Home builders go green with energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly features

Stock SectorApril 9, 20187min6
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The Tennessean’s yearlong look at Costs of Growth and Change in Nashville series culminates on December 20 with a mini-documentary viewing, photography show and continued discussion led by David Plazas about where Nashville goes next.

Home buyers are discovering a lot of reasons to “go green” with an energy efficient home in a neighborhood built with sustainability in mind. It’s good for the environment, but it’s also good for their wallets as well as their lifestyle.

So many home buyers inquired about energy saving features that Goodall Homes, one of the largest builders active in Sumner County, installed what it calls its Energy Room at its model home in Gallatin’s Carellton subdivision.

The room gives potential buyers the chance to peek behind the walls and above the ceiling to see hidden energy saving features.

Carellton is located off Long Hollow Pike on Carellton Drive.  

“People expect their new home to be energy efficient,” said Goodall Homes Vice President Todd Reynolds.

He estimates that the company’s new homes are 25 percent to 30 percent more energy efficient that homes built just a few years ago. 

“It’s a significant amount. Once they move in, they’re amazed at how low their energy bill is,” he said.

In a 2017 survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 56 percent of the Realtors responding said clients are at least somewhat interested in sustainability. In addition, 71 percent said the promotion of energy efficiency in listings was very or somewhat valuable.

Buyers ranked features that were important to them: heating and cooling costs (84 percent of buyers); energy-efficient appliances (67 percent); energy-efficient lighting (67 percent); landscaping for energy conservation (47 percent); and environmentally friendly community features (44 percent). 

At Foxland Harbor, the lakeside golf community in Gallatin, a new green feature will enhance residents’ lifestyle, said Joe Godfrey, Foxland’s president.

He is in the process of building the first phase of 77 condominiums on the shore of Old Hickory Lake. The Water’s Edge lakefront condos will have several four-story buildings when complete. Sizes range from 1,536 square feet for a two-bedroom residence to 2,020 for three bedrooms. Penthouses each have 2,864 square feet.

Residents won’t have individual lawns, but they will have a lakefront walking trail for exercise and relaxation.

“That sort of feature is very attractive. People today want to get outdoors,” said Godfrey.

He has another feature in mind for condo residents who might want to grow fresh vegetables for their table.

“I’m trying to find a space to put a small garden,” said Godfrey.

In addition to the new lakefront trail, residents of Foxland can stroll on sidewalks throughout the neighborhood while enjoying views of the golf course.

The condos are being built with energy efficiency in mind. Features include Energy Star appliances as well as low-e (low emissivity) windows and radiant barrier roofing that keeps interiors cool.

“We’re trying to be an energy-efficient product but without moving to the level that would add a lot of cost,” said Godfrey. 

Goodall’s Energy Room has clear windows that allow visitors to see features that ordinarily would be hidden from view.
    
“Looking through the Plexiglas, they can see the insulation, see that we use spray foam insulation behind the outlets,” which in older homes are a significant source of drafts, said Reynolds.

Features include radiant barrier roofing, insulation, low-e windows, air barriers in the attic, sealed ducts and advanced framing techniques.  

“The majority of people who come through the door want a nice home in a nice community,” said Reynolds. “Energy efficiency is the icing on the cake.”

 

Read or Share this story: https://www.tennessean.com/story/money/homes/2018/04/09/home-builders-go-green-energy-efficient-environmentally-friendly-features/499037002/

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