On September 29th, leaders in the advancement of sustainable design and high performance construction were honored at Viridiant’s Virtual Building Sustainability Conference & Awards.
Prior to the Awards Ceremony, Viridiant hosted special guest speakers for the “Buildings: The Foundation of an Energy Efficient Future” panel discussion. Attendees heard from:
- Dan Farrell, Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development
- Chris Thompson, Virginia Housing
- Maggie Kelley Riggins, Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance
- Dr. Phillip Agee, Virginia Center for Housing Research
- Moderated by: Sarah Jones-Anderson, Greystone Affordable Development
Awards were presented to recognize the region’s leaders in high-performance construction with a focus on projects, programs, and initiatives that represent the future of sustainable building. Nominees and winners were honored in a variety of categories based on work completed in the last three years in the Mid-Atlantic region. Each winner receives a FSC-certified wooden award plaque from Rivanna Natural Designs, a local business offering planet-friendly alternatives to traditional trophies and plaques.
Award winners include:
Project or Development – Single Family
Habitat for Humanity in the Roanoke Valley
After sitting vacant and boarded up, this Habitat for Humanity home at 2227 Melrose Ave was brought back to life by Habitat for Humanity in the Roanoke Valley. The full gut renovation included expansion into the attic to convert the home into a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home and the removal lead paint and an old oil tank. Some energy efficient features include air sealing the building envelope with open-cell insulation, new mechanicals and an ERV. Being 100% committed to EarthCraft certification, Habitat for Humanity in Roanoke provides homeownership to the community with careful consideration of family needs and building science to ensure healthy, affordable housing opportunities for many years to come.
Project or Development – Multifamily New Construction
AHC, Inc. – The Apex
The Apex development, located in Arlington VA is a two phased project being developed by AHC, Inc. The project contains 256 total units between the two phases and has achieved EarthCraft Gold certification. In addition to advanced lighting, efficient appliances, and distribution systems, the project achieved an average of 3.5 ACH50 for envelope testing across all sampled units and an impressive HERS Index of 52, or 48% better than a standard code built building. This level of efficiency benefits the environment, surrounding community, and most importantly, affords low- and moderate-income tenants the ability to live without being burdened by large swings in utility bills season to season. Nearby amenities and useful public transportation resources make the Apex one of the most desirable locations in Arlington.
Project or Development – Renovation
Virginia Supportive Housing – New Clay House II
New Clay House II is an EarthCraft Gold project located in Richmond. Developed and owned by Virginia Supportive Housing, achieving a high level of energy efficiency contributes to the long-term financial health of the project. Solar PV and solar thermal were utilized, as well as a high efficiency VRF system. Resource conservation was woven throughout the project. Existing historic structures were preserved and new construction added to form a single building. Efficient framing methods were used to reduce lumber needs while improving insulation levels. Xeriscaping and minimal turf reduces the ongoing water needs of the landscaping. Its central location provides residents with walkable access to retail and grocery options, green space, and bus routes, plus easy access to bike lanes coupled with onsite bike storage.
Builder or Developer
Lawson has a long history as a leader in the development and construction industry. Lawson brings development, construction, and Operations under one roof, allowing for fluid, fast decision making and lasting value to both their tenants and communities. Lawson has played a large role in the development and implementation of Norfolk’s green building policy development and have long seen the value of including healthy, efficient components into their developments. Lawson is committed to green building and will certify 100% of its future projects. Seaside Harbor, a recently certified development in Virginia Beach, was built in partnership with the non-profit seller, Samaritan House and provides ongoing income opportunities to this local non-profit organization to provide emergency and permanent housing, support, and outreach to victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and homelessness
Habitat for Humanity Affiliate
Habitat for Humanity of the New River Valley
Habitat for Humanity of the New River Valley completed their first EarthCraft certified community in 2020. The 7 certified townhomes were a result of a partnership with the Town of Blacksburg, Virginia Housing, and the HOME Consortium, as well as many industry partners. Habitat for Humanity of the New River Valley has been steadily working to increase their impact, doubling their construction team between 2018-2021 and tripling their output. They are committed to gender equality in the construction industry, demonstrated through women making up 50% of their construction staff.
Top High-Performance EarthCraft Home
Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia
6848 Donora Drive, constructed by Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia, achieved EarthCraft Gold and ENERGY STAR certification. It achieved the lowest HERS index across EarthCraft certified homes in 2020, with a 42. The 3 bedroom homes used excellent windows, continuous insulation, R-19 wall insulation, and R-49 attic insulation and combined that with excellent air sealing to create a building envelope that performs significantly better than a code built home and exceeds the requirements for EarthCraft certification. A high efficiency HVAC system, LED lights, and WaterSense fixtures all add to the efficiency of the home. Additionally, a modest PV system was added to the home to further decrease utility costs for the homeowner.
Project, Program, or Initiative
Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development – Virginia Energy Code Update Process and Implementation
The Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development promulgates Virginia’s building and fire codes through a collaborative and open process, provides critical energy code training and certification for the code enforcement community, partners with communities to develop their economic potential and invests more than $100 million each year into housing and community development projects through the state, the majority of which are designed to help low- to moderate-income residents. DHCD’s partnerships and grant funding support with and for Viridiant, have resulted in valuable resources to improve implementation of energy codes, increase energy code compliance, and ultimately increase energy conservation across the state.
Ms. Marilyn Taylor
Marilyn Taylor has lived in her eastern Henrico home more than twenty years when her summer electric bill suddenly doubled to more than $500 and the dining room became unusually humid. Several contractors visited her home to investigate but had no solutions.
Viridiant staff conducted our standard walk-through audit of the 1937 home, from the attic to the crawlspace, inspecting equipment and building details as we went. The crawlspace was unusually warm and damp, even on a hot August day, and after some searching, we discovered a significant leak in the hot water pipes running under the dining room. Because Ms Taylor’s water bill only comes every other month, she hadn’t yet received a bill that would alert her to a water problem.
A plumber came and fixed the leak within a few days, solving the urgent issue. During our audit, we also replaced 42 lightbulbs with LEDs. Based on 2 hours/day usage, those save her $175/year going forward. And her custom energy audit report included a prioritized list of additional efficiency, durability, and comfort improvements. Her first big investment was replacing the original windows.
Every year, Viridiant presents the Visionary Award to an organization or individual who has shown outstanding commitment to sustainable homes, buildings, or communities. Ms Taylor has shown how one family can make a real difference, one home at a time. Her initiative led to reduced energy use, better indoor air quality, and durability improvements to extend the life of a near 100-year-old house. She provides an example for others to avoid saying “it’s just an old house” and instead to invest smartly in sustainability improvements that pay off in so many ways.
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Special thanks to our 2021 event sponsors!