Extreme Green Rehabilitation

The Extreme Green Rehabilitation protocol is applied to houses rescued from demolition through owner donations and acquisition. Extreme Green rehabilitation results in energy efficient homes with superior indoor air quality. The Extreme Green Rehabilitation can be found in our:

At least 65 percent of a house is either reused or salvaged. Parts of the home, including the shell, roof, flooring and doors, can usually be recycled. All of these materials represent embodied energy and carry a carbon cost, so the more that can be salvaged, the greater the carbon savings.

Although new materials are necessary to complete the rehabilitation, Builders of Hope uses non-toxic, energy efficient, and low-flow products. The impact – lower utility bills from energy and water savings, better indoor air quality, and better, healthier home ownership opportunities for families.

Standard amenities in Extreme Green Rehabilitation include passive solar orientation, compact fluorescent lighting, double pane, low-E windows, Energy Star appliances, sealed envelopes that include weatherized and insulated crawl spaces, upgraded HVAC systems and large porches.

The homes have improved air circulation and quality, through indoor-outdoor air exchange, ceiling fans, tile and wood flooring (rather than carpet that holds and releases toxic residues) and non-toxic glues and paints.

Living and Learning Lab

Partnering with Duke University, Builders of Hope launched a living learning lab to create affordable renovated homes using green building principles.  The Nicholas School of the Environment and Pratt School of Engineering are spearheading this ongoing project in Durham, North Carolina to test and assess the Extreme Green Rehabilitation process to see which environmental upgrades – such as energy efficiency or water conservation – deliver the most impact and provide homeowners or landlords the greatest savings. This experiment also seeks to disprove the premise that only a privileged minority can afford an efficient and environmentally sound home.

Builders of Hope acquired six homes through an agreement with the City of Durham for the living learning lab. The shotgun style Rock Street homes are virtually identical. Because the houses each have the same orientation and climatic conditions, university researchers can scrutinize the effects of using various materials and variables. Duke students began the experiments in the fall of 2010. Additional partners in the living learning lab include the historic restoration builder Trinity Design/Build and sustainable urban planners Civitech.

Students live in the homes, monitoring the effectiveness of different Extreme Green Rehabilitation criteria and measuring the advantages gained from these construction methods.  The research will provide real, on-the-ground contributions to advance green rehabilitation of homes.

Verifying Extreme Green

The North Carolina Solar Center’s Healthy Built Homes Program serves as an independent verifier for Builders of Hope. These programs certify that homes meet green guidelines – including energy and water use reduction strategies, renewable energy use, protection of land and reduction of pollution and waste during construction and throughout the life of the home.

Independent verification results in guaranteed heating and cooling costs in Builders of Hope homes. For example, in 2010 a 1,100 square foot home in Raleigh would have a guaranteed maximum utility bill of $45 per month. In the circumstance that the bill is higher than this, the third party certifier pays for the cost overrun and identifies and repairs any problems that caused the higher bill.

Advanced Energy, a Raleigh, North Carolina energy certifier, has worked with Builders of Hope on this aspect of home construction. As Krista Egger of Advanced Energy says, “The affordable housing population is most vulnerable to rising utility costs. The less they have to spend on utilities, the more they can spend on health care, food and other necessities.”

Additionally, a North Carolina State University study proved that Extreme Green Rehabilitation has been proven to be nearly twice as energy efficient as building a new home with traditional stick-built construction techniques.