In the past and even today most people assume that constructing a green, high performance home will cost you a great deal more than building a traditionally constructed home. Whereas, in the past this was a true statement it is becoming less and less true everyday. Many green builders today are constructing highly efficient, environmentally sound homes at prices in line with homes built employing standard construction methods. Heather's Home is one such an example. Built by Ferrier Custom Homes - it is a three bedroom, 2000+ square foot, (get this part) affordable green built home near Ft. Worth, Texas.
This home is very energy efficient as it rates in the top one percent of Energy Star home built in the United States today. That translates into major savings when it comes to utility bills - how does around $15 per month sound? For Texas, where the summers are very hot, that's pretty incredible. Heather's Home was awarded the highest honor, Gold, in the Energy Value Housing Awards by the National Renewable Energy Lab, The U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Association of Home Builders.
Other awards include being the first home in Texas to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and the third home in the United States to gain LEED's Platinum certification. The accolades don't stop there - it was the first home in the U.S. to be certified under the recently more stringent American Lung Association's Healthy Home guidelines. Built using the NAHB Green Home Building guidelines, it has been accepted into the Building America Program sponsored by the U.S.
Department of Energy. Some of the more notable green and high performance features of the home are Passive Solar Design High Efficiency Heating and Cooling System "Thermo-Siphoning" Attic Fan Organic Landscaping Fluorescent and CFL Lighting Non VOC Interior Finishes Green Sustainable Products - Trim, Counter tops, Floor Coverings, Finishes, etc. Organic Landscaping Passive Solar Design Proper Shading of Windows and Doors Fiber Cement Siding Solar Hot Water System Proper Shading of Doors and Windows "Thermo-Siphoning" Attic Fan Heather's Home was designed using passive solar principles. In Texas this means maximizing sunlight exposure in the winter months and minimizing it in the summer months.
In more northern climates a typical high performance home design scenario would be reversed. Hot water is generated from solar panels on the roof. This feature alone can cut as much as thirty percent off of an electric bill. Although full-fledged solar power systems can be pricey, the cost of a solar hot water system can be as little as $3,000. Quality control is ensured using a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) test.
The testing occurs during and after construction to make sure that the home meets the stringent guidelines of the EPA for energy efficiency. To ensure that the house is airtight, a duct blaster test is also performed as well as the review of a checklist for thermal bypass. If you're looking for proof that green, high performance homes can be built at a comparable cost compared to traditionally constructed homes, look no further than Heather's Home. The innovations and availability of green construction materials and components today are making affordable green home building a reality. Let's hope more home builders begin to ride the affordable green building wave.
Green home building is affordable if you locate the proper general contractor employing the proper products and techniques. John Wyeth writes informative articles for homegreenhome.info - a blog about building, financing, powering and living in your green home.