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Green Building & Sustainable Development

As Green Home Building Goes Mainstream, Haven Properties is Already There

Builders around the country are learning what Atlanta's Haven Properties has known all along - "green" is good. Most builders have waited on home buyers' requests to implement green construction methods. But Haven Properties realized its value and began building to environmentally friendly standards six years ago.

"We've been building homes to EarthCraft and ENERGY STAR standards for years because it's the right thing to do for the environment and for our buyers," said Baptist. "Our buyers have lower utility bills, better indoor air quality and better built homes."

In results released in February by Green Builder Media and Imre Communications, homebuilders said they are finding that buyers will pay up to 25 percent more for homes built with the environment in mind. Consumers perceive components that improve energy efficiency, indoor environment quality, resource management, durability and general environmental appropriateness as adding value to their homes.

"Other builders are just now catching on to green building because home buyers figured it out first," said Baptist. "At Haven, we saw the advantages of green building early on because we are always trying to improve our methods and deliver a better home to our buyers."

In Baptist's quest to differentiate his company a decade ago, he began considering ways to improve construction techniques. Those techniques eventually led to improved energy and resource efficiency. Transitioning to EarthCraft and ENERGY STAR construction requirements was a cinch because Haven was already building homes to many of the same standards. The environmentally friendly construction not only adds value to the homes, but it also improves quality of life for buyers with healthier construction, and it minimizes negative impacts on the environment.

As an EarthCraft builder, Haven Properties builds each of its homes using advanced building systems, certified mechanical components and other energy saving and resource efficient products throughout the total construction process. With ENERGY STAR, Haven's homes are certified just like many other consumer products in the market place.

Both the EarthCraft and ENERGY STAR designations give homeowners the opportunity to save 30 percent or more in energy costs on their homes. They also reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases through energy efficiency. Standards for both programs are met with the use of increased insulation, high performance windows, tight construction and tight ducts, and energy efficient heating and cooling equipment.

Each Haven Properties home undergoes rigorous inspections and, upon completion, a third-party test to verify that it meets or exceeds the stringent requirements of the EarthCraft House and the ENERGY STAR programs. As a result, Haven homes have a healthier indoor environment, lower utility bills, more durability, less maintenance and greater comfort. Homeowners report saving hundreds of dollars in reduced energy bills, and they say they are more comfortable and breathing easier because of better indoor air quality.

While Haven focuses on environment, the company does not fail to provide the features demanded by buyers of semi-custom homes. In addition to extras like distinctive exteriors, hardwood flooring, extensive trim and flowing spaces, Haven includes The Cleaner Kitchen standard with each newly constructed home. As Georgia's exclusive builder in The Cleaner Kitchen program, Haven includes a Pur water filter, cooktops vented to the outdoors and Silestone countertops with Microban bacteria inhibitor in all kitchens.

The program addresses the spread of germs in what is often the home's busiest place. Bacteria won't grow quickly on the countertops - if they grow at all - so food preparation surfaces stay cleaner while the manufactured quartz of Silestone matches or exceeds the beauty of other solid surface styles. Outdoor ventilation removes moisture and odor from the air, and water filters keep potentially harmful additives from reaching food. The result is a stylish kitchen that eases homeowner concerns about health and food safety.

"Atlanta home buyers can have it all - a beautiful home with the amenities they want, in the location they prefer - and still do the responsible things for the health of their families and the environment," says Baptist. "The added value to their lives and home investments is immeasurable."

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