A look inside Pardee Homes, winner of the NAHB Advocate of the Year award

| by John Johnson
A look inside Pardee Homes, winner of the NAHB Advocate of the Year award

Pardee Homes built its first green home in 1998, back when most homeowners and Realtors likened “green” to a nice plush lawn or a colorful shade of paint.

With its long history of building green, it came as no surprise when the California production builder was named the recipient of the Green Building Corporate Advocate of the Year award from the National Association of Home Builders. The award was presented at the 12th Annual NAHB National Green Building Conference in Raleigh, N.C., in May. Pardee Homes was honored along with 14 other builders, remodelers and home building industry professionals for their commitment to building sustainable housing.

“We are deeply honored to receive this ‘body of work’ recognition from NAHB,” says Mike McGee, president and CEO of Pardee Homes. “The Green Advocate designation acknowledges a tremendous investment of time, effort and painstaking learning by our workforce and our sub-contractors, suppliers and consultants.”

Pardee Homes has built more than 10,000 energy efficient and green homes over the past 10 years, and expects to build another 1,000 green homes in 2010. “We were astonished when we started to look back and realized we were well over 10,000 homes,” says Joyce Mason, senior vice president of marketing at Pardee Homes. “We were quite pleased to see how far we’ve come. We’re really seeing green come into the mainstream. Today, that is the only way we build.”

The green effort began back in 1998, when Pardee started to research green building principles as part of an entitlement process it was going through regarding a land plan design in Southern California intended to protect sensitive land. The green building platform was born there, and the decision was made to include environmentally sensitive features in its home building plans. Later in 1998, Pardee Homes built its first energy efficient home in Las Vegas.

Pardee Homes has steadily incorporated additional green and sustainable measures into its new homes, and in 2001 elevated its green building program by introducing its LivingSmart program in San Diego. In 2009, Pardee Homes made a company-wide commitment to building only LivingSmart homes.

Elements of living smart

The LivingSmart program includes four elements – Energy Smart, Earth Smart, Water Smart and Health Smart. Various building options are attached to each category, such as solar in the energy sector, and using sustainable wood products in the earth sector. The health smart category includes aspects like reverse osmosis water treatment systems, central vacuuming system and the use of low VOC paints.

“The LivingSmart brand is core to our success as a builder of green homes, and as a green advocate,” says Mason. “Its features are viable, practical and understandable, enabling us to deliver green measures that are within buyers’ means while adding to their awareness and knowledge of the many benefits of green.

“A basic home will come with elements of all four living smart features, and the homeowner has the option to choose other things to expand a part of the program to their liking. If they’d like to expand the energy part to include solar, they can do that. If they want a drought tolerant landscaping package they can do that too.”

Mason says that LivingSmart meets or exceeds local, state and national standards for green home building. The program offers more than 30 included and optional green features, materials and systems that boost energy efficiency, save water, improve indoor air quality and encourage material conservation and the use of recycled or sustainable resources in new homes.

LivingSmart is key to Pardee’s design and construction quality, and reinforces progressive approaches to community planning and development. Notable in many Pardee master plans, this translates to preserved trees and open space, and habitat restoration and indigenous, drought tolerant landscaping. Proximity to employment, transit, schools and recreation strengthens smart growth principles in such communities as Pacific Highlands Ranch in San Diego, Fair Oaks Ranch in Los Angeles County and Nevada Trails in Las Vegas.

The green building sector has certainly evolved since Pardee Homes made its first foray into sustainable housing sector, and Mason says Pardee will evolve with it.

“What’s interesting is that what was at one time considered to be a fad has clearly moved into the mainstream,” she says. “We’ll continue to expand our program as new technologies emerge. Things that used to be uncommon, like energy efficient windows, are now commonplace. Things have changed so much over the years that it is much easier for everyone building green.”

Topics: Building Green, Cost of Ownership, Landscaping, Solar Power, Water Quality

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