K&V Custom Homes
——— Building Green ———
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Green Building, a phrase that up until a few years ago was not part of the terminology associated with residential construction. Now, as the homebuilding industry has changed direction with an emphasis on custom homebuilding, the needs and concerns of the Homeowner are brought to the forefront.

Why should we care about green building? There are many compelling reasons for changing the way we build and operate homes. Although we cannot avoid affecting the environment when we build a house, green building can work toward minimizing that environmental impact.

certified green pro

In April 2009, Colin and Dean achieved the designation of Certified Green Professional. It was during these classes that they realized K&V Homes was already implementing "green" products and practices. The summation of guiding principles derived from this class have become a vital part of the K&V Homes building process from the initial meeting with the Homeowners to the actual building process, continuing on through the quarterly newsletter provided to each new Homeowner with reminders of how to keep their new home "green."

Below is a narrative describing the various Guiding Principles that are implemented in each new home that K&V Homes builds regardless of the design, size or price.

Guiding Principle: Lot Design, Preparation, and Development

Resource–efficient site design and development practices help reduce the environmental impact and improve the energy performance of new housing. For instance, site design principles such as saving trees and orienting houses to maximize passive solar heating and cooling are basic processes used in the design and construction of green homes.

Although K&V Homes is not involved in the design of a new development, Colin and Dean work closely with the Homeowner when a treed lot has been selected to construct a new home. The lot is walked to discuss the ideal placement of the house while still maintaining the natural trees and vegetation. The same interest is generated for the placement of a house on an open lot to analyze the advantages/disadvantages of a certain side of the street as opposed to the other while still keeping the overall vision of the home by the Homeowner in mind.

Guiding Principle: Resource Efficiency

Most successful green homes started with the consideration of the environment at the design phase, the time at which material selection occurs. Creating resource-efficient designs and using resource efficient materials can maximize function while optimizing the use of natural resources.

For instance, K&V Homes utilizes a program designed by Weyerhaeuser that is called iLevel. This program provides several of the engineered wood products found in your home. By using engineered wood products instead of conventional dimension lumber, less waste is generated. Weyerhaeuser was selected by Gilcrest Jewett, the company providing all of the lumber for K&V Homes, based upon their concern for the environment. Some of their attributes are as follows:

  • 100% of Weyerhaeuser’s forests in the United States and Canada are independently certified to sustainable forestry standards.
  • Weyerhaeuser plants over 100 million seedlings a year to ensure forests for future generations.
  • On average, 99% of each log is used to produce iLevel and Weyerhaeuser wood products, additional wood products and energy.

Resource efficiency is also about reducing job-site waste. Invariably, there are leftover materials from the construction process. K&V Homes has partnered with Aspen Waste Systems for the transport of debris to the local landfill which is owned and operated by Waste Management.

Waste Management operates the largest network of landfills in the construction industry, with nearly 300 sites managing the disposal of millions of tons of waste per year. This provides a vast supply of a natural, renewable energy source: landfill gas or methane. This gas, which is created naturally through the decomposition of waste in landfills, is a readily available, renewable energy source that can be collected and used directly as medium Btu gas for industrial use or sold to gas-to-energy plants to fuel engine or turbine driven generators of electricity. Landfill gas has lived up to its promise of being a reliable and economical form of energy. Waste Management's landfill gas-to-energy program is a vital and important part of North America's drive to develop alternative energy sources and promote environmental sustainability.

K&V Custom Homes
Guiding Principle: Energy Efficiency

Each home consumes energy year after year meaning that the environmental impacts associated with that use accrue over time. Therefore, energy efficiency is weighted heavily in a green building program. As the cost to heat and cool a home becomes more unpredictable, it is advantageous to every Homeowner to be "insulated" from inevitable utility bill increases. As with all aspects of these guidelines, the greatest improvements result from a "whole systems" approach.

K&V Homes prides itself in the prioritization of energy efficiency in the construction of your new home. Incorporating such products as Tyvec house wrap, Pella windows and exterior doors, Cocoon spray cellulose insulation as well as a detailed insulation process, RUUD heating and cooling systems, Broan recessed can light/exhaust fan combinations, and the ever popular upgrade of a Hydron geothermal system, assists Homeowners in the management and reduction of their utility bills.

Guiding Principle: Water Efficiency

The mean per capita indoor daily water use in today’s homes is slightly over 64 gallons. Implementing water conservation measures can reduce usage to fewer than 45 gallons. Products such as PEX manifold systems along with water saving toilets help in the reduction of a household’s water usage and can be found in all new homes constructed by K&V Homes.

Guiding Principle: Indoor Environmental Quality

Healthy indoor environments attract many people to green building. After energy efficiency, the quality of a home’s indoor air is often cited as the most important feature of green homes. Even though there is no authoritative definition of healthy indoor air, there are measures that can mitigate the effects of potential contaminants including controlling the source, diluting the source, and capturing the source through filtration.

Each homeowner is encouraged to meet with Don Dorrian of Dorrian Heating and Cooling to discuss the various options available to them such as electronic air filters and UV lights.

Additional indoor quality products can be found being installed during the construction of your new home through the use of Cocoon spray cellulose insulation and US Gypsum XP board sheetrock.

Guiding Principle: Operation, Maintenance, and Homeowner Education

Improper or inadequate maintenance can defeat the designer’s and builder’s best efforts to create a resource-efficient home. For example, homeowners often fail to change air filters regularly or neglect to operate bath and kitchen exhaust fans to remove moist air. Upon completion of your new home, K&V Homes provide you with a New Home manual that addresses both interior and exterior home care items.

Guiding Principle: Global Impact

The impact of low-VOC paints has become a very important issue to new Homeowners. By partnering with Sherwin Williams, K&V Homes is able to meet the environmental standards with products that are in compliance with national green building standards.

Summation

Green building is much more than just reducing a home’s environmental footprint. Homeowners can also realize direct benefits by owning a green home. Some of the benefits that have been realized by owners of green homes in comparison with those of conventional homes are as follows:

Lower Operating Costs
Homeowners receive less expensive utility bills because of energy and water efficiency measures.

Increased Comfort
Green homes have relatively even temperatures throughout the home, with fewer drafts and better humidity control.

Improved Environmental Quality
By following these guidelines, K&V Homes pays extra attention to construction details that control moisture, choose materials that contain fewer chemicals, and offer air exchange/filtration systems that can contribute to a healthier indoor environment.

Enhanced Durability and Less Maintenance
Green homes incorporate building materials and construction details that strive to increase the useful life of the individual components and the whole house. Longer lasting materials not only require fewer resources for replacement but also reduced maintenance and repair costs.