The city of Fort Collins is often recognized as one of the nation’s most innovative cities in everything from technology to target industries. One of the areas of innovation where Fort Collins is most committed is in green building and residential code compliance.
Fort Collins is focused on designing and constructing buildings that have an eye on modern needs while keeping an eye on the future by reducing the environmental impact that every aspect of building will have. According to the city, “A well-designed building should create a healthy, productive environment for its occupants while lessening the demand for energy and resources.”
Fort Collins builders take their commitment to the environment seriously, and so do we. In this article, we will discuss a recent project we were involved in that created townhomes that were good for residents and good for the environment: Townhomes on Vine.
The Townhomes on Vine project consisted of building 49 market-rate townhomes that would provide all the modern amenities homeowners are looking for while still maintaining a commitment to reducing the environmental impact of building them.
These townhomes were the first of two phases of development for this property by developer Old Town Construction, Inc. The second phase will consist of detached single-family homes.
Green Insight worked with developers to make this project LEED® for Homes Gold. Our involvement included:
- LEED for Homes credit verification
- Testing during construction and QAD review
- Energy efficiency recommendations
- Building material assessments
- Review of construction documents
- Specifications and review of project submittals
By partnering with us, Old Town Construction, Inc. had assistance every step of the way to ensure their project qualified for LEED for Homes Gold.
As with any construction project, there are challenges that need to be addressed along the way. Green building is certainly not the exception.
For this project, one of our challenges (and a challenge we encounter in most developers’ and/or contractors’ first certification) is general unfamiliarity with the program requirements to become LEED for Homes certified.
One thing in this developer’s favor was that Fort Collins residential codes are so strict that following them gets a project pretty close to LEED for Homes Silver level certification on their own. For this project, a few modifications were made to help meet the LEED prerequisites at a low additional cost.
The learning curve when it comes to requirements is a common challenge with green building projects like this. This is especially true if the developer doesn’t provide product submittals or schedule extra inspections with a partner well-versed in LEED prerequisites.
It took some initial inspections for all stakeholders to be comfortable with the LEED requirements, but our field staff was able to coach the developer through all of them. By the end of the construction, the LEED requirements were just part of regular procedures.
The developer’s team was also onboarded on the use of Green Insight’s online platform Project Insight™, an invaluable tool when it comes to documenting compliance with all the LEED prerequisites and credits.
With these regular inspections and use of Project Insight, the Townhomes on Vine project reached its goal of becoming LEED for Homes Gold Certified and all townhomes have already been pre-sold.
With the successful completion of Phase 1, we anticipate Phase 2 to be even more streamlined and successful.
The Finished Product
The Townhomes on Vine are not the drafty, energy-wasting townhomes that have been on the market for decades. These townhomes have an ENERGY STAR rating of over 80 and HERS scores in the low 50s. What do these scores mean, exactly? These townhomes are quite a bit more energy efficient than the average resale home on the market – they have an average annual utility savings of around $900 per townhome compared to the average home in the U.S.
How was this accomplished? For starters, the insulation and construction techniques used on these townhomes were vastly improved from techniques used only a decade ago. These techniques and their results not only create a more environmentally friendly construction process, but they also save the homeowner money in the long run.
By being LEED Gold Certified, these townhomes not only boast the best in modern construction techniques, but the use of tankless hot water heaters, energy-efficient furnaces, and LED lighting just confirm our commitment to building modern homes with an emphasis on reducing environmental impact for the long run.
Partner with Green Insight for your green building success
If you’re a developer or contractor, you have enough on your plate logistically without adding the robust requirements needed to earn any green building certification. Partnering with Green Insight gives you the know-how when it comes to codes in Fort Collins and beyond.
Green Insight can also help you develop practices that embed practices that will make the entire certification process streamlined.
If you’re ready to talk to one of our team about how we can help you build green, contact us today to discuss your project and your goals.