Eco-Friendly Home Builders Who Chose to Go Green
Being eco-friendly is an issue that Centennial Woods considers one of its top priorities, so for this post we rounded-up some of the most influential people in the home building industry and asked them, “Why are you passionate about building green homes?”
“Since the beginning of our company in 1975, the year of the “first energy crisis”, the way we build has always been greatly influenced with energy costs in mind. It’s not only saving money each month on energy bills, but also building a home that will be healthier, more quiet and comfortable too. We feel that as custom home builders, we are the “research lab” for the green building movement. Green products and applications are continually being developed, and we constantly look for the ones that provide the most value for our customers; such as LED lights, and geo-thermal heating and cooling.”
“My passion for green homes began, not as a result of my education as an Architect but because I became sick from chemical exposure living in a new building. Realizing that, in the course of my architectural education, this important subject of health in the built environment was not even discussed, I became steeped in study to help myself and my clients. I regained my health and I learned that our buildings can either make us sick or they can nurture and enhance our health. I also learned that they can be environmentally destructive or they can work with nature to provide comfort, health, energy efficiency and beauty. What could be better work than creating homes for people that nurture them and the environment around them? We always say “Why leave nature behind when you walk through your front door?”
Polly Bart, PhD
President, Greenbuilders, Inc.
“I’m passionate about building green homes because I live in the country and see the changes — the losses — every season in plant and animal life. I have friends who are Millennials and they are not pleased — they want ways to take action and I want to offer them models. Life for me personally aligns how I spend my time with my belief systems — and then provides rich, healthy, exciting and rewarding experiences as I live through my days. Living in harmony with what we believe in and having a great time doing it.
Building green homes for Green builders means protecting the site, conserving water and reducing runoff, saving energy while increasing comfort, using local natural materials, and filling the home with healthy fresh sweet-smelling air at the right temperature and humidity — building a project team where everyone including the clients’ children has a voice, has fun, and is proud of the completed project.
Why is this green? Domestic soapstone with no finish other than mineral oil. Walnut salvaged from a local downed tree. Vanity designed by the client working with a very gifted young cabinetmaker. New master bath harmonizes with historic Roland Park house. Original fixtures deconstructed and donated.”
Troy Johnson, AIA
“Green building and design has been a primary focus of ours for the past 28 years. As stewards of the Earth, we at Golden Rule Builders feel that we should help do our part to minimize the impact to the Earth with every project. By having these concepts in mind from the beginning of our Design/Build process, the green and energy efficiency items are more seamlessly incorporated.“
“Energy efficiency is important to our future, and it’s important to our customers. We were the first home builder in Colorado Springs to be E-star and then the first builder to be one hundred percent Energy Star and we want to continue to lead the way. The energy efficient technologies in the homes we build provide lasting value and quality while safeguarding the next generation.”
“We are firmly committed to green building, one of our specialties is Passive House construction which is the skillful crafting of homes that are designed, modeled and constructed to meet the Passive House Building energy standard. These homes are ultra-efficient (90% reduction in heating and cooling energy), and are characterized by superior indoor air quality, thermal comfort and durability. The minimal energy needs of a Passive House building reduces building operating costs permanently, while also mitigating the impact of energy price increases over time. These homes also can easily achieve carbon neutrality with the addition of a small renewable generation system, which puts their owners and occupants firmly on a path to a carbon-neutral lifestyle.”
“We feel that a green home / High Performance home is the best way to build, because it is better for the planet and better for the home owner. A green home saves energy and gives back money to the owner and it is a more healthier home to. We are the only builder building HERS Score homes in the low 50’s. We also give the home owner a 2 year electrical bill buy back.”
President, Naikoon Contracting Ltd.
“Why wouldn’t you build it green? Thats all we’ve got to say!”
“I am passionate about building green homes for my clients because they are healthier, quieter, more comfortable and have lower energy costs improving the lives of the families that live in them.”
“We are passionate about designing and building green, high performance homes for many reasons; However, we will keep our answer to our two favorites. First of all, we feel high performance building is better construction science. This is evident in the advanced wood framing techniques and through out the envelope and interior design selections made on a project. Secondly, we are excited to deliver as sustainable of a home as we can, while trying to build at a point where economic sustainability meets environmental sustainability. This to us is a winning proposition, both for the community at large and the family which resides in the home.”
“I think the word “Green” is a bit over used. I like “Sustainable” or “High Performance” In your case “Sustainable” would be a better word. “Sustainable” to me falls into 3 main avenues:
1. With energy prices increasing historically at a rate much higher than inflation. It is only a matter of time when energy costs will prevent people from “sustaining” in their current home. I am a big believer in Net Zero or Net Zero Ready Homes.
2. Health: Sustainable Homes are healthier to their occupants. This is hard to quantify but better health = better longer life.
