Recently , in Pensacola, Florida, a team of professionals announced their plans to undertake the seemingly difficult task of designing and building a home that will not only be certified Green by the Florida Green Building Coalition and the National Association of Home Builders, but will also be "affordable". To top it all off, it will be marketed by the Eco-minded group, Ecological Realty.
The team consists of Designer, Jim Bozeman, of "Today’s Homes", Builder, Tomas Ondra, NAHB certifying agent, Larry Hunter, FGBC certifying agent Pam Kirk and Real Estate professionals, Trish Sarfert and Jake Hesse of EcoLogical Realty.
The final touches and adjustments are being made to the plans to assure that the home will meet all of the criteria for both certification programs. It will be the NAHB’s first home to be certified green in Pensacola.
The team is working closely together and scrutinizing the plans and specification from every angle. The Designer, who is also a certifying agent for the FGBC, wants to be sure the floor plan not only meets all the requirements for Green certification, but also contains all of the elements of a Universal Design as well. The builder is developing his "pre-game" plan with the certifying agents to be sure that everything will be documented properly and that every possible point earned will be accounted for. EcoLogical Realty is providing valuable information concerning the local housing market to insure that the final plans include features that their buyers are looking for and that the price will be competitive and affordable.
Tall order? You bet it is! Land costs for individual homes can be a deal breaker sometimes. But the team is hopeful. They want to teach the public that having "green features" in a home does not make it a "Green Certified" home. A green home is much more than just having Energy Star appliances or a Geothermal heat pump. These features alone do not make a "Green Certified" home, although they certainly are great features and do score points! A true "Green" home starts with the selection of your lot and its proximity to existing infrastructure or its "walk ability" in order to reduce the need for cars and fuel. It is about using low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) materials for a healthier home, zero landscaping using native plants that require little or no water and less maintenance, and these are just a few things certifying agents look for. In short, having a green certified home is having a home that is located in a neighborhood that scores high in "walk ability", has been constructed with healthy and sustainable materials in a manner that made minimal impact on the earth and that resulted in an energy efficient, low maintenance home. Healthy, Safe, easy to maintain and energy efficient….. all that AND, now we add Affordable!
I will be blogging on this project if you care to follow along. The actual ground breaking is about a week away, so stay tuned!