Modular Homes - Piece Of A Green Puzzle Saves Energy - Build / Live-in

"Firm is driving force behind modular, eco-friendly homes"

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Primary (E-Com) Contact:Lorraine Halsted
Communications (#/text):Winchester Star - (540) 667-1649
Secondary Contact:Lorraine Halsted
Address / Area: Berryville, VA
2nd Phone # (ext):(540) 667-0870
Primary / Website URL:http://www.winchesterstar.com/
 

 
Created 1/12/2008
Piece of a green puzzle
Firm is driving force behind modular, eco-friendly homes
By Lorraine Halsted
The Winchester Star
Copyright © 2002-2008 by The Winchester Star - All Rights Reserved.

BERRYVILLE — The first "green" modular home in Virginia is sprouting up from the ground along Triple J Road near Berryville. The home and its designation as the state’s first eco-friendly, energy efficient modular home from the Virginia Manufacturing and Modular Housing Association in Richmond, is a milestone for Go Green LLC.

Cheryl Ash, her husband, Brian Ash, and Buddy Bayliss started the Winchester-based company more than a year ago with the goal of developing a "green" community. They started by building and remodeling homes with eco-friendly features.

But the 1,439-square-foot rancher on Triple J Road is the first home from their their "green" line of modular floor plans, which they developed in partnership with Mod-U-Kraf in Rocky Mount, N.C.

Go Green has a person who acts as a "rater," checking the modules as they are being built at the factory to ensure that they meet green construction standards upheld by EarthCraft of Atlanta and that certain green features are incorporated into the shell of the home.

The air-tightness of a module, for example, is checked by the rater. "If he finds any air leaks in the house, he can’t pass it," Cheryl Ash said.

By building the modules of the home under factory conditions, all aspects of the construction can be monitored for quality before they are delivered and bolted together at the construction site.

And because the modules are manufactured under roof, they are also protected from wet weather, which can affect the air quality inside the home once it’s built, Cheryl Ash said.

"The infrastructure never sees an ounce of rain, so you don’t have moisture problems," she added.

Cheryl Ash spent her childhood watching her father, Ervin Barb, build modular homes and found the construction method to be more efficient and less wasteful than building the homes on site.

Other green features of the home on Triple J Road will include fiber cement siding, which incorporates natural and recycled materials.

The home will also have engineered maple flooring, made of a sawdust aggregate and topped with a wood veneer finish, and insulation made from recycled blue jeans.

The hot water heater will be solar powered and the 3-foot-high crawl space underneath the home will be heated and cooled to provide more energy efficiency on the main floor of the home.

All appliances will have the Energy Star designation, a stamp of approval indicating energy efficiency from the EPA. The appliances are also eligible for tax credits — approximately $300 to $1,500 each, on average, according to the Ashes, who say that the government is also starting to offer other tax incentives to homeowners who incorporate green features into their homes.

"There is so much money out there to help the homeowner with green homes," Brian Ash said.

Other eco-friendly building materials used by Go Green include cork flooring, "plyboo" — plywood made of bamboo, which is primarily used for making cabinets — and recycled concrete and glass for countertops.

Go Green also incorporates a lot of recycled materials, such as reclaimed wood from old barns, and windows and fixtures from old homes.

"People sometimes misunderstand green," Cheryl Ash said. "They think you need a new house to go green. But reclamation is a lot of what green is."

When Go Green finishes the home on Triple J Road later this month, it will start building another modular green home in the town of Berryville.

The home will be the first from their modular cottage series and will have some solar-power features, including a generator backup system that will kick in when the home loses power. "The cottage will actually have two-70-watt solar panels that will charge the batteries," Brian Ash said.

The costs of building a greeen home are slightly higher — anywhere from 4 to 11 percent more than a conventional home, but less than most people think, Cheryl Ash said. And by using modular construction methods, the homeowner can save about 5 percent in building costs, which she said, helps to offset some of the expense of the green materials. "That’s why we can keep our costs competitive," she added.

Go Green’s modular homes typically range from about 1,000 to 3,600 square feet, but the company has built modular homes up to 6,000 square feet and some modular hotels. It can also take custom floor plans and turn it into a modular home.

*****

Go Green will be holding a seminar on green building at Gander Mountain from 6 - 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 16 in the store’s Lodge Room. Go Green will also sponsor a meeting for those interested in starting a local chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council from noon to 3 p.m. on Jan. 17 at Handley Library.

Call (540) 667-0870 to register for the events or find out more about Go Green LLC.

Copyright © 2002-2008 by The Winchester Star - All Rights Reserved.
 

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