Traditional home styles plus a net-zero building standard is a winning combination in the Homes at North Pointe development in Frederick, Maryland.
North Pointe was a dormant development whose design pattern was set when developer NEXUS EnergyHomes, Inc., adopted the project. Nexus took the existing set of plans for the project adjacent to Frederick’s historic district and proceeded to “energize” them, according to Mike Murphy, president of Nexus’ construction division, in order to achieve NAHB’s Emerald certification and reach the net-zero goal.
The result is bringing buyers to the 54-home community despite the slow housing market. Two homes are completed, six are nearing completion, and 17 more lots are under contract waiting to break ground. At this pace, Murphy expects to be sold-out in the 4th quarter of 2012.
Murphy is not surprised by the demand considering the homes are being sold at comparable prices to code-built new construction homes in the area. A 2,750 square-foot home in the community recently sold at $335,000, or about $121 per square foot (see current listings at North Pointe).
He said, “Our homes are selling at about a 7-8% premium over homes in the area, but this is more than made up [in the buyer’s mind] by the lack of utility bills, the available tax credits, very clean indoor air, and other intangibles.”
Strategies for reaching net-zero and Emerald certification at North Pointe include ground source geothermal heat pumps, photovoltaic panels, SIPs walls supplemented by spray foam insulation, and super-tight air sealing. A whole-house monitoring system, called NexusVision™, tracks energy production and consumption, and can show this information to the homeowner via the web or smartphone and tablet applications.
While Nexus EnergyHomes only started building homes in 2011, for three years the company had been working with the Research Center at the National Association of Homes Builders to refine its strategy and process. And that effort is paying off.
Murphy said, “Of the approximately 70 NAHB Emerald Homes nationwide, three currently are in Maryland. When this project is completed, all 59 homes at North Pointe will be certified.”
“It’ll be the Emerald City,” he said.
Building on the early signs of success at North Pointe, Nexus EnergyHomes has several projects launching in 2012. These developments in western Maryland and South Carolina and a custom townhome project in Philadelphia. The company also plans to build custom homes for clients with their own land.
Credits: Nexus EnergyHomes.