Why Build Green?

Building ‘green’ means many different things to many different people.  While we can all agree that the term ‘building green’ is a way to describe construction practices that are more environmentally friendly than conventional practices, it can still be confusing as to what it truly means.  Other terms you may hear often are, “Sustainable”, “Environmentally Responsible”, “Resource Efficient” and “Healthy”.  Some of these terms are used interchangeably, some indicate a particular focus.

Some green builders are mostly paying attention to the environment of the house itself.  By using non-toxic materials, ventilation and air filtration systems, water filters and other techniques, they are reducing indoor air pollution to help create a “healthy” indoor environment.

Other builders look at green building from a broader perspective.  They address concerns with respect to the impact the house has on the total environment.  They consider how the house will affect water, landfills, wildlife or the air quality in the neighborhood. There are many more readily available products like ceramic tiles made from car windshields, high quality carpet made from recycled soda bottles, insulation made from recycled denim and a wide variety of engineered products made from was formerly thrown away.  We, as a society, are moving towards being more conscious, more responsible with how we live our lives with respect to the environment.

What does Green Building mean to Harring Construction?
We believe that Green starts with Energy.  Did you know that 80% of all environmental damage on the planet deals with energy in one way or another – finding it, transporting it, creating it, or using it?  Our building efforts concentrate on energy efficiency, water efficiency and material efficiency.  Of all three topics, we feel energy is 80 percent of the deal.  We feel by building differently— building a home more energy efficient, that the homeowner benefits by paying less on their utility bills (at least 15% less or more), lives more comfortably and lives more responsibly by creating a smaller carbon footprint in the environment.  Therefore, Harring Construction has committed to build EACH home as a certified EarthCraft and ENERGY STAR home.

Benefits of Building Green
Specifically, each homeowner will benefit in five ways by choosing a Harring Construction built home.

  1. Better Performance:  Properly installed energy efficient improvements deliver better protection against cold, heat, drafts, moisture, pests, pollution and noise.  An energy efficient home helps ensure consistent temperatures between rooms, improved indoor air quality and greater durability.
  2. Lower Ownership Cost:  Compared with standard construction, Harring Construction built homes use substantially less energy for heating, cooling and water heating—delivering $ 200 to $ 400 in annual savings.  Additional savings are recognized for using less water and implementing CFL (compact fluorescent light bulbs) in high use areas.   Although these energy savings may seem small relative to the cost of monthly mortgage payments, no one likes to waste money.  Plus, over the 7 or 8 years that a typical buyer lives in the home, it adds up to thousands of dollars saved.
  3. Smarter Investment:  By choosing a Harring Construction built home with the EarthCraft designation, you can be confident that it will be an increasingly valued feature when the time comes to sell.  Currently, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that REALTORS use to list homes in their database, have a specific box that is available to be used IF a house is a certified green home.  This is an important distinction that is available to show potential buyers which home is built to a high energy efficient standard.
  4. Added Confidence:  Just because a house is built to code, doesn’t mean it will be comfortable or affordable to operate.  Having a home certified as a EarthCraft home gives buyers the confidence that the builder was required to utilize advanced building techniques and have it tested by an independent third party to ensure the house met the strict requirements to achieve proper installation and high energy efficiency.
  5. Environmental Protection:  Since all Harring Construction built homes achieve higher energy efficiency standards, they use less energy which helps prevent greenhouse gas emissions.  Greater energy efficiency helps us make the most of our energy resources, mitigates the impact of high energy prices, decreases the need for new power plants, lowers our reliance on energy imports, and reduces the emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants at the source.

Building Green & Your Home

Harring Construction is dedicated to green building.  The benefits to the homeowner are so important that Jeremy Harring is committed to building EACH of his homes as an EarthCraft certified home as a standard!  Every Harring Construction built home will achieve at least a 15% minimum energy savings over a code-built home, homeowners will experience a more comfortable and healthy living environment and the homes are much more environmentally friendly.

The green features that can be incorporated into a home are growing daily and we continue our pursuit to research and learn about the latest green building products and techniques.  Below is a list of some of the green features that Harring Construction incorporates into each home as STANDARD.

  1. Low-E Windows:  Low-E windows reflect radiant energy in the summer and retain heat in the winter.  In a typical house, about 20% of the heating and cooling costs are caused by heat gain or loss through the windows.
  2. Dual Flush Toilets:  Dual flush toilets meet the strict requirements of the WaterSense program by the EPA.  Using these high efficient toilets ( HET ) can save homeowners thousands of gallons of water each year.
  3. Conditioned Crawlspace:  Creates a tighter crawlspace with less moisture content.  High moisture is a crawlspace can cause mold and decay of structural members.  A sealed crawlspace also improves the indoor air quality of the home by virtually eliminating any mold or mildew spores that make their way inside the home.
  4. High Efficiency HVAC Equipment:  High Efficiency and correctly sized equipment uses less energy and provides a higher level of indoor comfort for the homeowner.
  5. Tankless Water Heater:  A tankless water heater can save approximately up to 50% over less efficient electric water heaters.  ENERGY STAR predicts that an average home could save up to $ 115 by using a tankless water heater over an electric water heater.
  6. Foam Windows and Doors and Caulk Bottom and Top Plate:  These areas are notorious for air leakage.  Extra attention to foam and implementing more caulking throughout the house in these areas creates a tighter building envelope and helps maintain even temperatures throughout the house.
  7. Low flow shower heads and plumbing fixtures:  Using these fixtures can save as much as 30% on your water bill as well as save more than $ 250 on water heating costs.
  8. Use of Compact Flourescent Light bulbs (CFL’s):  We install CFL bulbs in the most used rooms in the house; kitchen, family room and front door light which will save 1/3 the amount of energy for a traditional light bulb.  Plus, CFL bulbs will last 10 times as long as an incandescent light bulb.
  9. ENERGY STAR Appliances:  ENERGY STAR appliances are recognized to consume substantially less energy than the majority of appliances on the market.
  10. EarthCraft Certification:  All Harring Construction built homes will be inspected and tested to ensure all energy efficient features and equipment are properly installed in the home.

Feel free to call us to discuss other green building features that may be important to you.  In addition to being a certified builder for EarthCraft House of Virginia, Jeremy Harring has earned the designation as a Certified Green Professional ( CGP ) from the National Association of Home Builders and is committed to providing all our clients detailed explanations and benefits in building green.