EDIT/UPDATE TO OUR GREEN BUILDING CONVERSATION...FOR THOSE JUST TUNING IN! READ THIS SUMMARY FIRST...
In this post we have discussed various financial impacts of "Green Building" - reduced insurance, up front costs, greater longevity, eco-friendly mortgages, affordability... We have discussed the health benefits that come with a green building focus. We have discussed the technology and physics behind the latest products for healthy-built homes.
We concluded that we would like to examine a team-effort to create a consulting network of resources for clients and professionals interested in high-performance buildings and eco-friendly land use.
NOW we are working on organizing all the information we have gathered here so that folks who come here in the future can have a "Table of Contents"
This "Table of Contents" also could be the framework for a (to be announced) checklist that eco-certified real estate professionals could use when doing a "high-performance" review for their clients...
Here's what the Table of Contents looks like..so far:
A. Site Planning & Land Development
B. Lot Design, Preparation and Development,
C. Environmental Impact, Ecology, Hydrology, Landscaping
D. Construction, Building materials and methods
E. Resource Efficiency
F. Energy Efficiency
G. Water Efficiency
H. Indoor Environmental Quality
I. Operation, Maintenance and Homeowner Education
J. Real Estate Services
K. Consulting Services
L. Financial Services
M. Global Impact
We are ready to think about establishing a referral network of professionals who can e a resource for those interested in high-perfromace living spaces and eco-friendly land use.
PLEASE COMMENT BELOW and let us know if you would be interested in being contacted as we develop our "consulting network" information.
...NOW ON WITH MY ORIGINAL ARTICLE ABOUT ONE TYPE OF ENERGY-EFFICIENT BUILDING - INSULATED CONCRETE FORMS FOR USE IN RESIDENTIAL HOMES. ENJOY!
In the course of doing my real estate business with a "green" focus I've grown to know some great innovators who are driving the sustainable housing agenda here in southeast PA. One individual I've been to talking with Tom Reilly of New Holland Concrete's Construction Supply Centers division. He's in the business of selling Reward Wall's ICFs in southeast PA. What's an ICF, you ask? It's a new way of doing homes using concrete walls rather than wood! Truly a Lancaster County green building innovation. ICF stands for "Insulated Concrete Form", and they are being used for commercial buildings and are starting to take hold in the residential market. By using an environmentally-friendly system, significant energy savings can result.
I asked Tom to send over some information once I heard that he was doing the foundations for the green homes being built at Lancaster Career & Technology center in Mount Joy. Here is a little bit about Tom and his passion:
"I've been with Construction Supply Centers (regional distributors of Reward Walls) since March 2005. I was brought on board specifically to sell the Reward Wall System. I was intrigued by the product/industry and as I got more and more into it, I really began to believe in the concept. It took me a good year to 18 months to get comfortable with ICF's because I was/am dealing with the homeowners, the builders, the subcontractors, the architects AND the engineers. I had to literally become the expert, and while I'm still learning on a daily basis, I can confidently speak with any of these groups intelligently."
"It's strange how there are pockets where ICF technology is readily accepted, and there are areas where conservative traditions in construction have a stranglehold. The interest level from the public has grown exponentially over the 2 yrs I've been doing this, and homeowners are coming to the table more and more informed about their choices.
We helped the Lancaster Career & Technology Center build the first of 5 "Green" homes and they chose to use Reward for the foundation."
He's very enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and I spoke with him about the challenges and rewards of selling ICFs in Lancaster County. He talked about an "affordability analysis" sheet he's using where he breaks down the actual cost/benefit of switching to an ICF foundation/wall system.
"The Affordability Analysis does help clarify the cost/benefit to interested parties. It takes the subjectivity out of the picture and helps them to determine a break-even point in terms of payback. It's more or less a selling tool. It's hard to describe the feel of an ICF home. It has a luxurious feel to the interior; it's quiet, it's consistent in terms of temperature. Your mechanicals are reduced because of the tight envelope, and they run less. In fact, geothermal takes forever to pay back because it never runs. They work well together in the "green" mode, but it truly does take longer to pay back on geo."
"We did a home up in Wilkes-Barre that was 81' across the back. From one end to the other, there was a 0.5 degree variance in temperature. That was impressive. Another home we did in Bellefonte has 4000 sf of living space. Total utility bills, after being audited recently, came out with an annual cost of about $400."
"It's kind of like the Cadillac/Yugo selling comparison; there's a market for both, but if you're trying to compete cost-wise and the dollar is the determining factor, 9 times out of 10 ICF's will lose. It's the client who can look past the initial, up-front costs, who sees the long-term benefit in energy savings and to the environment where we do well."
For more information on the Reward Wall System click here. To contact Tom email him here. I appreciated the chance to learn more about this great new technology in green building. You'll be hearing more about this and other green building opportunities in Lancaster County, PA.
Update -- click here for an update on this profile and an article on Tom's work with Garman Homes of Lancaster. Mike Garman and Norm Faus have constructed an all-ICF home for display in this year's Lancaster Parade of Homes! We look forward to more news as the "green' building movement spreads throughout PA and the US.