Brady Heights is preparing to get a one-of-kind addition to its neighborhood.
Resident Nathan Pickard broke ground Monday on The Joinery, a two-story, brick house that is the first in Oklahoma to seek the Living Building Challenge certification from the International Living Future Institute.
The roughly $300,000 project will take up 3,180 square feet and be located at 640 N. Denver Ave., just north of Pickard’s home.
“They call it a Living Building basically because the fact that it’s here is better for the environment than if we haven’t built it,” he said. “It’s supposed to increase the beauty of the area. It’s self-sufficient.
“All the power is from solar. It treats its own waste, collects its own water and treats it. It’s quite a challenge.”
The property Pickard purchased for the project sits on land that used to house a Tastee Freez built in the 1970s. The exterior of The Joinery is expected to be up in a couple of months, he said.
“The interior design is very much like a teaching kitchen, big event space and housing,” Pickard said. “It’s a different twist on a single-family residence.
“One of the goals is to get partnerships with a lot of the sustainability companies that want to showcase their product because the Living Building Challenge requires that it be open for tours indefinitely,” he said. “So it’s definitely a model to bring people in and show them about sustainability.”
To become a certified Living Building, The Joinery must meet imperatives required by the International Living Future Institute, including being built with materials free of chemicals of concern.
Additionally, the building has to demonstrate performance over 12 consecutive months to earn certification, of which fewer than two dozen buildings in the world have attained.
The project is being designed by Molly Jones, an adviser to NASA on sustainability and president of Jones Design Studio in Tulsa.
“In designing the house, the goal is to create one of most sustainable buildings in the state of Oklahoma,” Jones said. “So we want to use as few materials as possible, find a way to salvage as many materials as we can, keep the energy use down.”
The Joinery will be constructed with 12-inch-thick, exterior masonry and highly efficient mechanical and electrical systems.
“It’s a very big challenge because we’re trying to meet these rigorous standards,” Jones said. “It’s the most rigorous certification system in the world. And we’re trying to do it in a historic district. It’s going to be exciting.”