From The Bath Country Journal, April 2009
Local Builders Have Been Successful at Conserving Energy
Green architecture has spread over the United States like a lawn of hardy grass. Green homes even sprout in Ohio and making use of the resources they possess to build with old and new materials.
Geothermal design uses the 52-degree heat from five feet under the ground. Buried looped lines are filled with liquid that cycles into a pump where it comes under pressure. The pressure makes the molecules explode and move faster; that turns the water into 160 F heat.
The primary thing to understand about green materials is to realize green is not black and white. “Green building” is a way of looking at buildings in terms of reducing energy use, conserving water, improving indoor air quality and reducing dependence on natural resources.
When the Akron Home Builders Association (HBA) presented the guidelines for green building in 1994, Steven Moore Custom Homes was one of the first to step up to the plate. As a result, the company became the first winner of the HBA Environmental Builder of the Year award.
“We were fortunate to get in on the ground floor of the green building.” Moore said. “We stared out by using a lot of recycled materials and we implemented the HBA green building guidelines from the beginning, which included the high efficiency furnaces, insulation and high efficiency hot water tanks among other things. Not only were we helping the environment, but we were building houses that cost the owners less money in utilities and upkeep.”
Moore’s early start in the green business has served him well, and even now, his work load is still holding strong even though he estimates that green building adds anywhere from 10 to 20 percent to the overall cost of a home.
There is so much that can be done, even small things that add to the efficiency of a home. Over the years we have been able to figure out what works best. Moore continued. “As for the recycled products, there are good ones and bad ones. We have certainly learned to tell the difference and advise our customers.”
He also added that one of the first things that a new homeowner can do to save money and the environment is to install an efficient heating, ventilating and air condition unit. “I would say about 60 to 75 percent of our customers want that.”
Moore said that the other differences in a green home are the house wraps, which are placed behind the siding or the brick that increases the insulation values. “The codes now require that we use the model energy code qualifications in order to get a building permit, so in a way, everyone is building somewhat green, whether they plan it that way or not.”
He said he has always been able to supply what the owners request. “Most of the time they follow my advice, and on occasion they do not, but mostly, they understand that I am giving them the best advice on a home that can serve them for many years.”
One of Moore’s customers, moved his family in to a new home Moore built in Ohio about nine months ago and is quick to extol the virtues of green building.
“Actually, he wanted a green home from the first,” Moore said. “And we had many discussions about what to do, and how to do it before even starting the project. The more we got into it, the more excited he was about the whole idea.”
Another thing that impressed this new homeowner about his new home is the fact that even with its square footage (7,500), it has achieved the energy star rating. Inspectors came from Columbus on two occasions because they simply could not believe their equipment was working effectively the first time it was inspected. “They thought it was impossible that a home this size could be this energy efficient,” he said.