Green Construction

Custom Built.
Good for the Environment.

For some time now we have been trying to incorporate more “Green” practices into our homebuilding. In fact, MorningStar home builder John Lile obtained his “Certified Green Professional” designation and is currently working on obtaining his “Masters” certification. Justin Lile also has his “CGP” (Certified Green Professional). With the recent interest in green building practices there has been a noticeable trend towards more affordable pricing for this technology.

We can offer different levels of “Green” construction from full certification to a hybrid house that incorporates important Green practices. By way of example for the Hybrid house, we just finished a home for a couple that had some rather stout indoor air quality concerns. They didn’t require full certification nor did they have the budget for full certification. We sat with them and discussed their needs in detail and come up with a home that addressed indoor air quality only. How did we do this? We used products in the home that were either low or had no VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) such as the paint, flooring, cabinets, etc. We also adjusted their Heating and cooling system to add an ERV to allow more fresh air to enter the home. So, if you don’t need full Green certification, we can offer a hybrid based on your needs.

What is Green?

We get asked this question so often that we have felt compelled to start a page just to address this issue. Below is a flyer that we use when discussing Green with our potential clients. We will begin to add more text to this outline as we go forward, so check back often to see the updates.


What does high performance mean?

Most people, when thinking about building a home,  don’t think about the “total” performance of their home. At best, there may be some consideration given to how much a power bill might be, but the bottom line is that most clients will think in terms of the initial cost of the home and how much their mortgage payment will be. Given the current economic conditions, the focus is on getting the home at the best deal possible. We know this and we understand and respect this. What we would like to do is challenge you to a new definition of the “the best deal possible”.

So, let’s look at two examples. Home “A” and Home “B” are exactly the same, same floor plan, same size, same lot size …. you get the idea. However, Home “B” is $25,000.00 dollars more, is Certified to Energy Star 3.0 and has a “Bronze” level “Green” Certification and a 10 Year limited structural warranty.

So, the difference in the monthly payment is about $116 more for home “B”. Can you see where I’m going here? What do you think the monthly savings will be from the lower electric bill? How about the savings on the Water bill?  What is the savings from reducing the potential for maintenance (you do set aside money every month for maintenance don’t you?), What is the cost of Peace of mind worth to you by having a 10 Year Structural Warranty? What is the cost of having a “healthier” home as a result of the Green certification requirements? Feedback from our past clients has told us that the monthly savings from the above items can potentially be more then the difference is their mortgage payment for the same home that costs more initially.

One last thing …. we are seeing a trend in appraisals. During the loan approval process, appraisals for Green homes are generally coming in higher then the same appraisal on a non-green home. We suspect that this will translate into a higher appraisal on the Green home when you decide to resell it at a later time. Again, what is this worth to you?  Something to think about.

The Goal:

  • Reduced maintenance

  • Reduced energy consumption

  • Healthy & comfortable living

  • Responsible stewards of the environment

How Do We Achieve This?

  • Company commitment to the goal

  • Correct selection of building materials

  • Advanced building techniques

  • Correct selection of Home Equipment

How Do We Measure This?

  • Outside Certification of Energy performance

  • Green Home Certification

How Do We Achieve Our Green Building Goal?

All exterior components are designed for lower maintenance:

  • Fiber cement siding products
  • Composite material used for exterior trim details
  • Super Paint by Sherwin Williams on all exterior finishes
  • Roof shingles with a 30 year warranty
  • Metal roofing (baked on finish)
  • Stainless steel fasteners on all decking
  • Vinyl windows
  • Insulated Wood Textured fiberglass doors
  • Rain Gutters with downspouts “daylighted” away from home
  • High performance carpeting
    • Carpet is a corn based product and will out perform all nylon or plastic bottle based carpeting
  • Sealed crawl
    • Optimum environment for any equipment such as HVAC
  • High Performance HVAC system
    • Each HVAC system is engineered and designed for each home incorporating the following features
      • Programmable thermostat
      • Fresh air with humidistat
      • 10 MERV filter
      • Return air grilles in all bedrooms
      • Dual fuel utilizing a combination of natural gas and electricity
      • High Seer rating
  • Reduced consumption plumbing fixtures
    • High Efficiency Energy Star rated appliances
    • High Efficiency Gas water heaters
  • High Efficiency Gas fireplaces with blowers
  • High Efficiency CFL or LED bulbs
  • High Efficiency double hung, double glazed Low E windows
  • All penetrations from heated to non-heated space (ceiling to attic) are sealed
    • Light fixtures and outlets
  • Advanced Framing techniques
    • Insulated corners
    • Ladder Tees
    • Insulated structural headers over all exterior wall penetrations (windows)
    • Thermal by-pass reduction
  • Robust insulation
    • Radiant barrier on roof
    • Insulated exterior corners
    • Insulation at intersection walls
    • Sheetrock sealed to top plate on all exterior walls
    • Sealed and insulated crawl space
  • Landscaping designed for reduced water consumption
    • Use of native plants
    • Use of Bermuda sod (where allowed)
  • Use of low VOC materials throughout the home to improve indoor air quality
    • Paint
    • Hardwood finish
    • Carpet is formaldehyde free
    • Cabinets are Formaldehyde free
  • Fresh air ducting
    • Fresh air is introduced into the home via a “humidistat” controlled vent in the HVAC system
  • Sealed crawl reduces the potential for harmful mold formation
  • HVAC system is designed to maintain correct humidity levels in the home
    • This can reduce the potential for allergies by eliminating to much humidity or to dry conditions
  • 10 MERV whole house filter on HVAC system
    • In addition to regular return air filters
  • Waste building material is recycled
  • Use of local products
    • Moen and Bosch
  • Use of native plants
  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Reduced water consumption
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Use of Engineered wood components
  • Advanced framing techniques reduces the overall amount of lumber consumed

How Do We Measure Our Performance?

MorningStar Homes has been building all of its homes (all communities) to comply with and be certified to Southern Energy Management’s ecoSelect® Program. This means:

  • Home is inspected and Certified by an independent third party
    • Framing inspection
    • Blower door testing
  • Rating system is the “HERS” system: Home Energy Rating System
    • HERS is a national standard
    • Recognized locally by appraisers (homes typically appraise at higher values then homes not certified)
    • Like Golf, the lower the HERS score the better
    • 70 or lower is our target goal on all homes
    • This score means that this home can be 30% more efficient then a NEW HOME that just meets the minimum building code insulation and construction standards
    • This score means that this home can be potentially 50-60% more efficient than a 10 year old used home

Learn more about Southern Energy Management’s ecoSelect® Program here:  MorningStar Energy Efficient Homes

MorningStar Homes offers “Green Certification” on any home that a client chooses. All homes in the community of Briar Chapel are Green Certified.  This means:

While some might argue that customer feedback is not a good measure of your performance, we think it is, quite frankly, the most important measure.  We are proud of our performance with our clients and will be happy to introduce you to our past clients and let them share their thoughts with you about our performance. 

See our client testimonials here: MorningStar Client Referrals

We also feel that Peace of Mind is an important component of a high performance home and to that end, we offer a 10 Year limited Structural warranty on all of our homes.

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