Current Green Projects - Judes Ferry Rd
This was Handcraft Homes' first LEED for Homes project. And, it was a very exciting project! The learning curve was tremendous, but we learned so much. The project was officially certified by the U.S. Green Building Council on Feb. 5, 2010. Following are links to the main LEED documentation for the project;

Project Summary
Simplified Project Checklist
Durability Evaluation Form
Durability Inspection Checklist

Following is a highlight of some of the main green features this project encompasses.

Low impact footprint - this structure sits atop poured cement piers. It does not have a crawlspace or a basement. This technique is quite common on the Outer Banks or North Carolina. The main reason this is considered a green design aspect is that it virtually eliminates moisture problems which in turn cause issues with mold, mildew and rot.

Site Development - the house site was designed from the beginning to be naturalized. In other words, a minimum amount of grass seeded lawn will be used and indigenous plants will be allowed to thrive. The goal is is to minimize disturbance of natural flora and fauna and to minimize the amount of irrigation needed. This strategy also cuts down significantly the amount of chemical fertilizers and pesticides used to maintain the typical green lawn. Last, but not least, this style of landscaping also minimizes the amount of manual work needed to maintain it.

SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) - SIPs are simply two sheets of OSB (oriented strand board) sandwiching an inner core of foam. The foam core can be made from EPS (expanded polystyrene), which is what we used, or polyurethane. We were truly impressed with this material. Not only do SIPs make an excellent insulating medium, but they are also incredibly strong while using less wood than a traditional, stick-built wall. We have never worked with a structure that felt so solid after its completion. More importantly though is how these SIPs performed in terms of energy efficiency. One of the best indicators of how well a house will perform is what is called "air infiltration". This is just a fancy way of talking about drafts. The LEED for Homes Reference Guide states that "minimal envelope leakage" (i.e., air infiltration) should not be greater than 2.5 ACH, or air-changes-per-hour. This is a measurement of how many times all the air within a house would be replaced in a period of one hour during a blower door test. This is a test where all windows and doors are closed and a fan is placed at one exterior door sucking all the air out of a house. This house measured at 370 CFM (cubic-feet-per-minute), or 1.42 ACH, almost half of the LEED highest-performance criteria. Click the following link to see a kilowatt-per-hour energy usage graph for this house. The following appliances are all-electric; HVAC (including backup heat), range, clothes dryer. Only the hot water heater is propane gas fired. Kilowatt-per-Hour Usage Graph

OVE (Optimal Value Engineering) - this is a design technique employed by Watershed Architects that is aimed at delivering a high-performance structure while only utilizing minimal amount of materials to achieve the design. Probably the simplest example of this is building interior, non-bearing walls with studs on 24" centers, rather than the traditional 16".

ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilation) - this is a device that is connected to the ductwork of a forced air heating and cooling system. It allows fresh air into the conditioned environment while letting stale air out. It does this while transferring a significant portion of the energy in the expelled, conditioned air to the incoming, unconditioned air. In our opinion this device is a requirement when building a structure from SIPs, because SIPs provide such a tight building envelope. Without an ERV a SIP structure would build up excessive amounts of moisture potentially causing moisture damage.

Durability Inspection Checklist - this document, required by LEED for Homes, is way of ensuring that all aspects of a structure that could potentially cause future problems, especially in terms of moisture, are adequately addressed during the panning and construction stages.

A Host of Other Green Features: TPO membrane roofing by Firestone with high reflectivity, insulated windows with a u-factor of .34, Homeslicker Plus Typar house wrap for a truly breathable outer envelope, countertops made from recycled paper by Richlite, all lighting fixtures and appliances are Energy Star rated, tankless gas-fired hot water heater by Rinnai, low-VOC paints by Sherwyn-Williams,

Our Green Subcontractors - since green building is relatively new to the residential construction market it is very difficult to find subcontractors with LEED Professional Accreditation. However, all of the subcontractors Handcraft Homes used on this project were very enthusiastic and cooperative in helping us achieve our goals under the LEED for Homes program. Following is a list of the subcontractors we used;
    ◊ Laroche Construction (Carpentry): Mike Laroche (804) 467-9369, email:
    ◊ Layman & Son, LLC (Insulation): Mike Layman (804) 640-3894
    ◊ New Day Corporation (Clearing, Excavation): Clay Edwards (804) 784-0500, email:
    ◊ A/C Mechanical Services (HVAC): Darrell McCauley (804) 382-1111, email:
    ◊ David Warren Company (Plumbing): David Warren (804) 921-5587
    ◊ Big Wheel Painting: Gene Vincent (804) 763-4237
    ◊ Hertless Brothers Roofing: Scott Shufflebarger, (804) 340-0181, email:
    ◊ Water Wells, Inc: Chuck Bush (540) 894-5461
    ◊ Earth Craft House VA (LEED AP): Sean Shanley (804) 225-9843, email: