Big green, little green
Attendees at the ProDealer Industry Summit witnessed the two extremes of green residential building Oct. 15 in a rare showing of eco-friendly homes that bridged the gulf between Platinum LEEDs and entry-level production. Despite differences in price and style, the green homes flashing across the screen that morning featured many of the same energy- and water-saving design devices and appliances. The builders behind the presentations—Tony Callahan of Beazer Homes and Josh Wynne of Josh Wynne Construction—have both been recognized as pioneers in the residential green movement.
The biggest difference between the two men is that Callahan has never heard the phrase “Cost is not a concern” from any of his customers. Wynne, on the other hand—well, let’s just say his clients are willing to pay a little extra to help out the environment.
“[Our goal] is to make green affordable to the average homeowner,” said Callahan, who serves as senior VP national purchasing, planning and design. After a long collaboration with energy experts, building scientists and a nationally recognized green home builder in San Antonio, Beazer developed its eSmart series of “high performance” homes that, according to a National Association of Home Builders Research Center study, are up to 47% more energy efficient than comparably sized houses built 10 to 15 years ago.
Beazer debuted its eSmart homes last July in Duluth, Ga.
Besides spray foam insulation in the attic and wall cavities, low-E windows and sealed ducts, the base eSmart package includes water-saving bath fixtures, CO detectors, low-VOC paint and carpet, high-grade MERV 10 air filters, programmable thermostats, energy monitors and CFL bulbs throughout the house. Additional enhancements available include tankless water heaters, radiant barriers, dual-flush toilets, fresh-air ventilated ducts and native landscaping.
Although other production home builders are also offering energy-efficient homes, “There’s no single national home builder who’s recognized as a leader in this space,” Callahan observed. But a look at the map of the United States on Beazer’s Web site shows that the Atlanta builder has been constructing eSmart homes around the country: They’re now in 29 communities.
In stark contrast, Wynne Construction builds only a few homes a year. Wynne lives in Sarasota, Fla., and most of his projects are in that region. He takes on only green, sustainable building projects, and has won numerous awards for his work. Wynne’s innovative use of reclaimed and recycled materials—he makes a lot of the trim, molding, countertops and other materials himself—is truly impressive.
But what might have amazed the audience most of all was Wynne’s position on chain-of-custody certification requirements for FSC-certified wood.
“For what it brings to the project, it’s a lot of trouble,” Wynne said of FSC-certified wood. “I only use it when it’s mandated.”
Wynne, who won the 2010 U.S. Green Building Council Outstanding LEED for Homes Project of the Year award, also addressed the issue of builders and architects who choose their materials based on what they’ll contribute to a project’s overall LEED score. “The people who are chasing points are the people who are [only] chasing a market. In the future, they’ll weed themselves out,” Wynne said.
Molpus buys timberland in seven states
Molpus Woodlands Group, a timberlands investment management group, has announced the acquisition of 124,521 acres of pine in the states of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Molpus purchased the tract from Rock Creek Capital, which in turn acquired the acreage from International Paper Co.
Molpus president Dick Molpus said in a prepared statement: "The International Paper properties are high-quality timberlands located in seven southeastern states and represent a diversity of wood baskets with strong product demand. Although these properties were purchased for timberland prices, their proximity to urban areas and major corridors leads us to believe they have promising development, biomass and conservational opportunities."
This acquisition increases Molpus’ total timberland assets under management to more than a billion dollars. Molpus is adding two additional office locations in Florida and North Carolina to its current 14 offices located in eight other states. Headquartered in Jackson, Miss., Molpus is a family-owned company that began in 1905 as a mercantile store in Philadelphia, Miss., before becoming the Molpus Lumber Co.
Centex to launch home-buying webinar
Bloomfield, Mich.-based home builder Centex announced it will host its first ever webinars — named “Open the Door to Homeownership: A Free Webinar Series Featuring Ilyce Glink” — Oct. 6 and 27 aimed at educating first-time home buyers.
Glink is an award winning columnist, television reporter and radio talk show host who delivers tips and tricks on personal finance and real estate, along with general consumer advice.
The first webinar on Oct. 6 will be titled “Rent Vs. Buy” and will discuss the benefits of homeownership. Participants will obtain information to find out if they are ready to purchase a home, the company said.
The second webinar on Oct. 27 will be “New vs. Resale.” Glink will discuss the issues related to short sale and forclosures and how home buyers can take advantage of historically low interest rates, incentives and pricing from new home builders.
“Through these webinars, Centex is empowering its home buyers to make better choices and providing them a solid foundation that gives them a level of comfort and confidence as they take the step into homeownership,” said Deborah Wahl Meyer, senior VP and chief marketing officer for Centex.