In April 2015 the Western North Carolina Green Building Council (WNCGBC) reported certification of the 1,000th Green Built North Carolina home in the greater Asheville area. There is also the new Green Gauge program for assessing how green a home actually is. It can be used by buyers and sellers for comparison or by existing homeowners for recommendations on making their home greener.
It took eight years from 2006 until 2015 to build and certify those 1,000 Green Built NC homes. Very few builders are using green building techniques which is disappointing for the regions of Asheville and Greenville, South Carolina that are undergoing major growth. The goal of the WNCGBC is to make green building the construction industry standard for Asheville.
The nonprofit Green Building Council has promoted green building projects in the region since its beginnings in 2000, both with contractors and the public. Executive Director Maggie Leslie says, “We have the capability to build homes that use zero fossil fuels to operate, capture their own water, treat it on-site and have zero toxic chemicals.” She hopes the group will help local communities reconnect with the natural surroundings of our special mountain region.
The 1,000th green certified home was built by JAG & Associates Construction at 87 Fenner Avenue off Merrimon Avwenue just north of UNC Asheville. It features airtight construction, fresh air ventilation, water-saving appliances, low-toxic finishes, and a south-facing roof for installing solar panels to cut energy costs and carbon emissions. According to JAG Operations Manager and the Fenner Ave. project manager Rob Johnson, it scored a HERs Index or ENERGY STAR score of 55 which is 45 percent more efficient than the building code and standard building practices. Listed at $415,000, the home already has a buyer.
The WNCGBC says program certified homes “sell faster, hold their value longer, save energy, lower utility bills and protect the environment.” The four levels, certified, silver, gold and platinum, set the improved energy efficiency goals as well as reduced environmental impact for different budgets and contractor experience levels. It estimates the certified homes have reduced area carbon emissions by 5,000 tons a year and saved the homeowners an average $815 annually on utility bills.
Leslie says the Green Gauge program for retrofitting existing structures “provides simple, low-cost and provide recommendations on cost-effective upgrades, offering graphical comparisons of energy and water use compared to average homes. We think homebuyers should know what it will cost to live in a home before they buy it.” There are now 230 contractors who have built at least one green project home in the area.
View the list of green builders in North and South Carolina. Some of the Greenville green builders listed are Addison Homes, Compass Homes, and Meritus Signature Homes in Anderson. Get information on the green home tour of the month on the WNCGBC tour website. Note in the video that Greenville, South Carolina does not make the list of the top ten cities for green building, but that green homes are selling for thousands more than non-green homes.