Suburbia: It has been a panacea and an expletive. Touted for affordability and maligned for automobile dependence, suburbia is a fact of life in the U.S.
Hedgewood Properties: Vickery, Forsyth County, Ga.
|Walking trails and 55 acres of parks and green space weave in and out of Vickery’s 425 single-family detached and 200-plus attached homes, priced from $200,000 to $1 million.|
Vickery, Hedgewood’s latest community, pushes the bar even higher. The voluntary EarthCraft standard requires a total score of 150 points in the areas of site planning, building envelope, efficient lighting and appliances, resource efficiency, indoor air quality, waste management and water, but Pat Kurek, Vickery’s director of construction, aims for 200 points on each home. He hits that goal most of the time through a tighter building envelope and waste reduction. Blower-door tests prove he eliminates air leaks through proper sealing and the use of cellulose insulation.
Energy efficiency depends a great deal on proper sizing of HVAC systems, and Hedgewood and its HVAC vendor look at each house on its site, considering its size, exposure and other factors, such as whether a front porch or overhangs shade the front of the house and reduce solar heat gain. Such close attention cuts the fat out of the HVAC system, guaranteeing better comfort and operating costs for buyers and lowering costs for the builder.
Vickery, a mixed-use community designed to be walkable and architecturally diverse as well as environmentally sensitive, features 27% green space, largely in the form of parks. Chipping and composting all lumber (except pressure-treated) and gypsum board provide on-site erosion control and soil amendments, while ground brick becomes the base for driveways. Through those techniques plus further recycling, Hedgewood has diverted 83% of its Vickery waste from the landfill.
On the horizon, Kurek is investigating rainwater harvesting for irrigation but says that has been a tough sell to buyers.
Location: Forsyth County, Ga.
Developer: Hedgewood Properties
Homes: Approximately 425 single-family detached, 200-plus attached
Price range: $200,000 to $1 million
For more information: www.hedgewoodhomes.com