April 19, 2010
Nation's Building News

The Official Online Newspaper of NAHB

Green Building
Neighboring Homes From M Squared Show Different Approaches to Building Green

A pair of neighboring lakeside homes from M Squared Builders & Designers of Bahama, N.C., will be one of the stops on the May 16 green home tour for attendees of the NAHB National Green Building Conference in Raleigh.

Both homes have wonderful water views, and both are extremely energy-, water- and resource-efficient. But there are differences in the details demonstrating that there are many ways to go green, even between adjacent homes.

One home — the newer of the two, finished in 2008 — was built to the Gold level of NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines, the rating system that forms the basis of the Green Home Builders of the Triangle certification program. The other is certified Gold to the National Green Building Standard, which was approved in 2009 by the American National Standards Institute.

Experienced in green building, M Squared President Michelle Myers founded both the Green Home Builders of the Triangle and the North Carolina Home Builders Association’s Green Building Council. She has also been honored as the Builder of the Year by the HBA of Durham, Orange & Chatham Counties.

The two tour entries demonstrate M Squared Builder’s versatility, Myers said. House No. 1 is “the one with the technology.”  

All the glazing in the first home is low-emissivity. Its wood-burning fireplace, appliances and many light fixtures are Energy Star-rated. A geothermal heat pump — the fourth system Myers has put in — provides the heating and air conditioning; spray foam insulation coats the ceiling and the inside of the roof, which is composed of engineered trusses; and the exterior walls are covered with structural insulated sheathing. The toilets are from TOTO's WaterSense line, and water-efficient faucets and showerheads are from Danze.

Like all her homes, this house is tightly sealed, and “I waterproof everything,” including the footings and foundation, Myers said.

Builders will also be drawn to the home’s appearance, and an aesthetic based on an assortment of natural materials on the floors and walls. The entry and mudroom have slate flooring, while pebbles and travertine in the master bath make the room look like it is “all stone,” Myers said.

The kitchen cabinets are made of Character Maple by Wellborn and the built-in cabinets that house the owner’s pottery collection are also maple. The downstairs flooring is walnut, but No. 2 grade, so the color and grain are less uniform. The minor defects add interest, Myers said. “There’s a lot of character in the woodwork,” she said. Upstairs, the floors are No. 1 oak, readily available from North Carolina’s neighboring states.

Both homes emphasize the lake just beyond the back yards. “The porches on both houses are exquisite,” including a screened-in porch tucked in the back for privacy, and the design of each home facilitates easy traffic flow from inside to outdoor spaces.

“I’ve been in this house for a party, and you can have 50 or 60 people in the home and it’s not at all crowded,” even though the house measures 2,400 square feet, she said.

The older of the two M Squared homes on the tour is all about finesse. The trim is pine with a natural finish. Native plants are used in the landscaping, and the front entry is paved with recycled chunks of concrete with rosemary growing in between them.

Myers won a MAME award for this project from her HBA as the best-built green home. “It shows really well,” and bringing real estate brokers around helped the Green Home Builders of the Triangle achieve success in its two-year effort to list green building features in the area MLS system.

The home was designed to allow its occupants to work at home in comfortable offices and also to age in place — a feature that is increasingly regarded as green because it enables the owners to live comfortably in the house longer.

Both houses were built with close attention to indoor air quality, an especially important issue as homes get tighter and more energy-efficient. “IAQ is my focus and passion, because when you can't breathe, nothing else matters,” Myers said.

“My clients come to me for many reasons, but always comment on how physically well they feel living in a house built by M Squared Builders & Designers,” she said. “They also comment on the lack of dust and not having to clean the house as much. That's a big hit!”

For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.

'National Green Building Standard’ Available at BuilderBooks.com

The National Green Building Standard,” available through BuilderBooks.com, provides “green” practices that can be incorporated into multifamily and single-family new home construction, home remodeling and additions and site development.

The standard covers lot design, resource, energy and water efficiency; indoor environment quality; and owner education.

Currently the first and only ANSI-approved green building rating system, the National Green Building Standard is the benchmark for green homes.

To view or purchase this publication online, click here.

'National Green Building Standard Commentary' Available at BuilderBooks.com

The "National Green Building Standard Commentary," available through BuilderBooks.com and a companion to the ANSI approved "National Green Building Standard," that provides valuable insight to the intention and implementations of the practices and provisions found in the green building standard.

The "Commentary" is a useful resource for any designer or builder using the ICC 700-2008 as a rating system for developing or renovating residential properties of all types to reduce their relative impact.

To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

More Than 5,000 People Have Earned Their CGP Designation

The Certified Green Professional (CGP) designation teaches builders, remodelers and other industry professionals techniques for incorporating green building principles into homes using cost-effective and affordable options.

Earning the CGP demonstrates to clients and peers your commitment to the best and latest in green building practices and techniques. More than 5,000 people have earned the CGP designation to date.

For more information, visit www.nahb.org/CGPinfo.

'Build Green and Save’ Available at BuilderBooks.com

Build Green and Save: Protecting the Earth and Your Bottom Line,” available through BuilderBooks.com, is a comprehensive, easy-to-read reference that shows builders how to identify and select green building materials; implement green construction techniques; explain the benefits of green housing and offer affordable green building solutions to consumers; and use resources wisely and reduce water and energy consumption.

To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

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