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Photo: Sara Essex Bradley Photography

In response to rising construction costs and limited labor, some home builders have turned to constructing spec homes rather than pre-sales and/or custom built homes, says the National Association of Home Builders. This spec home, a 2020 Best in American Living Award winner, focuses on energy efficiency, smart technology, and health, three consumer interests that buyers are willing to pay extra for. Maximizing interest in a spec home or condo by focusing on what appeals to today’s buyers is a key strategy for spec home construction, says NAHB. The home features a detached garage, locking cabinets, reverse osmosis water filters, automatic faucets, and more.

One builder who has test-driven these concepts on a spec home is former NAHB Chairman Randy Noel of Reve, Inc. A custom builder for more than 30 years, he decided to build a speculative home for the Home Builders Association of Greater New Orleans‘ Parade of Homes around the pillars of efficiency, resiliency, health and smart home tech, as well as pilot the Wellness Within Your Walls (WWYW) healthy home certification.

Healthy home features include:

  • Maximizing natural light,
  • Detaching the garage from the home and connecting it via a breezeway,
  • Installing locking cabinets for pharmaceuticals and garden chemicals,
  • Controlling humidity for the outside fresh air being brought into the home and reducing stress on the heat pump,
  • Removing contaminants from the incoming utility water through reverse osmosis water filters,
  • Installing automatic faucets to reduce touch points,
  • Incorporating an electromagnetic field (EMF) control cabinet — the interior of which is painted with a special electromagnetic wave-blocking paint — for electronics charging,
  • Integrating automatic vents in the bathroom to exhaust damp air from the home,
  • Installing a non-combustible, electric fireplace and induction cooktop, and
  • Incorporating a kitchen herb wall.

“You can, with a great deal of confidence, build a healthier home for your customers going forward,” Noel stated following the WWYW certification process.

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