Sylvia Hallock and Rosa Jimenez-Vazquez will soon move into their new home on Orchard Drive in Crozet, the first in Virginia to be certified by three programs that promote environmentally sustainable, universally accessible, and super-durable construction. They showed off their 2,200-square-foot home, built by Craig Builders, to the public March 16 with an open house.
The house is based on a popular one-level Craig design, but the pair added windows and made sure it conformed to all the building specifications that the certifications require.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Hallock, the first Virginia state director for Habitat for Humanity, sits on the boards of the EarthCraft Virginia and Easy Living Home and expects soon to be on the board of Fortified Home (all non-profit organizations). Hallock and Jimenez–Vazquez put their money where their values are in executing the project. Their goal is to improve “green” homes as much as possible.
“The design is for seniors and for people of any age who might be in a wheelchair. There are no steps anywhere; there’s a roll-in shower, for example,” explained Jimenez–Vazquez, a retired professor of social work. She immigrated to the U.S from Cuba in 1961 as a young lawyer.
EarthCraft House certification emphasizes health considerations, energy and water conservation, air quality, quietness, durability and comfort. Hallock said that she expects to pay an electric bill on the order of $60 per month. There are 140 builders in Virginia that build to EarthCraft standards, Hallock said, and so far about 2,200 homes in the state have been certified. First organized by “green” home builders in Atlanta, EarthCraft is now established across the southeast U.S.
Easy Living Home stresses factors such as no-step entries, wide doors and maneuvering spaces, and other features that improve convenience.
Fortified Homes certifies a house’s ability to withstand very high winds—up to 130 miles-per-hour—hail and severe storms through special roof-securing measures. The windows can resist the same force.
The house has 2-by-6 stud walls with blown cellulose insulation and a high efficiency heating and cooling system run at variable speeds by a programmable thermostat. It operates with only three percent leakage. Normal systems leak about 25 percent of the air they heat or cool. The house and lot cost a total of $375,000.