The NC HealthyBuilt Homes Program is in your neighborhoodBy Matt Siegel, Dona Stankus and Colleen Starkes on 03/16/2006
A HealthyBuilt home is a comfortable, healthy, affordable home that reduces use of energy and water and protects the environment. Building materials and processes are selected to reduce pollution and waste of natural resources during the manufacturing and construction phases and for the life of the home. Because of the quality, amenities and energy savings, the homes have a higher value and are easier to sell.
The NC HealthyBuilt Homes Program (HBH), a statewide green-building program, is a collaboration of the North Carolina Solar Center in Raleigh, the state energy office, North Carolina Department of Administration, NC HealthyBuilt Homes community partners and local professional building organizations. The program supports small and medium-size homebuilders with technical and marketing assistance, design reviews, workshops, presentations and field-consultation services that teach green-building practices.
NC HealthyBuilt Homes and builders in the program must meet requirements to participate. How you meet the requirements is up to you. There are guidelines for building in an environmentally-friendly way. You may be surprised at how many “green” choices you already make. The fees to enter the program are small given the many marketing and consulting people you will work with.
Since its inception in March 2004, the NC HBH program has grown. The program has added more than a dozen builders since March 2005 and includes builders in Wake County, along the coast and in the Charlotte area. Forty builders have used the program, 21 homes have been certified, and 65 more homes are registered to be built in the coming year. NC HBH builder members now represent the following counties: Brunswick, Buncombe, Burke, Carteret, Catawba, Chatham, Dare, Durham, Forsyth, Gaston, Madison, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Pender, Union, Wake and Watauga.
The program has its first community partner, NC HealthyBuilt Homes of Greater Asheville. The local program--a partnership between the statewide program, the Western NC Green Building Council and the Asheville Home Builders Association--is growing as home buyers and builders realize the value of green building. As of December 2005, 19 NC HealthyBuilt Homes had been built and certified in Western North Carolina with about 60 more expected this year. The first NC HBH of Greater Asheville orientation drew 30 builders, developers, real estate agents and architects.
This year, at least two small developments are expected, starting with between eight and 30 homes each that will be part of the NC HBH of Greater Asheville program. These houses will be available to home buyers. In the next year, program officials hope to work with several local governments to provide incentives to builders who use the NC HBH of Greater Asheville program.
Benefits to homeowners from the NC HBH program
• Homes are constructed for healthy environments. NC HealthyBuilt homes are built with the environment and your family’s health in mind. During construction, builders practice sustainable-site measures and resource-conservation strategies.
• Homes have lower operating costs. Because NC HealthyBuilt homes are more energy efficient, you save on utility bills. And with the higher quality of a HealthyBuilt home, you can count on less maintenance in the future.
• The program includes guidelines for high performance. NC HealthyBuilt Homes are built to meet performance guidelines and have third-party verification to ensure durability and efficiency.
• Enjoy more comfort. Advanced techniques used to seal the home’s “envelope,” or exterior shell, mean a safer and more comfortable living space. You will enjoy a quieter home with improved indoor air quality, fewer drafts and reduced moisture.
• The homes have lasting value. The retention of trees, water, materials and energy adds natural value to your home. The quality is monitored through a third party, which makes the homes more valuable and easier to sell.
Builder profiles from across the state
Western North Carolina
The Faherty residence is a new 2100 sq ft active/passive certified Gold Level HealthyBuilt Home. It was built to accommodate both living and office space using a lot of engineered products: pre-cast concrete foundation, engineered I joists, finger joint studs, and a Truss roof system. All of these reduce the amount of material needed to do the structural work. The exterior is low-maintenance, durable stucco with 50-year architectural shingles for roofing. The heating system is radiant floor energized by a solar thermal system and a 95 percent efficient boiler. Icynene insulation, energy efficient windows, advanced framing and a bermed first floor serve to improve energy efficiency. A heat recovery ventilation system and a built-in dehumidifier support indoor air quality, as does the use of low-VOC finish products, non-carpeted flooring, automated ventilation for the bathrooms, a kitchen vent system and a radon vent. Sustainably harvested wood and recycled products were used for trim and cabinets.For a full list of HBH builders in WNC visit www.wncgbc.org/healthybuilt/participants.php.
NC HBH membership is booming along the coast with the addition of The Preserve. At this Wilmington community, the developer, TSL Construction of New Hanover County, requires homebuilders to become a member of the HBH program and construct HealthyBuilt homes. Three homes are under construction there. Some homes in The Preserve will feature solar hot water heating systems; a south roof area designed for future solar collectors; tree preservation plans; high-efficiency toilets, showerheads, water heaters and exterior lighting; and Energy Star appliances. Other new HBH members on the coast include Steve Postich Builders of Brunswick County, Phil Andrews Construction, Custom Cuts Construction of New Hanover County, Knowles Construction of Durham and Carteret counties and Bo Taylor Homes Inc. of Dare County.
In the Charlotte Area, two homes registered with the NC HBH program involve renovations. Banister Homes Inc. plans to gut a home and rebuild it to be a HealthyBuilt home. Pippin Home Designs Inc. has offered to evaluate the HBH checklist as applied to renovation projects and give feedback. Other new members in the Charlotte area include Harrington Construction Inc.; Oakley Custom Homes Inc., which has a home registered with construction to start soon; and Environmental Building Solutions of Union County.
Builder Chad Ray, owner of Olde Heritage Builders, is in the NC HBH program. His first effort, a home in Zebulon, received an HBH certificate in November 2005 and won a gold award in the Wake County Parade of Homes. Other new NC HBH members in Wake include Cherokee Investment Partners, Energy Conservers & Consultants Co. Inc. and Palladium Homes, Inc.
[Matt Siegel, director of the WNC Green Building Council, can be reached at 232-5080 or (). Dona Stankus is director of the statewide HealthyBuilt Homes program at the N.C. Solar Center and is certified with the American Institute of Architects. Stankus can be reached at (). Colleen Starkes also works at the N.C. Solar Center.]