The first residence in lower Manhattan to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certified, this five-story home in Greenwich Village sets a new standard for green luxury
by Lindsey Blair
This 4,432-square-foot townhome in Greenwich Village is more than just a historic and clean-lined structure in one of the most sought after neighborhoods in the world; it represents a movement, one that owner Candace Dyal has built her life around. Dyal is president of Dyal Compass—a development company that builds “with a conscience,” creating luxury buildings from South Carolina to New York City that emphasize sustainability—and sees no conflict in also designing for splendor.
“My mantra is to lead by example. Make an effort to make the world better, and taking risks is part of making the world better,” she explained. “It’s not about the money or the stuff. It’s about connections to mankind on the platform of nature.”
Such a risk was undertaken in this 4 Bedford Street residence. At purchase, the five-story, five-bedroom, six-and-a half-bath townhome was falling on itself—a hazard on its way to demolition, and most would have walked away. But this owner saw beyond the dilapidation, and turned it into the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (or LEED, a green building certification program that recognizes best in-class building strategies and practices)-certified home in lower Manhattan.
“I knew instantly that with some top-notch engineers, a NYC-tested construction company, and some creative vision, we could make a stronger, more sustainable home in an ideal neighborhood,” she said.
Becoming certified in this way is no easy task. The LEED for Homes rating required incorporating integrative design processes, maintaining sustainable site management, supplying links to community resources, installing water conserving plumbing fixtures, using environmentally preferable building practices, products, and materials, implementing energy reduction measures and efficient mechanical systems, the inclusion of indoor air quality controls, and providing education for the project team as well as future occupants.
Dyal Compass has developed homes on Kiawah Island, S.C., and in Manhattan, receiving such accolades as having designed “One of the Top Ten Oceanfront Properties in America” by Ocean Home magazine, and being featured in National Geographic as the firm behind “One of the Top Ten Destination Beach Properties,” for 109 Flyway Drive on Kiawah Island. The company was also given the “2013 HGTV Dream Home” nod and “The First HGTV Dream Home that was LEED Certified at the Platinum Level” for 119 Halona Lane, Indigo Park on Kiawah Island.
It’s been 10 years since a warm, breezy day in the summer of 2007, when Dyal and her eldest son, Nick, were walking on the Kiawah Island Beach, mulling over the possibility of her taking one of the biggest risks of her life.
“I told him that there was this old Georgian home for sale and I could renovate it as a LEED-certified home, honor the Kiawah Island ecosystem, and increase the value of the house and the Island community,” she recalled.
Nick thought it was a risky move, but Dyal knew then and there that she had to do it. Not long after, the renovated home was featured in a two-part series on South Carolina PBS affiliate ETV’s Southern Lens show.
For Dyal, there’s been no looking back since.
Artfully woven throughout this Greenwich Village residence are green living components that were a must for the owner during renovation, and Dyal made specific mention of “…the green roof, the Dade County hurricane windows, the closed cell spray, [plus] green materials for the kitchen countertops, the recycled joists that are now used as wood flooring throughout the house, the bricks that make up the back terrace that used to be on the front of the house, the LED lights, and the sustainable Daikin HVAC system.”
Located in the West Village on a tree-lined street that paints a picture of 19th century charm, the home also boasts components of smart house technology: its residents control music, thermostats, lights, security cameras, and intercoms from a mobile device or in-wall touch panels (which also double as video intercoms). There are also multiple Wi-Fi access points, motorized shades, and lights that turn on or off with a push of a button or via an automatic timer.
The entryway sequence is highlighted by an airy great room with a spacious kitchen, living, and dining rooms, complete with reclaimed Kentucky pine wood floors and large windows. Sliding doors from the kitchen lead to an expansive deck overlooking the garden. On the lower level, a multipurpose game/media room opens to a sun-kissed garden.
An elevator or stairs provide access to the second level and its master suite, which occupies the entire floor. A bedroom located at the rear of the home offers his-and-hers closets and a capacious master spa bath with a freestanding soaking tub, oversized glass-enclosed shower, and double vanity. All of the fixtures and finishes are not just environmentally friendly, but also meet LEED certification standards. The third and fourth levels host two bedrooms with en suite baths and walk-in closets.
For Dyal, the pièce de résistance of this reduced-carbon footprint home is its rooftop, designed to retain rainwater and improve energy efficiency and home air quality. Part and parcel, as her company’s mission statement reads, of designing homes that provide “luxury living—with a conscience.”