1st Green Home in Virginia

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

November 18, 2005

If you are in the market for a new house, you may want to read this story first. A more energy-efficient house could save you over $200 on your electric bill per month. A man in Crozet is part of a new government program that will build a house efficiently from the ground up.

At 365 Burchs Creek Road you'd see an energy efficient house in the making. When it's complete it will be the 1st environmentally friendly home in the state of Virginia.

Doug Lowe will be the lucky one to live in it. His construction company, Artisan, is participating in the United States Green Building Council's pilot program that constructs a house so efficient, it can consume 70 percent less energy than most homes.

"It's neat to be on the forefront," said Lowe.

But, it's certainly not cheap to build an environmentally sound and healthy place to live.

"We may have a 10 percent more cost than what you would normally see for an equivalent house, but you get a lot of that back in the long term durability and the lower operational costs," said Lowe.

Jay McNeely knows first hand. He's lived in a similar home in Crozet for the past 5 years and he said the best part about it is he used to pay $300 a month on electricity for his old non-energy efficient house with the same square feet. Now he pays almost a third of that.

"My house is 3500 square feet, it's roughly $85 a month to heat it and cool it, combined with the geothermal unit," said McNeely.

That's because the shell of the home is built without wood, it's all concrete with a metal roof, which holds in more air. Experts said it's so solid it can withstand any type of weather.

"It's really a house that you can have for generations. I hope to hand my house down to my boys someday," said McNeely.

Lowe is also using recycled products for the flooring and energy efficient lights. His home is expected to be complete by mid January and it may be the first one completed in the United States.

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