Homebuilders inspired by Proud Green Home at Serenbe to deliver more green building
Before he can instruct consumers on the advantages of high-performance homes, Manson Peppers needed to be schooled himself. That’s why he visited the Proud Green Home during its opening weekend Aug. 16-17.
The north Georgia builder looking to expand his reach in the deep green market figured there weren’t many better ways to learn than to make the trek to Serenbe.
Sustainability and efficiency are “on customers’ minds,” said Peppers, who runs Blue Ridge Cedar Homes. “It’s what they want.”
Several builders and developers visited the Proud Green Home earlier this month. Some of them concentrate on sustainability and deep green methods. Others only dabble in it. But they all came looking for ideas on how to build better.
As principal technology advisor for Celebration Associates, Amy Westwood traveled from Winter Garden, Fla., to explore opportunities to integrate some of the technology used in the Proud Green Home into homes being built in a sustainable community the firm is developing in Charlottesville, Va.
Celebration wants to pattern its developments like those of the quaint community of Serenbe that places sustainability and conservation at its foundation, but mixes in shopping and other modern amenities into its design.
“What consumers are talking about today is so much more focused on sustainability,” she said. “Here, they can work and shop and be connected to the world. This will become more of the norm.”
The extent of Peppers’ efforts in high-performance construction has been minimal. He works simple efficiencies into his designs, like installing overhangs that shield homes from excess heat.
But Peppers wants to incorporate much more into his repertoire. He said he has an awareness of the shift toward sustainability, though not much knowledge of what all high-performance building entails.
Peppers spent a good deal of time touring the Proud Green Home, getting demonstrations on efficient building techniques and examining product displays. What stood out most was the concept of “everything affects everything,” in which all materials make up a set of systems in a home and how each of those systems work together to keep performance at a high level.
“Anytime I can see something new and have it explained to me, it helps,” he said. “It’s not for everybody. But the more options you can give customers, the better.”
From left, Chuck Saleeby, Toney Martin and Ryan Dufee, who are designing and building a home not far down the street from the Proud Green Home, stopped by the home during Friday open house to get a look at the finished product.
Toney Martin and Chuck Saleeby are building a home designed by Ryan Dufee down the street from the Proud Green Home. Having watched the Proud Green Home come together over the last year, the trio wanted a closer look.
They liked what they saw.
“They did a beautiful job,” Martin said. “This home fits in very well with the community.”
Martin and Saleeby operate Martin-Dobson Homes. The company built a similar-looking contemporary home next door to the Proud Green Home.
Martin-Dobson adopted green building techniques years ago, Martin said, seeing the approach as the right thing to do, along with strengthening the quality of the homes they built. As they build more and more high-performance homes, the reputation – and the benefits – of those structures has spread.
Green methods aren’t merely a novelty to their business. They are a natural part of the way they operate.
“We’re building the best product we can,” Martin said. “We don’t sacrifice efficiency. … Everybody is interested in saving money. That’s why we have so much work.”
Peppers senses the residential construction transforming drastically in the coming years as the public demands high-performance homes and building codes gravitate toward more efficient standards. He believes more stringent regulations are beneficial beyond just the building industry.
“We all need to be greener – for the future of our children,” he said.
Read more about the Proud Green Home at Serenbe.
Companies: ProudGreenHome.com, Southface Energy Institute, Kohler, BASF Corporation, PPG Pittsburgh Paints, Kleendeck, LLC, Serenbe Sustainable Community, LG Squared, Inc., The Imery Group, Benjamin Obdyke, Zehnder America, SmartBIM, Huber Engineered Woods, Wood-Mode, Inc.