Green Home Building

“Green” building is the big buzzword now and means different things to different people. To some it means helping to save the rain forests. To others it means using chemical free products in their home. We have always felt that it was important to invest money up front in a well-insulated, environmentally friendly home simply because it’s the right thing to do.

Here are some of the standards that Fairhaven follows when building our environmentally friendly homes in Loudoun.

greenglobeWhen deciding where to place your home on your lot, position your home for the greatest impact aesthetically while considering the best location for summer shade and winter sun. Take advantage of natural design elements, natural light and building orientation. Trees on the southern and western facades and shading windows and doors will help to block the hot summer sun. Try to remove as few trees as possible. Before the survey team arrives identify the trees you want to save and, if possible, make a prioritization list (save the tall oaks but cut down the scrappy pines). The home should be oriented on its site to bring natural daylight into the interior in order to reduce lighting requirements. Also consider taking advantage of any prevailing breezes.

In designing the floor plan, consider room sizes. Build quality spaces that you will actually use. We prefer a great kitchen with top-of-the-line energy-efficient appliances over a sunroom used occasionally and heated 365 day a year. If you really want a sunroom add some floor-to-ceiling windows to the family room instead and invest in some insulating window treatments.

A green label doesn’t always mean that it’s a new formula or that it’s any better for you. At Fairhaven Homes, we work to create environmentally friendly and utterly livable homes.
As far as the actual structure is concerned, we suggest that you prepare your home for future upgrades as they are proven sound rather than going with new, untested methods and products. For example, we have been running conduit through our homes from the start as a way of keeping up with the latest technology needs. We believe in time-tested common-sense methods. We provide well insulated homes with Andersen dual-glaze windows and Tyvec-brand wrap for an energy efficient package that most builders would add for a sizable upgrade cost.

Framing -The best thing you can do from the start is build an energy efficient home making use of every piece of lumber when building. We use computer-aided design (CAD) which provides the placement of every component of lumber that will be built into your home, giving us material controls for wise use of all forest products we buy, thereby minimizing waste. When designing room dimensions for your home we will help you to maximize lumber components for the least amount of waste. 2×6 walls are offered at cost because we believe it makes a huge difference in insulation.

Paint is a confusing issue when it comes to green building. At this point we’re not sold on the “green paint” claims. Simply repackaging substandard paints doesn’t make it a better choice overall.

Heating – the first home Fairhaven built in 1997 included a geothermal system, so “green” is nothing new to us. A geothermal system will save you a substantial amount of money over the years for a modest additional cost up front (approx. $15k)

Plumbing- we can reduce the amount of water use by more than 20% over the common plumbing products used just ten years ago. (low-flow toilets, low-flow shower heads, etc.)

Electrical – lighting fixtures are getting better every day. When building a new house you can install fixtures that are actually designed for the new, energy-saving light fixtures.

We can help you sort through the cost effectiveness of the products out there. We work with vendors with proven track records and with time-tested products. When you use Fairhaven Homes for Green Building in Loudoun, we will discuss from the start how we can best suit your wishes and help you decide how green you want to be.