Project Green House showcases prototype homes that have significant sustainable, renewable, energy-efficient, characteristics. These homes may be built to adhere to a particular green certification program or use cutting-edge green technologies or principles. The intent is to educate builders on new methods and the quality of results that can be achieved by incorporating green into their projects.
Listen to a Podcast interview with builder Don Cohan
Greensboro, N.C. – Are you thinking about building green and looking for inspiration? Look no further than Greensboro, N.C., where Trish Holder and husband Mark Raines have built their new, very green home – the Greenspiration Home.
The goal was to build an optimally green home they could afford that would visually blend in with other homes in their suburban neighborhood. The couple – primarily Holder – did all of the research and chose the design and products for the home.
Listen to a Podcast interview with home owners Trish Holder and Mark Raines
“I am a writer and a marketing consultant for the HVAC industry,” Holder says. “I have written about a lot of green projects and LEED  projects. We knew we were going to build a house and I knew I wanted to incorporate some high energy HVAC equipment. I just decided why not go all the way and make our house very green.”
The builder – Signature Homes  of Greensboro, had built Energy Star  before, but this was the company’s first experience building a home that was green in multiple respects. In fact, it’s a LEED certified home.
“I liked the idea of working with a builder on this home so that he would get the experience of building a green home anew,” says Holder. “It practically shames other builders into doing it.”
Don Cohan, co-owner of Signature Homes with his wife Megan, warns builders to do a lot more preplanning when building a green home. What you think will be a quick decision when the time comes may turn out to be anything but.
The 3,200 square foot Greenspiration Home is located at 4906 Little Oaks Dr. in Greensboro, N.C. Don Cohan, co-owner of Signature Homes, warns that builders need to do a lot more preplanning when building a green home. "What you think will be a quick decision when the time comes may turn out to be anything but," he cautions.
“A lot of times builders will say: ‘I’ll worry about that decision when I get there,’” says Cohan. “Sometimes you can do that; sometimes you can’t. … From a green home standpoint, it’s not just a matter of taking 10, 20, 30 minutes to an hour to pick out some windows and go. You may be involved for weeks talking to different people about this and that.”
But once you go through the process and see how it works, Cohan says building a green home is not that difficult.
“You decide you’re going to use these kinds of windows, this kind of insulation,” he says. “Once you’ve researched it, it’s easy.”
Holder and Raines created a Web site to document their journey with the Greenspiration Home, www.greenspirationhome.com . It features photographs of the construction process, the site plan, and some of the products they chose for the home and the logic behind those choices. The feature the couple is most proud and confident of is their geothermal system. They saw an immediate payoff from their very first month in the home.
“We are very pleased with what our January fuel bill was this year,” Holder says. “That was the month that we actually moved into this 3,200 square foot house. It was unseasonably cold January here in Greensboro. Our one and only utility bill — because this is an all electric house — was $130.00 for the month. That also includes the special rate we get because we are Energy Star-certified.”
“I also like the fact that we used almost all wood floors in the house,” says Raines. “We used North Carolina Wormy Maple, which is an underutilized hard wood in N.C. In fact almost all of the wood from the house comes from N.C.”
Other green features include closed-cell insulation, PEX tubing for the plumbing, Energy Star rated lighting and appliances, paint that doesn't offgas VOCs, fluorescent lighting, dual flush toilets and low flow fixtures.The Greenspriation Home has Nature Nurture Day open houses that take place every weekend in April except Easter. Some vendors will be on hand to discuss and demonstrate some of the products in the home. Proceeds will benefit local charities including United Way, American Red Cross , Leukemia Society  and Autism Society. The home is located at 4906 Little Oaks Drive in Greensboro. For more information visit greenspriationhome.com.
Click below to see
Greenspiration Home Photo Gallery
Meet the Greenspiration Home Owners
Greenspiration Home Site and House Plan
Meet the Greenspiration Home Builder