Saturday, May 18, 2013

Las Casitas   9203 Teichman Rd  Galveston  Texas  

LEED for Homes Certified Platinum & Energy Star, October 2013

Las Casitas, May 2013

The original Massa Camp on Teichman Road peninsula was developed in the early 1930’s, moving three small cottages on to the property. After Hurricane Carla slammed the Texas Gulf coast in 1961, another house was added to the site. In 2008, Hurricane Ike destroyed the entire property and on this same site Las Casitas were built on the edge of Offatt‘s Bayou.

Newly renovated, five months before Ike
Post Hurricane Ike   September 16, 2008

LEED Platinum
The Las Casitas project is enrolled in the USGBC (United States Green Building Council), LEED for Homes and the Energy Star programs and has been certified Platinum as of  October 2013. The planning, design and construction of the three cottages takes into consideration the location, resiliency, economy of energy and materials, site stewardship and the surrounding natural beauty.

Key Strategies


Overhead power and communication lines were eliminated and installed undergound 200' from the road to the Casitas, a more durable strategy during and post hurricanes.  The first finished floor is 4’ above BFE (Base Flood Elevation,by FEMA).  PGT Winguard DP 70 impact resistant windows & doors were installed. The roof is 24 gauge "Z" Lock standing seam galvalume.

Innovation & Design: 

One third of the 1,000 SF plan under the roofline is screened porch, facing southeast capturing the Gulf’s prevailing breezes, encouraging outdoor living, using less energy. Compact design takes advantage of every square foot for living space with no corridors.

Location & Linkages:

The three cottages, Las Casitas, are built on a pre-developed site with existing municipal infrastructure with immediate access to the causeway, leading to the mainland and Houston.
The site is adjacent to two nature preserves,  wetlands and Offatt's Bayou. Downtown Houston is 55 minutes away and travel time to downtown Galveston and our office is 10 minutes.

Sustainable Sites:

Yellow crowned night heron
Roseate spoonbill feed in the shallow marsh pools by the site
Sea ox-eye daisy

100% native & drought tolerant landscape surrounds the three cottages.  The elevated edge interfacing with the marsh is planted with native grasses and wildflowers, either from on or near the site or raised from seed gathered within 50 miles of the site. Marshhay cord grass, Little blue stem and Sea ox-eye daisy form an erosion mat that protects and holds the edge of the site.

Water Efficiency:
Rain water catchment from three 580 gallon water tanks is used to irrigate the landscape. Once established, the native grasses and plants will be self sustained. EPA Watersense faucets & dual flush toilets were installed. Two handled fixtures in the bathroom sinks, one for hot and one for cold, encourage the use of less hot water.

Great Rainwater Manual

Energy & Atmosphere:

98% of the lighting fixtures are LED, CFL & neon lighting.  Daylight streams into every room, requiring almost no artificial light during the day.  The LG mini-split A/C system is a three head system with one condensor, allowing for each room to have its own unit and thermostat. The mini-splits are very efficient,  21.5 SEER AHRI rated and have plasma filters. All appliances and exhaust vents are Energy Star rated.  Continuous rigid board exterior insulation together with ECObatt interior insulation in the 2 x 6 studs ensures a continous thermal 'blanket'.


extruded styrofoam,
Galveston Recycling Center

Materials & Resources:

37% of construction waste was recycled, including: styrofoam rigid board, untreated lumber, plastic, cardboard, pallettes and metals.

66% of the interior door were reused from homes damaged in Hurricane Ike.

The kitchen counters are made of Paperstone, 90% recycled post consumer paper and zero VOC resin.

The two power poles removed from the marsh were repurposed to create a bridge to the adjacent property. Decking for the bridge is fiberglass open weave grid, allowing air, water and sunlight for the marsh.

Indoor Air Quality:

The cottage interiors are urea formaldehyde-free*.  Low and zero VOC finishes  were used on walls, cabinets, furniture and floors.  All the furniture is used, solid wood and when necessary, reupholstered with organic fabrics with soy based cushions. Certainteed durable ProRoc, moisture & mold resistant, gypsum board and locally sourced southern yellow pine shiplap were used on the walls.



Open House was held for the neighborhood and community at-large with the different trades present to explain their products and installation. 
The owner/designer published an Operations Manual for the occupants, including a native plant & bird guide of the surrounding wetlands and marsh.

Las Casitas Team Members:
The Owners

Design: Chula Ross Sanchez, LEED AP BD+C 
Builder: HomeLife Builders, Inc. 
Engineer: Paul Engineering, Inc.

Amanda H. Tullos, AIA, LEED® AP BD+C, ID+C GreeNexus Consulting

Flo Hannah, Houston Audubon Steward, Hannah Native Grasses, Inc.

Sermons Landscaping, Inc.

PSL Integrated Solutions, HERS & LEED for Homes Rater

Contects Consultants & Architects, LEED for Homes Provider
For more information: or 409.765.1487