Wisconsin's Largest Builder a Green Building Proponent
“Using less” is the philosophy of Madison, Wis.-based Veridian Homes, the 2005 National Green Building Award winner for production construction projects. Veridian is the state’s largest builder and it has been a leader in promoting residential energy efficiency and construction waste recycling.
Every 10 of the roughly 560 homes Veridian built in 2004 save enough energy to light one additional home. “Even more impressive is the fact that 100% of their homes earn Wisconsin Energy Star
and Green Built Home
certification,” said Eric Borsting, chairman of NAHB’s Energy Committee and a judge in this year’s awards program.
In fact, many of Veridian’s homes exceed those standards. The innovative Welcome Home boasts an energy savings of approximately $1,000 annually, compared to a home built to state code requirements. “It’s an ultra energy-efficient home, particularly for the Midwestern extreme climate changes,” said David Simon, the company’s president.
Pushing the limits of production green building, the prototype Welcome Home includes features such as a solar hot water system, an energy monitoring system to determine real-time and historical energy use, and an outdoor rain garden. The home’s energy efficiency, as verified by an independent consultant, exceeded its 40% energy reduction goal.
To reduce wood and other construction and demolition debris, which are responsible for a third of all material in Wisconsin’s landfills, Veridian obtained an exemption from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
to grind oriented strand board and dimensional lumber into landscaping mulch. This measure alone diverted nearly 2,000 tons of wood from the state’s landfills last year, and the company’s overall recycling practices reduced its disposal costs by 20%.
While the company goes to great lengths to build homes that operate efficiently and make the best use of limited resources, it does not lose sight of the important role of the home owner in the conservation process.
A representative from the company’s customer relations department conducts an in-home orientation session with each new owner, covering topics such as:
- Proper thermostat temperature settings
- Proper ventilation
- Installation and use of a complimentary carbon monoxide detector
The company went an extra step to educate the prospective owner of the Welcome Home by installing an appliance monitoring system showing current electrical use throughout the house, past electrical consumption and a comparison of peak and off-peak energy use. The monitor enables the owner to estimate electric bills and identify where energy is being used excessively, and it recommends energy conservation measures.
“Veridian’s homes are a model for energy efficiency in Wisconsin and across the country,” said Borsting.
Veridian Homes is one of 11 winners of the 2005 National Green Building Awards, which recognize leading-edge green building development projects and advocates. The winners were announced during NAHB’s National Green Building Conference in Atlanta in March. Other winners will be featured in future issues of NBN. Go to the NAHB Web site to learn more about this year’s honorees and to enter the 2006 awards competition.
For more information about Veridian Homes, contact Ceci Anderson at 608-226-3040.