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Take Note - Affordable Green Home Building Is Possible

Feb 26, 2008
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.

Built by Ferrier Custom Homes, Heather's Home is an affordable, three bedroom, 2,000+ square foot home located near Ft. Worth, Texas. The home is incredibly energy efficient - Heather's Home rates in the top one percent of high end Energy Star homes built today. For Heather, that will mean an average monthly heating and cooling bill in the $15 range. And when it comes to summers in Texas, that's saying a lot.

Heather's Home is the first home in the United States to be certified under the new and more strict American Lung Association's Healthy Home guidelines. Additionally, it was built under the NAHB Green Home Building guidelines and has been accepted into the Building America Program sponsored by the Department of Energy. Even more accolades include being the first Texas home to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and the third home in the country to receive LEED's Platinum certification. Heather's Home was also awarded the top most honor (Gold) in the Energy Value Housing Awards by the United States Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Lab, and the National Association of Home Builders.

Some of the green and high performance components and features of the house that really standout are...

Passive Solar Design

Proper Shading of Doors and Windows

Solar Hot Water System

Energy Star Doors, Windows, Appliances, Lighting

Green Sustainable Products - Counter tops, Trim, Floor Coverings, Finishes, etc.

Rainwater Harvesting

Green Sustainable Products - Trim, Counter tops, Floor Coverings, Finishes, etc.

Non VOC Interior Finishes

Green Sustainable Products - Counter tops, Trim, Floor Coverings, Finishes, etc.

CFL and Fluorescent Lighting

Attic Fan for a "Thermo-Siphoning" Effect

Metal Roof

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.

Water is heated by solar panels on the roof. Heating hot water typically accounts for approximately thirty percent of a home's utility bills. Solar systems that power an entire house can be expensive, however, solar hot water systems can be installed for as little as $3,000.

Ferrier Custom Homes uses a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) test to ensure quality control. Raters inspect and test the home during and after construction to verify that the home meets EPA's strict guidelines for energy efficiency. The process includes a blower door test (to test the leakiness of the house), a duct blaster test (to test the leakiness of the duct system), and review of a thermal bypass checklist (inspection of common construction areas where air can flow through or around joints and insulation).

Heather's Home not only looks great, it's affordable - proof that a high performance, green, and modern home can be economically pragmatic. Thanks to the innovations of Heather's Home there is no reason that more builder's shouldn't be building green homes for the general population. Shout it from the roof tops - you don't have to sell the farm to build a green home.
About the Author
Green home building is affordable if you locate the proper builder using 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 .
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