Builders are Bringing Green to the Mainstream|
Slowly but surely, the home building industry is bringing green into the mainstream, creating resource-efficient homes with features that all home buyers can incorporate.
The home building industry is incorporating green more and more into building practices.
Custom builder Don Ferrier of Ferrier Custom Homes in Fort Worth, Texas, made green affordable with Heather’s Home, loaded with the latest features, comfortable yet cutting-edge, and weighing in with a monthly utility bill of about $15.
Heather’s Home was constructed using passive solar design techniques, including overhangs to control the hot summer sun, and landscaped with native Texas plants that don’t need additional watering. It’s loaded with high-tech features too, like low-flow faucets, dual-flush toilets, decorative compact fluorescent lighting, structural insulated panel walls and the latest heating and air conditioning systems.
Builder Matt Belcher of Wildwood, Mo., is president of the Home Builders Association of St. Louis and Eastern Missouri, which in 2005 launched a green building program based on NAHB’s Model Green Home Building Guidelines. More than 20 homes have been built to the Guidelines since the program’s inception, with another 70 under construction or on the drawing boards.
The success of the St. Louis Green Building Initiative is due to the voluntary nature of the home builders association program and the flexibility of the Guidelines, Belcher said. A regional, rather than “one-size-fits-all” approach is the best way to grow more green homes, he said.
Joyce Mason, Vice President of Marketing for Pardee Homes in Los Angeles, said production builders, too, are seeking “flexible green” to better meet market preference. Consumers also need concrete information about the financial, as well as the ecological, advantages of green building to spur demand.
Pardee Homes is enjoying increasing success with its “Living Smart” program, combining features and options that are environmentally sensitive as well as energy conscious in their new home developments, with model homes that explain how the program works and what the homes will look like.
“Consumers want to go green, but they also want choices – and they want to make sure that any additional costs are paid back in a reasonable amount of time through energy bill savings,” said Ray Tonjes, a home builder in Austin, Texas, and chairman of the National Association of Home Builders’ Green Building Subcommittee. “These builders show that NAHB members are taking the lead – and that voluntary programs are the most cost-effective, yet innovative, way to go. We can all learn a lot from these NAHB members.”
For more information about how home builders are protecting the environment and greening homes, visit www.nahb.org/forconsumers.
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