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University of Missouri

A Home of Scraps

Quint Newcomer, BA ’89, builds the first LEED-certified home in Athens, Ga.

home exterior

Quint Newcomer, BA ’89, and wife Lori Bork built the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified home in Athens, Ga. Photo by Bettie Maves Photography.

Newcomer with son

Quint Newcomer of Athens, Ga., graduated from MU in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He earned a master’s degree in international management from Thunderbird School of Global Management as well as a master’s degree in environmental management and a doctorate from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He now directs the University of Georgia’s campus in Costa Rica. Photo courtesy of Quint Newcomer.

By dismantling an old barn and reusing the materials, Quint Newcomer, BA ’89, built the first U.S. Green Building Council LEED certified home in Athens, Ga.

But his love of all things green sprouted about 700 miles away. “I think many of the seeds of my environmental awareness were planted at Mizzou,” says Newcomer, general contractor and homeowner.

While living in Columbia, he developed an appreciation for Missouri’s beauty as he explored the Lake of the Ozarks, Katy Trail State Park and the Missouri River bluffs.

“College was a time of awakening and exposure to all types of new things,” Newcomer says. “And Missouri was a great environment for that.”

The house came after a spouse and two children.

Wife Lori Bork of Bork Architectural Design served as principal designer and worked with Newcomer as a general contractor.

Crafting the home and 400-square-feet design studio merged Newcomer’s construction know-how with his wife’s architectural design chops.

The finished product became the seventh home in Georgia to earn the highest certification, platinum. Eco-friendly features include Energy Star windows, light fixtures and appliances; environmentally friendly finishes on interior walls, ceilings and millwork; and formaldehyde-free cabinetry.

  • For landscaping irrigation: a 1,100-gallon rainwater capture system
  • For heating: a high-efficiency heat pump with an energy recovery ventilator and recycled wall insulation
  • For baby Rhys and 15-year-old Ellery Newcomer: a healthy, 2,632-square-foot-home

In the house’s construction, 68 percent of the waste was diverted from landfills, a win-win for the nature-lover and family man. “Sustainability starts at home,” Newcomer says. “And by designing the home in a certain way, it sets the stage for the rest of life.”

House interior

Reclaimed heart-pine floors and a wood wall with bookshelves made from reclaimed barn lumber add character to Newcomer’s home. The wooden box under the TV and kitchen island countertop are made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified teak. The polished concrete slab in the kitchen and dining room doubles as the finished floor and includes recycled fly ash. The walls are painted with natural mineral-based paint with zero volatile organic compounds (VOC), and the lacquers on the cabinetry are all low VOC and made from formaldehyde-free plywood. Photo by Bettie Maves Photography.