Building Green

The process of green building incorporates environmental considerations into every phase of the home building process. That means that during the design, construction, and operation of a home, energy and water efficiency, lot development, resource efficient building design and materials, indoor environmental quality, homeowner maintenance, and the homes overall impact on the environment are all taken into account.We believe strongly in the conservation of our natural resources and try to balance resource conservation, the type and amount of building materials, energy & water conservation and the costs associated with implementation of such along with the desires of the homeowner.

We believe the key is Sustainability in resource, energy and water usage, waste management and environmental considerations. While none of our homes have ever been LEED certified, we used their scoring process as an educational tool to evaluate our practices and improve our homes in all phases of design and construction and lessen any possible negative impact to achieve a more sustainable product. Using the LEED rating system we found that our general construction practices were good , but could be improved, and and that this is a process rather than a stringent set of milestones, you can always find ways to improve. The purpose of all this is to move toward Net Zero Housing, generally accepted as Net Zero energy usage (create & or replace as much as you use with clean energy), cost and emissions. While we endeavor to move toward Net Zero homes we are at the moment try to get near it.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, provides measurable standards for environmentally sustainable construction. The LEED for Homes Rating System is a set of industry best practices that help guide a builder in constructing better homes. The actual performance of the home relates directly to the process utilized to design and build a home.

The Rating System identifies specific measures that may be incorporated into the design of a home. Factors involved include design strategies that result in improved resource efficiency, environmentally responsible materials, equipment and construction practices that insure proper installation and minimal waste.

The LEED for Homes Green rating system addresses six major areas:

* Sustainable sites

* Water efficiency

* Energy and atmosphere

* Materials and resources

* Indoor environmental quality

* Innovation and design process

Green buildings use key resources more efficiently when compared to conventional buildings which are simply built to code. LEED creates healthier work and living environments and contributes to improved health and comfort. The benefits of implementing a green building strategy ranges from improving air and water quality to reducing solid waste. The fundamental reduction in relative environmental impacts in addition to all of the economic and occupant benefits goes a long way for making a case for green building. These benefits do not come without a cost however. Currently within the industry, green buildings cost more to both design and construct when compared to conventional buildings. However, these initial costs increases are offset by decreased operating costs and potentially increased life cycle. Studies have suggested that an initial up front investment of 2% will yield over ten times the initial investment over the life cycle of the building. From this perspective, the initial cost is actually an investment.


The LEED for Homes Rating System is the most stringent scoring system available followed by Energy Star and finally the National Home Builders Association (NAHB) Green Scoring Tool. The LEED system and Energy Star both require third party verification for certification. In the last 3 years all of our homes have been certified Energy Star.

Energy Star is also a federal program that rates the home for energy performance. The process evaluates different elements of energy usage from equipment, appliances and light fixtures to insulation and window efficiency. While many new homes using new products qualify for Energy Star, higher classifications within the Energy Star system are more difficult to achieve. These certifications take quite a bit of time and effort to obtain. The cost of a LEED certification runs from $3000- $5000 and many hours

in planning and implementation, (the first cert is the most costly and Energy Star about $500).

A third rating system that is voluntary & does not require third party verification is the National Home Builders Association (NAHB) Green Scoring Tool. These guidelines were designed with the mainstream home builder in mind recognizing that many home building companies already incorporate some elements of green building into their current practices. However, the purpose of these guidelines is to highlight ways in which a mainstream home builder can effectively incorporate environmental concerns into a new home and to provide a tool for local associations to create a green home building program. This rating system is the least stringent of the three being used. The benefit of this system is that it costs nothing (except NAHB dues) and can be used easily online in about two hours. If this system gets companies that might not otherwise address sustainability begin to consider it in the way they do business it is well worth the effort.


Making sure we can build homes with limited to no adverse impact on our natural resources so that we can keep building homes.

The following are examples of products we use or have used to promote sustainability.

  • Engineered Wood Products (reduces impact on forests)
  • I joists, OSB wall sheathing, microlam beam structural elements, Veneered oak interior doors, composite doors,
  • finger jointed primed poplar trim for paint, Bamboo flooring, Hardi cement board siding, Trex decking.
  • Materials with high-recycled content
  • All engineered wood products, cellulose sprayed on insulation, Rub-R Wall basement water proofing, manufactured stone countertops,
  • Marmoleum vinyl flooring, recycled concrete gravel substrate for exterior concrete and asphalt.
  • Energy Efficiency
  • clad low mantainence windows with insulated, argon filled, low e energy saving glass, insulated fiberglass entry door system,
  • EIFS finish (added 1″ continuous insulation), 1″ continuous foam foundation insulation, cellulose sprayed on insulation,
  • high efficiency (96%+) furnace, high efficiency 17 seer central air conditioning, high and low return air grills, fresh air intake,
  • Smart WIFI enabled HVAC controls, Energy Star appliances, LED lighting, gravity hot water loop and on demand water heater.
  • Low Maintenance Exterior (increases product life cycle)
  • EIFS, cement board siding, masonry, Trex decking, clad windows, fiberglass entry door.
  • Construction Practices (The following items contribute to limiting site waste, run off, material waste, and increased insulation effectiveness)
  • Jobsite silt fence, stockpile black dirt onsite, ladder frame partitions, hot exterior corners, specified lengths and material cut lists for
  • rough, trim and exterior lumber, waste hauler recycles 70%+ of all remaining waste material.
  • Interior Finishes (affects indoor air quality)
  • Paints are Sherwin Williams zero VOC (volatile organic compound) water based finish, jobsite applied clear coats are
  • water based precatylized lacquers or urethanes and the floors are finished with a water base finish, all are low VOC emitters