3. Lastly by conserving natural resources, IE. using reclaimed materials, sustains the planet for our future generations. I like incorporating reclaimed wood in my projects, it is a way for a homeowner to “display” their philosophy to their guests. The added benefit is, that reclaimed wood make a home unique. No 2 installations are the same.”
Bill Freeman & Alicia Dolce
As a result of growing up in the 70’s during the oil and gas crisis, building homes as energy efficiently as possible has always made sense to us.Fast-forward to today, the science on climate change is undisputable and the pressure on our natural resources that much greater. As builders, we consider the long-term effect of the building process as it relates to resource management, fossil fuel use and carbon footprint. We are mindful that 50-100 yrs. from now, the global landscape is likely to be very different and how we build our homes and buildings today will affect how we live and cohabitate in the future. On top of our commitment to environmentally responsible building, we are also thrilled to build homes that enable our clients to experience the peace of mind that comes from knowing they can put their money to better use than paying energy bills while also being “protected” from the potential of rising energy costs in the future. We have recently completed a passive house for clients (HERS score of 4) and are currently building a zero energy home for clients. Building green is non-negotiable for us, and is our way of “Being the change we want to see in the world”.
“Green homes are good for the owner, the city, the country & future generations. It takes a commitment from all team members, and as such, presents a very unique challenge – much more rewarding than simply building houses!”
“High performance. Sustainable. Green. For VPC Builders, each of these concepts goes hand-in-hand with being a better builder, taking care of our environment, and setting new standards for Green Building in the High Country.
As a green construction company, VPC Builders strives to meet and exceed community and national standards in high performance building by creating innovative structures that blend form with function, in harmony with the environment. By informing and educating our clients about Green Building, we are able to help them understand the importance of choosing renewable products. We encourage clients to select local, renewable, and reclaimed products, such as bamboo flooring and reclaimed barn wood, in order to achieve the highest level of sustainability possible for their project.
VPC Builders employees are active participants in the green movement. We believe the choices we make are not just for today…not just for us, or our clients. The choices we make today will impact generations to come. Our advanced Green Building construction techniques and services ensure that future generations are able to enjoy the same standard of living and environment we experience today.
Listed below are some of VPC Builders Green Building and sustainable credentials, including related certifications and designations:
▪ Received the everGREEN Award for Sustainability from the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce
▪ Certified Green Professional designation from the National Association of Home Builders
▪ Certified Building Analyst Professional and Building Science Principles Certificate of Knowledge from the Building Performance Institute (BPI)
▪ Energy Star Partner
▪ LEED AP Building Design + Construction (LEED AP BD+C)
▪ Built the first LEED certified home in the High Country and recently completed a LEED Gold certified home
▪ Renewable Energies Diploma from the North Carolina Solar Center
▪ Green Building Diploma from the North Carolina Solar Center
▪ Currently involved in multiple Photovoltaic, Geothermal, Solar thermal projects, and continuously pursuing and adding new projects
▪ NC Healthy Built Home Program Participant
▪ Strive to meet and exceed Energy Star Certification requirements for every project
▪ Employees are certified and educated in the highest nationally and internationally recognized standards of Green Building and energy efficiency available and are kept current by participating in continuing education on a yearly basis
▪ We strive to educate clients, sub-contractors, and people in the community about Green Building, sustainability, and energy efficiency
▪ We are working towards going paperless”
Julia Reinert, CMP
Our High Performance Certified Green Homes are so much more than just energy efficient, they offer its owners peace of mind about their comfort, their health, their money and their impact on the environment. At Homes by Dickerson, we are committed to building each of our custom homes with this philosophy in mind, regardless of price point or location, because it is our passion to be good stewards of our clients money and to offer them the best options available when it comes to health, comfort and sustainability.
“I don’t believe that there is a choice to design sustainably or not; it should be inherent. It’s not just about using certain materials–it’s part of our mission to create a better environment and it should be done in a way that puts the least amount of strain on our energy needs while preserving our natural resources in a smart and responsible way.
You have to ask tough, pragmatic questions about what you’re trying to achieve and not get sidetracked. There is a LEED mania, a whole subculture or industry. In my opinion, this is nuts. It’s an multimillion-dollar industry devoted to cataloging and filling out paperwork. Those millions of dollars should be going toward creating better buildings. Just making a house LEED certified costs about $15,000 in paperwork. We are LEED certified and I belong to the USGBC because I subscribe to all the goals, but I object to the vehicle.
Think local. That is certainly a very logical and obvious place to begin. It makes sense in terms of sustainability, but it also makes sense for creating a piece of architecture that is grounded and specific to the local conditions such as geography and climate. Local building traditions use local craftsmen and local materials, and in a way that makes sense and has held up for hundreds of years. Successful architecture always looks like it belongs.
I hope that architecture will improve in its execution and that the craft of building will survive. Our society is plagued by “thow-away-ism” in buildings and objects, celebrating the inessential.
If we consume less but make sure that we do choose thoughtfully designed, well-crafted objects and environments, then we are on the path to a sustainable future.”