Reconstructing Homes for Efficiency

Everett Custom Homes deconstructs to build homes that are just as high performing as they are beautiful

By Sergio Flores
Photography provided by Everett Custom Homes

Residential infill homebuilder Everett Custom Homes builds single-family homes, townhomes, condos and apartments in the environmentally conscious city of Portland, Ore., one of our nation’s leaders in energy-efficient building and eco-friendly living.

The City of Portland serves as an exciting place to be a residential infill homebuilder, largely because of the city’s requirement for builders to only develop within the city’s already existing infrastructure. Thus, when looking for land to develop into homes, Everett Custom Homes looks for urban properties that are both alreadyhome to an existing structure and houses that have been neglected and are consequently deemed as dilapidated and unsafe. From there, Everett can deconstruct the current structure and replace it with a safer, more environmentally friendly home.

Portland is an ideal city to be a residential infill homebuilder, largely because Portlanders are environmentally conscious and very eco-friendly.
Portland is an ideal city to be a residential infill homebuilder, largely because Portlanders are environmentally conscious and very eco-friendly.

“We consistently strive to ensure that whatever we build on a given urban property compliments and enhances the unique character of Portland’s great neighborhoods,” said President and Owner of Everett Custom Homes, Vic Remmers.

Portland is also ideal for building green because of the city’s impressive transit systems and convenient household services. Much of the city’s land grants easy access to all forms of public transport, allowing future homeowners to continue limiting their carbon footprint without any personal sacrifice.

Homes are suffused with several eco-friendly and energy-efficient features to ensure green living, such as ENERGY STAR® appliances, tankless water heater, and highly efficient windows.
Homes are suffused with several eco-friendly and energy-efficient features to ensure green living, such as ENERGY STAR® appliances, tankless water heater, and highly efficient windows.

Everett Custom Homes is committed to building homes that ensure healthy and sustainable living through building techniques and products. “Everett Custom Homes certifies all of their homes through Earth Advantage, a third party energy certification program,” added Remmers. “Green building methods and features are a top priority for our team throughout the building process, from start to finish.” Earth Advantage’s rigorous certification program requires high marks in energy-efficiency, healthy indoor air quality, resource efficiency, environmental responsibility and water conservation. On average, Everett Custom Homes earns a prestigious gold or platinum certification through this third party program.

Because Everett deconstructs homes instead of demolishing, the builder can de-structure the building piece-by-piece and reuse any salvageable materials. Often up to 85 percent of an existing structure’s major components are reused. Another advantage of deconstructing is the ability to carefully scrutinize building materials in order to avoid the release dangerous toxins, such as asbestos or lead, into the surrounding community. Piece-by-piece allows workers to carefully analyze and remove all chemicals during the deconstruction process.

2-livingConstruction technique isn’t the only area in which Everett mitigates potential damaging effects on the environment. After the deconstruction process is complete and project construction begins, Everett purchases locally-sourced building materials whenever possible. Use of lumber, insulation, drywall, and roofing are harvested or manufactured within a 500-mile radius of a jobsite, limiting fossil fuel in material transport.

To further add to the home’s efficiency, Everett Custom Homes incorporates features to ensure green living, such as tankless water heaters, highly efficient windows, heating and cooling ducts in conditioned spaces within the structure, ENERGY STAR® appliances, efficiency insulation, containing at least 25 percent recycled content, an on-site infiltration system to minimize strain on public storm water removal, and more.

Homeowners are requesting green homes more now than ever before in Portland, as well as across the nation.
Homeowners are requesting green homes more now than ever before in Portland, as well as across the nation.

The demand for green certified homes that incorporate eco-friendly features present endless building opportunities for Everett Custom Homes, and the green movement is quickly shifting from niche to mainstream. “As homeowners become more and more knowledgeable about the environmental impacts of their housing, there is an increased desire to live an eco-friendly life and limit that impact,” noted Remmers. “Thus, we believe that it is up to residential infill homebuilders to go green with their building practices and meet this shift in homeowner preference.”

Through a homebuilder’s perspective, Vic Remmers believes that the biggest misconception about constructing environmentally friendly, efficient homes is that it is too expensive for the builder to make that additional sacrifice. Fortunately, though, it is a misconception. Remmers notes that this erroneous statement might have been true a decade ago, but thanks to the array of green products being manufactured, causing costs associating with building high performance homes to decrease, the building process for green has become much more affordable.

“Our team is always striving to push our building limits and expand our product offering to meet Portland’s evolving needs,” said Remmers.

A typical Everett Custom Homes project includes responsibly deconstructing a home, removing all detrimental factors, and rebuild it in a healthy and environmentally friendly home.
A typical Everett Custom Homes project includes responsibly deconstructing a home, removing all detrimental factors, and rebuild it in a healthy and environmentally friendly home.

Despite building green, a home’s aesthetics are never compromised. In fact, Everett Custom Homes believes that energy efficiency and aesthetics truly go hand-in-hand, and every home they build is just as high performing as they are beautiful. A paragon example that blends sustainability and elegance is a go-to product for the builder: quartz counter tops; not only do they accentuate the kitchen space, but they are also healthy for the homeowner, durable and environmentally responsible.

As Everett Custom Homes moves forward, they will continue to push the building envelope, expanding their products to meet the needs of Portland. In late fall the builder will launch their new modern collection of homes, introducing a brand new style of contemporary housing options for current and future Portland residents.

“It’s an exciting time to be in the residential infill homebuilding and design industry—both in Portland and across the nation,” said Remmers. “The eco-friendly products, designs and building practices available today provide the great opportunity to build highly efficient homes within healthy environments for future homeowners.”

Sergio Flores is an Assistant Editor for Builder and Developer magazine. He may be reached at sergio@penpubinc.com.

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