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Green-certified house: What does it mean?

Although the house located at 310 Lindsay Drive offers a lower profile than many of the homes located in the Troy Burne development, it offers prospective owners the advantage of being a certified green house. Photo by Margaret A. Ontl

With Earth Day just around the corner, and continual concerns about global warming, Realtor Gayle Garrity thought it was time for a positive spin on residential green buildings.

The first thing to know is that most of the details qualifying a home for green certification are not visible once the home is built. Which is why Lee Erickson and Jonathan Herum of Croix Custom Homes rely on third-party inspectors to make sure the proper steps are taken as planning and construction of a home proceed.

The house at 310 Lindsay in Troy Burne is the first certified green home to be on the Tour of Homes. It is Energy Star Certified, and as it was being built, inspectors examined it with an infrared camera to look for energy leaks. It also, underwent a blower door test.

"One of the biggest areas for energy loss is between the foundation and the plate, the area where the house rests on top of the foundation or basement walls," said Herum.

"Attention to the details is what makes the difference," said Erickson. "Any place where there is air infiltration we address."

One of the techniques they use to cut down on problems is panelized framing.

"Using this, we can have a home enclosed and weather tight within a week," said Erickson.

"Even a quarter-size hole in your water barrier can allow up to 13 pints of water in and out of a home in a one year's time," said Herum.

When the term "green" started being used for residential construction, Erickson and Herum found out they were already on the right path.

"It is one of those buzz words," said Herum. "We discovered we were already green."

The team has built over 40 Energy Star-qualified homes since 2003 and participate in the "Green Built" program for construction, which has over 310 items for consideration. Homes that qualify offer the owners, reduced energy and maintenance costs, better indoor air quality, a reduced impact on the environment, improved health, safety and comfort.

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