By Josh Skalniak

“Our commitment to building green homes began more than a decade ago”

Chintan and Bhavna Patadia, working parents with two young children, are like many young families of today who share their home with their parents. Three generations living under one roof, the Patadias became quite aware of the amount of energy it takes to run a home.

“When I did my research, it said about 40 percent of C02 emissions happens from all these structures that are out there,” said Chintan.

While they were happy with their current home located just outside of Phoenix, Arizona, the family wanted to make a change, not only to save money but also to minimize their impact on the environment. Like the Patadias, many of today’s homebuyers want a green home and the energy efficiency that goes along with owning one, according to a 2017 survey of real estate professionals by the National Association of Realtors.

So, the Patadias began their search but quickly realized there were very few options for those who wanted an environmentally friendly home.

That is, until they heard about two new neighborhoods coming to the Phoenix area. Both communities just so happened to be built by their current homebuilder, Maracay Homes, and were designed to meet the LEED Certified designation from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainability in buildings design, construction and operation.

LEED, a third-party verification system that measures compliance across numerous areas of environmental sustainability, has become the industry-standard for evaluating the environmental performance of a building.

“With LEED, we could reduce [our home’s emissions] by 30 percent, and that’s what got us excited,” said Chintan, referring to when he learned that all of the homes at Maracay’s The Preserve at Adora Trails in Gilbert and Hawthorn Manor community in Chandler would be designed to meet the LEED Certified designation.

The introduction of these two communities to the Phoenix area has elevated the Arizona-based homebuilder as one of the first large-scale builders in metro Phoenix to build homes to achieve the LEED certification through the USGBC.

“Our commitment to building green homes began more than a decade ago, and since then we’ve increased our efforts, refined our building practices and expanded our use of green technology each year,” said Maracay Homes President Andy Warren.

One of the key features of a LEED certified home is its energy-efficiency. According to the USGBC, LEED certified homes use 30-50 percent less energy than typical homes, with features like water-efficient fixtures, LED lighting, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, Energy Star® appliances and Wi-Fi enabled, programmable thermostats.

“I’ve been waiting for the day that one of my clients would step up to the plate and say ‘we want to build LEED,’” said LEED for Homes Green Rater Daran Wastchak, president of D.R. Wastchak, LLC, an independent, third-party firm that specializes in residential energy efficiency and building science consulting. “At this point in time, this puts Maracay clearly in a unique place.”

Earning the LEED designation, which requires third-party verification from a rater like D.R. Wastchak, doesn’t end with the home’s design and features, however. In fact, it extends far beyond the interior of the home.

“LEED also has a focus on locations and the transaction cost of living in a particular area, like how much time you’re going to have to commute, for an example,” said Warren.

Both The Preserve at Adora Trails, an 82-homesite community, and the 84-homesite Hawthorn Manor neighborhood fit the LEED requirements for location, each conveniently situated near major expressways, just minutes from Phoenix’s major amenities, but still resting outside the noise of big-city life. The homes have also been designed to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Indoor airPLUS specifications that focus on indoor air quality.

When Maracay’s journey toward sustainable building began more than 10 years ago, it became one of the first homebuilders in Arizona to ensure that all of its communities qualified for the Energy Star® certification set by the EPA. With features such as effective insulation systems, high-performance windows, tight construction and ducts, and energy efficient lighting and appliances, Energy Star homes can be up to 30 percent more efficient than typical new homes.

But that wasn’t enough. So, Maracay introduced its proprietary program called Living Smart® – a comprehensive approach to green living through responsible development and water and energy efficiency. Designed with five components – Energy Smart, Health Smart, Earth Smart, Water Smart and Home Smart – the program became an added value to those who were already living healthful, comfortable and cost-efficient lives in their energy-efficient homes.

Now, with its sights set on growing its inventory of LEED certified homes, the homebuilder hopes to continue expanding its commitment to sustainability.

“Consumers, as a whole, are increasingly looking for ways to minimize their impact on the environment, which includes choosing a home that’s energy efficient and built with the environment in mind,” said Warren. “Our intent is to answer this desire by continuing to offer new choices for a greener future.”

the contributor
Josh can often be quoted as saying, “That’s a good story,” with emphasis on that first, critical word.
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