7 top green residential buildings in the U.S.

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By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Forgotten about green building during the economic swoon of the last two years? Rising energy costs and static incomes make it more important than ever as consumers look for added value and long-term energy savings.

Check out these top green residential projects from across the U.S., which demonstrate that green living is no longer just for the wealthy few.

1 – Postgreen’s 100K House in South Philly sets the mark for in-city affordability

Postgreen, a sustainable building and design company, wanted to address a demographic that was not being served in Philadelphia:  Urban dwellers who want to live in a green property, but do not want to move to the suburbs or spend the money, typically $500,000 and up, for most builder’s green creations.

So the team set out to build its inaugural projects, the $100K and $120K infill homes in the sleekest, greenest, low-waste designs they could muster, while resisting the “bells and whistles” that drive prices up. They wanted the 100K home to come in at a building cost under $100 per square foot, so they had to work extra hard at efficiencies in all aspects of construction. The result: Two two-story loft homes with two bedrooms each priced at between $200,000 and $250,000, both on commute-free city lots, walking distance to subway and bus stops.

It’s expected to use only about half of the energy of a comparable conventional home the same size.

The two houses, being certified as LEED platinum (the top level on LEED’s silver, gold, platinum scale), employed solar thermal hot water, rainwater collection, low-flow faucets, dual-flush toilets, SIPs insulation (state-of-the-art solid construction panels) and permeable, drought-tolerant landscaping. Both were sold and are occupied, and have been joined by five more similar homes, all sold before construction was completed, said Postgreen’s marketing director Nic Darling, indicating that the company has found strong demand.

The company’s 100K home, which is expected to use only about half the energy of a comparable conventional home, was awarded the 2010 Project of the Year award in the 2010 LEED for Homes Awards by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The award cited the 100K project for its innovation, energy savings, streamlined design and compact construction (82 percent of the construction waste was diverted from the landfill) that went above and beyond even LEED requirements.

The LEED for Homes Awards were presented at the USGBC International Conference in Chicago in November. Page forward to see more award winners.

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