I had the pleasure of meeting Mary Schumacher from Schumacher Homes a few years back while doing plan reviews at the International Builders' Show.
Technology Defines Village Green Housing
Villiage Green, the demonstration project that was the backdrop when President Clinton introduced PATH, the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing, in 1998, celebrated its opening earlier this year.
|At Village Green, helping buyers understand the energy efficient homes is a priority.
Village Green, the demonstration project that was the backdrop when President Clinton introduced PATH, the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing, in 1998, celebrated its own model grand opening earlier this year. The 186-unit, two-story detached single family home community in Sylmar, Calif., is a case study in next generation building technology, and a good example of effective marketing for green building and energy efficiency.
Developed by Braemar Urban Ventures and Lee Homes, Village Green offers three- and four-bedroom homes that range in size from 1400 sq. ft. to 1700 sq. ft. (plus an attached two-car garage). Prices begin at $160,000, making it the most affordable detached single family project in Los Angeles.
The new community is located a few hundred feet from a Metrolink train station, making mass transit an easy and attractive option for home buyers. In designing the units, Village Green’s builders used a systems engineering approach developed as part of PATH’s Building America program. This approach considers the entire design, manufacturing and construction process to increase quality and performance without increasing cost. This approach yielded the following features:
- Upgraded insulation: Extra-thick, environmentally friendly cellulose insulation from Greenstone is used throughout the home to improve comfort and reduce energy bills and outside noise.
- Framing components: Steel framed wall components and an engineered wood products framing system reduce the amount of lumber and leaves more room in the walls for insulation.
- Efficient windows: Dual-glazed, low energy loss windows with spectrally selective glass manufactured by PPG Industries are designed to provide solar control and maximum insulation. These windows block 87% of ultraviolet rays.
- Energy efficient appliances: A high efficiency gas water heater provides hot water any time, as well as space heating during the winter. Frigidaire’s horizontal axis washing machine uses less water than top-loading models. Fluorescent light bulbs and fixtures last ten times longer than standard bulbs and consume less energy.
- Solar electric roof panels: The PV+ Solar Electric System from BP Solar will produce approximately 3000 kilowatt hours per year, providing up to 90% of the homes electrical demand. The photovoltaic cells convert the sun’s rays into direct current (DC) electricity. The DC electricity is transferred to an inverter for conversion to alternating current (AC) electricity.
- Gas-fired air cooling system: Robur GAX system offers twice the working life span of conventional electric models, and uses natural gas. Village Green homes surpass the Model Energy Code. Monthly energy bills should be as low as 50% of those of older, conventional homes.
Energy efficiency has been a big part of the builders’ sales story at Village Green. Visitors to the development’s sales center and model homes learn of the many features that make owning a home at Village Green as affordable as purchasing one. A large wall display in the sales center graphically explains the technology of the units. Visitors also receive a brown bag filled with manufacturer literature with more details.
Jeff Lee, president of Lee Homes, believes Village Green will be a hallmark for homes for the next century. "Our association with PATH has allowed Lee Homes to build a better home while preserving the environment. We’re taking what we’ve learned at Village Green as a standard for our homes of the future."