First LEED Certified Home in Greater Richmond

Handcraft Homes, LLC has built the first home in Greater Richmond, VA
to be certified under the USGBC’s LEED for Homes program

Goochland, Virginia
Thursday, March 11, 2010

As of February 5, 2010 Greater Richmond gained its very first residence certified[1] under LEED for Homes. Local builder Handcraft Homes, LLC built the home, located in Powhatan off Judes Ferry Road[2], under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes program. This program is arguably the most stringent certification in the country for building a home under green guidelines.
This project has also been nominated by EarthCraft of Virginia for the 2010 Single Family Project of the Year Award to be announced on March 25. Handcraft Homes has completed training with EarthCraft, a local company providing green education, training and certifications. Sean Shanley and Zack Miller of EarthCraft were the “green raters” on this project. A green rater is the person who is certified by the USGBC to provide inspections and consultation services for the goal of LEED certification.
Handcraft Homes was founded in 2002 by brothers Wayne and Richard Grebe. Their commitment to the environment is reflected by one of the company’s tag lines, We Care - our planet, your home. “This is a major milestone for Richmond in the green building movement, and we’re very proud to be a part of it”, said Wayne Grebe, President and CEO of Handcraft Homes. “Stepping into the green arena has been a natural progression for us because many aspects of green building are just common sense to a quality-minded builder.”
The home was designed and constructed using SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) for the walls and roofs. SIPs are essentially a foam core sandwiched between two sheets of OSB (oriented strand board, which is similar in use to plywood). SIPs are a key component in the energy efficiency of this home. According to LEED criteria[3] a house with “minimal envelope leakage” (i.e., very tight) would exhibit not more than 2.5 air changes per hour (ACH) under a blower door test. This test is a fairly simple way of determining just how drafty a house is. The home built in Powhatan has been tested at 1.42 ACH, almost half that of the LEED criteria.
As compared to a stick-built 2x4 wall a comparable SIP wall delivers about a 40% increase in energy retaining properties. This can translate into significant energy savings in heating and cooling. The electric bills for this 1900 square feet home for the hottest months during 2009 were between 50 and 60 dollars. The highest electric bill, about $150, was during this winter, one of the coldest winters on record for Central Virginia.

[1] USGBC LEED for Homes Program, Certified Projects
[2] Link to Judes Ferry Rd Project Page
[3] USGBC LEED for Homes Reference Guide (2008)

Wayne Grebe
Handcraft Homes, LLC
(804) 405-7609
(804) 556-3336 (fax)