Green Building News

Green Building News March 2006

March 20, 2006

Bend, Oregon Builder Wins National Green Building Award

SunTerra Homes of Bend, Ore., was named the Custom Home Builder of the Year during the National Association of Home Builders’ 8th Annual National Green Building Conference in Albuquerque, N.M. The award was presented at the Awards Gala on Sunday, March 12.

The SunTerra award-winning building is the private residence and home office for Iris Communications, Inc. owner, Bruce Sullivan, and his family. Sullivan says, "Comfort, health, economy and environmental protection are the rewards of living in a green home. We have high expectations. The temperature is even throughout the home and consistent from day to night and season to season. Sunlight streams through south-facing windows bringing natural light, warming energy and good spirits. The air inside is fresh and clean, without dust, pollen or other nasty airborne particles riding on the wind outside. There isn't a “new house smell” that comes from noxious carpets and solvent-based finishes."

Despite the difficulty of locating a small, solar-friendly lot, builder Jim Chauncey of SunTerra Homes found one in a cul-de-sac of a new development. The site is located about three miles from downtown and is near a bicycle corridor being developed by the local parks district.

Jim envisioned the north side of the building snuggling up to an existing hill for some earth sheltering. The building footprint was placed to maximize solar access and minimize shading from nearby Juniper trees. The site slopes gradually from west to east. Storm water is retained on site through a drainage channel and swale.

Exceptional energy performance was recognized by the ENERGY STAR Homes program. Overall environmental friendliness earned the top honor from Earth Advantage: Platinum Certification. To learn more about the features, click here. The final construction cost was typical for the market and level of quality—about $106 per square foot. The energy-saving and environmentally-friendly features are not extras, but simply different choices of methods and materials.

Other awards announced at the NAHB Green Building Conference included:

  • Green building pioneer Ron Jones of Santa Fe, N.M., was named Builder Advocate of the Year
  • Bill Asdal of Asdal Builders, Chester, N.J., the Remodeler Advocate of the Year
  • Jennifer Languell of Trifect Construction Solutions in Naples, Fla., the Individual Advocate of the Year
  • The Sustainable Building Industry Council of Washington, D.C., the Group Advocate of the Year.
  • Pardee Homes of Los Angeles, the Production Home Builder of the Year.
  • Yavapai College in Chino Valley, Ariz., for its Research House
  • Anderson Sargent Custom Builder, LLC of Waxahachie, Texas, for its Single-Family Concept House
  • Seville Consulting of Decatur, Ga., for the Remodeled Home of the Year
  • Hickok Cole Architects of Washington, D.C., for the Multifamily Home Design of the Year
  • Lakewood Ranch Communities, LLC, of Bradenton, Fla., for the Green Homes Marketing Program of the Year
  • The Wisconsin Environmental Initiative and its Green Built Homes, named Program of the Year.

Habitat for Humanity to Build First Green Home

Hartford Habitat for Humanity is partnering with a family in Hartford, Connecticut's North East neighborhood and giving them the opportunity at home ownership. The home will be enhanced by the use of eco-friendly building materials. The project is made possible with consulting support provided by Hartford based United Technologies Corporation and Global Green USA and sponsorship support by Carrier Corporation and Nationwide. AuctorVerno will assist in promotion and project coordination.

According to Hartford Habitat executive director Julie Donahue, “This is our first green home. We will use this project as a template for future homes and we hope to have the opportunity to try many new technologies.”

The hope for all parties involved in this project is that green building will be viewed as a valuable and viable construction option. To help publicize the home and the green building cause, AuctorVerno will donate a page on its Web site, The web page will include a diary of the building’s progress. Adam Ney, co-founder of AuctorVerno, hopes to build awareness about sustainable design so that others will follow the trend. “If Habitat for Humanity can build a green home, it is in reach of every homeowner and developer who is building in Connecticut today.”

More Stringent Energy Efficient Criteria for ENERGY STAR® Dishwashers

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced more stringent energy efficient criteria for dishwashers carrying the ENERGY STAR label that could save American families more than $26 million a year. The new criteria will also bring tax credits for the production of energy efficient appliances to manufacturers under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005).

Dishwashers that meet the new ENERGY STAR criteria must be a minimum of 41 percent more efficient than federal energy efficiency standards, and will save over 160 million kWh (kilowatt hours) of energy per year, enough to light every household in Washington, D.C., for six months.

The new qualifying levels will go into effect on January 1, 2007, and dishwashers that meet the criteria will be eligible for manufacturer tax credits under EPAct 2005.

New Web Site Furthers Mission of SE Energy Efficiency Alliance

The Southeast consistently ranks among the nation’s fastest-growing regions, yet it is one of the least active with respect to energy-efficiency programs. The Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA), a broad coalition formed in 2003 to promote energy-efficiency policies and practices in the region, is now furthering its mission with the launch of its new web site.

SEEA’s diverse membership includes public utility commissions, regional utilities, energy service companies, large energy consumers, universities, research labs, energy-efficiency organizations like the Alliance to Save Energy and the Southface Energy Institute, environmental and consumer organizations, low-income energy advocates, manufacturers, retailers, trade associations like the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, federal agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, and state agencies and energy offices.

The SEEA web site includes information about the organization and its partners, energy-efficiency tips for consumers and businesses, and listings of upcoming energy-related events. It features state energy office contact information for SEEA’s member states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Atlanta, Louisiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

The web site includes information from a recent SEEA workshop in Atlanta on new energy-efficiency tax credits authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Web site visitors can review workshop proceedings and learn how to save on home and vehicle energy bills while also reducing their federal income taxes.

“The Southeast Energy Alliance’s mission is to build regional partnerships, empower consumers at all income levels through education about the benefits of energy efficiency, promote development of a vibrant energy services industry throughout the Southeast, and grow markets for energy-efficient products,” said Chris White, SEEA’s interim director in Atlanta. “The new web site is definitely a big step forward in achieving those goals and in developing SEAA as a major player in the energy-efficiency field.

Green Design Solutions 2006: Mixed-use Projects - May 2-4

Environmental Design + Construction’s 2nd Annual Green Design Solutions conference, May 2-4, 2006, will focus on Mixed-use projects with a comprehensive case study and tour of the Atlantic Station brownfield development in Atlanta, Ga. The conference is endorsed by the USGBC Atlanta chapter and the Southface Energy Institute.

COD Spring Conference: The Architecture of Sustainability - May 4-7

Presented by The American Institute of Architects Committee on Design, Committee on the Environment. The conference will consider the impact of sustainability on architectural design. Is sustainability an architectural agenda at all, or strictly an environmental one? Does the renewed interest in the environment affect both the style and substance of architecture? Does the integrated design process alter the traditional role of the architect? What lies ahead for our profession and what are our responsibilities as influencers of the built environment?

Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities, Conference, Awards & Trade Show - May 11-12

Co-hosted with the City of Boston, the Conference is organized by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) a not-for-profit industry association working to promote the green roof industry in North America.

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