Green Home Building FAQs

What is 'Green Building'

The term “Green Building” is fairly new to the general public although many of the processes involved have been utilized for thousands of years. Generally, it refers to a more energy efficient building although there is a lot more to it than that.

What does Green Building mean to PD&M, Inc.?

To us, Green Building means incorporating environmental considerations into every phase of the building process including:

The design process: We take the time to consider the environmental features of the property and work with the client to develop home plans that take advantage of positive aspects such as the views and sun exposure.

The actual construction process: By utilizing the latest in energy efficient construction techniques such as caulking the floor plates, building “California Corners and Tee posts” and a superior insulation package, we can build an extremely tight home. We then utilize an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) to efficiently exchange the air and keep it fresh. This short video explains the ERV process in more detail:

This superior construction process actually allows us to use a smaller HVAC system which is properly sized for the home. We also use recycled materials whenever possible, and minimize jobsite waste materials that cannot be recycled.

The operation of the home: We take pride in offering the best of energy efficient appliances, lighting fixtures, reduced water flow products to provide our clients with the best long term overall environmentally sustainable package. The beauty of our “green homes’ is that it does not require any additional maintenance on the part of our homeowners.

To find out more: We’d love to answer your questions about building a green home for yourself. Feel free to get in touch with us to discuss the benefits and building options you have.

Can you tell me more about these environmental considerations?'

These considerations include:

– Lot development and preparation is prioritized to minimize the impact of the home on the land.  For example, we work to save strategic trees and existing landscaping as much as possible.  We of course take the view and other attributes of the lot into consideration when designing a home so as to maximize the potential of each lot.

– Resource efficiency is also crucial during the design phase, incorporating specific environmentally friendly materials into the design where ever possible.

– Energy Efficiency focuses on minimizing the use of fossil fuel, which will have a cumulative effect over the life of the home. Many of these components are part of a well built home and require little, if any, maintenance. Also, at the time of resale, this feature will be a critical selling point for the home.

– Water Efficiency can cut down on the per capita consumption of this valuable resource and is particularly important as our population grows.  Additionally, water conservation is critical during drought times, which our area has experienced recently.

Why should I care about having a Green Home?

There are many compelling reasons for choosing a home built with green considerations. As we all know, energy prices continue to increase at an astounding rate and by building a high performance green home you will be saving 40 to 60% on your utility bills for as long as you own your home. Also, the indoor air quality will be much healthier and your home will also be quieter as well.

Can you tell me about PD&M’s experience in Green Building?

PD&M has been building energy efficient and environmentally friendly homes that blend in with their environment for many years. In fact, Mr. Fort’s first home at Smith Mountain Lake, built over 25 years ago, was a passive solar design that he adapted to the unique characteristics of the lot. It is virtually impossible to tell it apart from the conventionally built homes in the neighborhood but the energy consumption was 30 to 40% less than a similarly sized home. The philosophy of building our clients’ homes as if we were building it for ourselves continues to this day.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has a rating system to determine if and how green a home is. The Bronze level designates the minimum standards for a green home followed by Silver and then Gold. The homes that PD&M builds consistently rate either as a high Silver or Gold level, indicating a well designed, and well built home that will give the owners many years of satisfaction. Click here for a simple overview of some items that go into a green home.

In addition, we have joined the most elite group of Green Building specialists as a member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). http://www.usgbc.org/

This national organization has partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop and implement a set of guidelines that are the most stringent in the country. This process is known as LEEDS certification and requires following a strict design and construction process. To find out more about this new process for certifying residential homes click here.

We have also started building our green homes to the EarthCraft standard. EarthCraft (www.ecvirginia.org) is a residential program specifically designed for the environmental conditions found in the Southeastern portion of the US . EarthCraft has partnered with the US EPA and DOE through the ENERGY STAR Program (www.energystar.gov) to develop high performance construction standards that result in some of the most energy efficient homes on the market today without compromising quality or affordability.

What are some of these high performance standards and their benefits?

Our EarthCraft homes are insulated to some of the highest standards possible. This refers not only to the R-Value of the insulation but also by eliminating virtually all the drafts in a home. In fact, our homes are so tight that we install an outside air exchanger as part of our HVAC system. This usually results in the additional benefit of being able to install smaller HVAC systems in the home, thereby saving the clients energy costs for the life of the home. The sizes of these units are carefully determined by using J Load calculations of the energy requirements of the home. These loads are calculated on a room by room basis and take into account the size and efficiency of the windows, exterior overhangs and orientation of the home to the sun, among other factors. The installed HVAC systems are then subject to a leak down test by a certified third party analyst. A typical home has approximately 15% leakage of their HVAC system. An EarthCraft home is allowed up to a maximum of 6%. Our homes typically register only 1 to 2% leakage.

A PD&M EarthCraft home will result in a quieter, more comfortable home with better indoor air quality, less maintenance and a lower overall cost of ownership.

How do I find out more?

Feel free to contact us to discuss your particular needs and interests about green home building. We will be happy to work with you to design and build a home that you can be proud of for years to come.