Connecticut Green Builder Seeks to Keep Costs Low
State political leaders attended the groundbreaking last Thursday for a new green home in Torrington built by T & M Construction and NAHB Connecticut State Representative Greg Ugalde.
The home will be rated using the online scoring tool now being piloted by the NAHB National Green Building Program. The program debuts Feb. 14 at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando.
Armed with shovels, Torrington Mayor Ryan Bingham, State Senator Andrew Roraback, leaders from the local association of Realtors® and officials from the local and state home builders associations joined Ugalde in breaking ground on the first green home in the 20-unit subdivision.
Ugalde said he was delighted with the interest being shown in the project and with the new NAHB National Green Building Program, especially as his state works to create a balance between environmental responsibility and the rising cost of housing.
“We are having some very in-depth talks about affordability and workforce housing, and we have to find a way, as builders and developers, to make it mesh with green building, or the costs are going to get out of control,” he said.
“That’s why we have the Realtors® involved in this conversation — we need their experience to help us find the balance — to talk to purchasers and understand what they would like to see in their homes and what they would be willing to pay for,” Ugalde said.
“The online certification tool should help us keep our costs low,” he continued. “Before we even get started with building, we have permit fees and sewer fees — we need to avoid too many administrative costs so we can put more money into the green products themselves.”
The 2,555-square-foot home is sited to take advantage of passive solar heating and daylighting, with multiple windows on the south side and fewer on the north. Tubular skylights will also help the home owner use less electric lights in the daytime.
Ugalde will use low-VOC paints to improve indoor air quality and install bamboo flooring, Energy Star®-rated appliances and lighting, tankless water heaters and a high-efficiency HVAC system with direct-vent heating. The energy-efficient windows are framed with recycled vinyl.
Representatives from some of the companies supplying the products also participated in the groundbreaking, which attracted a crowd of neighbors and members of the media to the worksite, which was dotted with bright green balloons.
The pilot programs are the start of a great new green movement for the home building industry, Ugalde said.
“We hope to help perfect this online certification system,” he said. “A lot of people in this state will come to rely on it.”
For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.
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