Green homes grabbing global headlines

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Green homes grabbing global headlines

With green building predicted to double by 2016, green homes are grabbing headlines with stories of lower energy use and greater comfort.

In 2013 green home building was a $36 billion business and is expected to more than double by 2016, driven in part by new building codes and regulations, and growing consumer demand, according to the Green Home Builders and Remodelers Study by McGraw Hill Construction.

Green homes comprised 23 percent of the overall residential construction market in 2013 and are expected to grow to between 26 percent and 33 percent of the market by 2016.

Here's a look at some green homes around the country. Each has a unique story to tell.

$3.2 million home in Corona Del Mar, Calif.

Wayne and Shannon Inouy built their dream green home two years ago, but decided to build a new extreme green home based on what they learned from the first house, according to the Orange County Register.

They built a 2,771 square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bath residence that boasts a long list of eco-conscious features, for $3.3 million.

  • Flooring: Strand bamboo wood set over a cork layer, high-grade linoleum in the kitchen.
  • Low VOC: Kitchen cabinets made with plywood and medium-density fiberboard that have no added formaldehyde, and finishes, paints and stains that have no or low volatile organic compounds.
  • Solar power: 42 solar panels generate 11,130 watts of power.
  • Energy efficiency: LED lights throughout the house, Energy Star rated appliances.
  • Water conservation: Two ACT Inc. D’Mand Kontrols Systems recirculating pumps. The pump circulate hot water faster, saving water that otherwise would go down the drain waiting for warm water.
  • Certification: LEED Platinum applied for

Green home retrofit

In Greene County, New York, a home will receive improved insulation and energy-saving windows. In fact, the house carried no insulation at all, relying simply on air pockets, according to The Daily Mail. Practically any improvements to this home are worthwhile, according to contractor John Wase. He noted that because the older home has 2x4 walls, it won't receive the same amount of insulation that a home with 2x6 walls would, but the improvements will still help cut heating costs. Also, the home is getting double-paned, argon filled windows, which are far superior to the units removed from the 100 year old home.

The depressed economy of the area keeps people from fully investing in a deep green retrofit, but they are willing to pay for improvements with a good return on investment, Wase said.

Green home price drop

The price for a 4,275-square-foot home in the Brookhaven neighborhood of Atlanta with sustainable features such as solar panels, a geothermal heat pump, a rain-harvest system and energy efficient doors, windows and systems, was recently lowered after a long period on the market. The 12-year-old house designed by Allison Ramsey Architects has been featured on HGTV for its design and eco-friendly features. The home on Osborne Road dropped its price from $959,000 to $899,000, according to real estate site Zillow. The price also includes a one-bedroom carriage home with a full kitchen and deck.


Finnish green home finished after a decade

After 10 years, Thomas Commondt finally completed his SteamCastle Villa home in Pargas, a community in the archipelago of islands scattered along Finland’s southwestern coast, according to the New York Times.

The home will be heated and powered by a steam plant that will use hydrogen gas produced on site. The timber-frame was made with walls of clay quarried on the site. When the heating and power plant comes online, Commondt expects to have no heating or electricity costs.

He used recycled and repurposed materials, including dozens of doors, windows and mirrors. The mirrors reflect the sunlight that filters into the two-level home through its skylights.

For insulation he used birch wood, shredded straw, linen and sawdust in the walls and roof. Reeds harvested from local wetlands decorate the walls and provide additional insulation, as will the mats of sedum plants that will cover the bitumen roof.

Read more about building green.

Companies: ACT D'MAND Systems

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