but also early technology within the home, while acting as a modern example of energy efficiency.