Alabama home builder builds energy-efficient ‘green’ buildings
FULTONDALE, Alabama — The green home market is expected to grow five-fold in the U.S. by 2016, as builders and buyers place more importance on energy-efficient construction practices that lead to lower utility bills in the long run.
The data, part of a study conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction and issued last month by the National Association of Home Builders, shows green homes represented $17 billion of the overall residential construction market in 2011.
In five years, that value is estimated at $87 billion to $114 billion.
For local homebuilder Marshall Newport, the numbers aren’t surprising.
Newport said he once doubted the benefits of such construction, and he thought following a so-called green plan would only inflate his costs.
But by attending seminars and educating himself, Newport now calls himself a believer.
“I don’t like the word green,” he said. “I like sustainable, energy-efficient and healthy, because that’s what we’re after here.”
Newport has built two Energy Star-certified houses on Burke Meadow Circle in Fultondale. One has sold, and another is on the market. Once it sells, he intends to build more like them on eight other lots he owns on the street.
His houses include features that help create a tight building envelope that keeps cool air in during the summer and warm air in during the winter and contributes to better indoor air quality.
For instance, spray-foam insulation in the attic helps keep the houses sealed. Fresh air is circulated through a duct in the air conditioning unit that has a mechanical damper on a timer.
Also, tankless water heaters prevent waste of energy used to heat water that’s sitting in a tank when it’s not needed, Newport said. The tankless system provides hot water on demand, with larger burners that heat more quickly than traditional systems.