Hohmann Builders Blazing New Path in Isle of Wight County
Isle of Wight County, VA — (January, 2010) — Hohmann Builders is raising the bar in Isle of Wight County with a beautiful new home built in Founders Pointe, the resort-like waterfront community in Carrollton. The two-story Frank Betz Associates design, named the Abberly, is the first single-family home in Isle of Wight County to earn EarthCraft certification.
At first glance, the home looks like many of the other homes lining the curved streets of the picturesque community. It has a stately exterior with a combination of stone and Hardiplank siding, and rich colors that blend in with the natural surroundings of the home. The interior boasts exquisite finishes such as granite countertops, custom cabinetry and a stone fireplace in the two story great room.
So, what separates this home from others in Isle of Wight County? The attention to detail extends far beyond what you see on the surface, and that same attention to detail will end up meaning savings every month for the home’s future owners. Certified under the EarthCraft and ENERGY STAR programs, this home will be 30% percent more efficient than an identical home built simply to code. It will also provide better indoor air quality and reduce the home’s carbon footprint.
The two designations that Hohmann Builders achieved with the Abberly go hand in hand. Since the EarthCraft requirements include and exceed all of the ENERGY STAR rating requirements, the two designations are always earned together. Both green programs focus on energy efficiency, but the EarthCraft program also includes durability, sustainability in products used, and indoor air quality requirements. EarthCraft combines requirements with a point system to allow versatility in building with sustainable products. The homeowner benefits by receiving an extremely durable, green, healthy home with lower maintenance costs.
Founders Pointe broker and sales manager, Mark Edwards commented, “Although this is not a code requirement in this area now, homeowners should recognize the value of these green programs. In other areas of the country it is already a code requirement, and our area is headed in that direction. In the future, I believe we will get to a point where every house is rated. If you have energy ratings like this, it will certainly be better for resale.” To achieve this certification, Hohmann Builders took the initiative to hire an independent inspector, Jeffrey Sadler of Ecovative Energy (email@example.com). Sadler was trained at Southface Energy Institute in Georgia to analyze the energy efficiency of homes and businesses and is qualified to do ENERGY STAR and EarthCraft certifications.
The process began with two meetings prior to the home’s construction. First, Sadler looked at the plans for the home, including a list of materials to be used, to ensure the efficiency standards would be met.
Next, a computer energy model of the house was built using a program endorsed by the mortgage industry, the IRS and the EPA to arrive at a preliminary HERS (Home Energy Rating System) index of the home. This index shows if a house, and the systems planned for use in the house, will meet the efficiency requirements. Sadler commented, “The modeling phase is very important, because it allows us to modify specifications and test the home for efficiency and compliance prior to the home’s construction.”
After construction began, additional inspections and tests were performed. Prior to dry wall, Sadler confirmed proper framing, thermal blocking, and insulation techniques which are done to accommodate superior insulation. For example, exterior corners and wall intersections are framed to allow space for the insulation, whereas in conventional framing there is no room. He then performed a duct blaster test to analyze leakage in the vents and supply lines. This test detects potential loss of heating and cooling points in a home, so that they can be remedied.
After the home was completed, he returned to perform an additional duct blaster test and a blower door test to check the tightness of the house. By depressurizing a home, the blower door test determines the amount of leakage in a home. This test quantifies the improvement over a standard house and measures the size of all the open cracks and spaces put together. In a standard home the leakage typically amounts to the size of an open window. In an EarthCraft home fresh air is filtered and conditioned before being brought into the home rather than leaking in through unhealthy areas like the crawl space and attic.
The final step is to update the energy model with the results of the final testing and give the home its final HERS efficiency rating. For the Abberly Home, Hohmann Builders achieved an index of 70. This means the home will use 70% of the energy that an identical home built to code would use.
The inspector’s fee and upgraded building materials do not come without a price. For the Abberly, the inspector’s fees alone amounted to over $1100, but Russ Hohmann, president of Hohmann Builders, believes building green is well worth the investment. He plans to build an ENERGY STAR certified home for the upcoming Homearama show in May at Founders Pointe.
Hohmann commented, “I’m a strong believer in green building. Not only will it mean savings to the home owner, but I believe it will mean healthier living. In the Abberly, along with the sustainable products used, we’re even putting a fresh air ventilator in this home to bring fresh air in on a continual basis, which will be far superior to re-circulating air from a crawl space. The ventilator we chose even filters out the high humidity we have during our hot summers in Virginia.”
To see the Hohmann Builders’ Abberly home in person and learn more about the EarthCraft and ENERGY STAR designations, stop by the information center in Founders Pointe. The community is just 3 miles south of the James River Bridge or 10 miles north of I-664. From Route 17, turn onto Sugar Hill Road and the entrance to Founders Pointe is on the left. For more questions or information, you can also call 757-238-9009 or visit the website at www.founderspointe.com or visit the builder’s website at www.hohmannbuilders.com.
Founders Pointe is an East West Community. East West also developed the award-winning Eagle Harbor, Gatling Pointe and Gatling Pointe South in Isle of Wight, The Riverfront in Northern Suffolk, Riverwatch in Gloucester, and the newly opened Liberty Ridge just outside of Colonial Williamsburg. Most recently, The Riverfront was named as the first and sole inductee into the Tidewater Builders Association Community Hall of Fame.
Since 1972, East West has developed 35 communities across seven states. East West has been known for innovative land planning, an unwavering commitment to the environment, and for building communities offering year-round, resort-style living.