Interiors and the exterior of Johnson’s platinum LEED-certified home in Bloomington’s Near West Side neighborhood. Photos by James Kellar


Nate Johnson admired the energy-efficient home his friends David and Carol Gulyas designed and built in Bloomington’s Near West Side neighborhood, so much so that he asked David to help him build a similar one. That didn’t happen. But when the Gulyases moved to Chicago, Johnson jumped at the chance to purchase their home.  

“I was thrilled when the opportunity arose to buy David and Carol’s home,” says Johnson, 47, an IT security consultant and musician. “I loved its beautiful contemporary architecture as well as its very high-performing, efficient, green design features.”

Nate Johnson.

The home was built in 2009 and was designated one of Indiana’s first platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified residences. The only other platinum LEED structure in Bloomington is Crawford Apartments, a 60-unit affordable housing project on South Henderson Street. Johnson explains that although Bloomington has several LEED-certified buildings, they are all at the gold level or below.

“David is an amazing interior designer and worked with an architectural engineer to make sure his design would be viable in the real world,” Johnson says. “He did all the interiors himself, plus the back patio. Chris Sturbaum and his Golden Hands Construction crew did the exterior envelope and slab along with the interior framing.”

The home, which boasts an extensive list of energy-efficient features, was constructed from materials sourced within a one-day drive from Bloomington.

“The house was net-zero ready when I bought it, and was optimized for solar,” Johnson says. “I installed the solar array and now the house is net energy zero [the amount of energy used is roughly equivalent to the amount of energy created on the site]. It’s landscaping is 100% natural and organic and very low maintenance. I’ve added a Garden Tower and am growing flowers and vegetables this year.”

One additional box Johnson’s green dream home checks is studio-quality acoustics in the great room, a feature the accomplished musician enjoys every day. 

“I love to practice my baroque repertoire on solo flute, especially early in the morning with the windows open and the birds chirping away,” Johnson says.