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Local Builder Preserving Local Resources: LEEDing the Way

December 1, 2014 10:27 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When Accredited Master Builder, Chad Collins was approached in late 2013 to build one of Durham’s first LEED for Homes qualified residential projects, he jumped at the chance. “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, known internationally as LEED for Homes, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices,” says Chad, President of Collins Design-Build, Inc. “To receive the LEED for Homes certification, projects must satisfy pre-requisites and earn points for various levels of achievement. Since 2010, 100% of our homes have been third-party verified Green under the stringent requirements of the National Green Building Standard (NGBS). We’ve also certified 100% of our homes to meet the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® program. To take green and energy standards one step further with a LEED for Homes project was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss. LEED certification is recognized around the world as the premier mark of achievement in green building. I’m truly honored to now be a member of a select group of residential builders who have successfully met LEED’s rigorous requirements.”

When meeting a client for the first time Chad asks three questions of customers interested in green and energy efficient homes:

  • How many holes (cracks around windows and doors) do you want in your home?
  • How much energy do you want to waste?
  • How many fresh air exchanges would you like per hour?

Although the first two questions are tongue-in-cheek, Chad remarks these questions form the basis of green and energy efficient homes. “An example is often in insulation. Spray foam insulation can fill voids (holes) in homes,” Chad explains. “While fiberglass insulation has its place, there are times where it leaves voids, allowing holes. Science has made its way into the way we build homes now. Initially our clients question our desire for a tight envelope. We’ve traditionally thought homes need to ‘breathe;’ what they really need is to ‘dry.’ We introduce humidity and moisture in our homes with long showers, cooking, and just everyday living… As conscientious builders, we need to find the right ways for homes to ‘dry’ from this moisture. Spray foam insulation and sealed crawl spaces go a long way in creating our next generation dry living environments.”

“We also need to build homes as energy efficient as possible,” Chad continues. “If all builders utilized only ENERGY STAR® certified products and practices, just think of the energy we could save.”

A performance measure of energy efficiency is the Home Energy Rating System, or HERS index. It measures energy efficiency in homes comparable to the way fuel efficiency is measured in cars by miles per gallon of gas. Most existing homes score at 130 and above on the HERS index; standard new homes score around 100. The lower the HERS score, the better in terms of energy efficiency. Collins Design-Build homes consistently score in the high 50s/low 60s range. This means Chad’s homeowners save substantially in monthly utility bills.

In this LEED for Homes project, the home was sited in a pasture to blend with the natural environment and the homes was oriented to catch breezes and minimize windows facing west. Among many green and energy efficient features, Chad utilized a metal standing-seam roof, cement fiberboard siding, energy efficient windows, resilient flooring materials, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and a tankless water heating system. Chad built the home solar ready and he took steps to significantly reduce envelope leakage. Furthermore, he reduced material and construction waste at every turn. These practices resulted in a sustainable green and energy efficient home, meeting the LEED for Homes requirements and exceeding the expectations of his clients.

“My training and experience allowed me to move smoothly through any building and environmental issues we may have encountered during the construction phase,” says Chad. “Education is key, and I’m proud to say I make industry education a priority. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to meet LEED’s strict requirements. I’m happy I could build this home… Every project is inspiring and I look forward to each one.”

For more information on Chad and Collins Design-Build and to view photos of the LEED home, visit Collins Design-Build, call 919-422-2818, or email chad@collinsdesignbuild.com.


Chad D Collins 2014 NAHB Certified Green Home Professional of the Year (3) Chad D. Collins, Accredited Master Builder

An area native, NC Licensed General Contractor, National Association of Home Builders Master Certified Green ProfessionalTM, and Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, Chad is one of less than 50 Accredited Master Builders in the state. He achieved this professional designations after years of experience and numerous hours of coursework via the NC Builder Institute. Chad has been an active member of the building industry since the early 1990’s. He joined the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties in 2005. Chad was soon named HBA Recruiter of the Year and he subsequently chaired various HBA committees. Chad is a Licensed Home Inspector, as well as, a Licensed Lead Abatement professional.

In addition to industry awards in recognition of excellence in home building and remodeling, Collins Design-Build has twice been named Building Company of the Year via the HBA’s Triangle Sales and Marketing Council MAME (Major Achievements in Marketing Excellence) Awards. The company has also received a Best Green Built Home STARS Award from the NCHBA. Currently, Chad serves as 1st Vice President of the HBADOC, and recently completed one of Durham’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) residential projects. LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, projects must satisfy pre-requisites and earn points to achieve various levels of achievement.

In 2014 Chad was selected as the HBADOC 2014 Builder of the Year and recently honored at The International Builders Show in Las Vegas as the NAHB’s Certified Green Home Professional of the Year.

Contact Chad at 919-422-2818 or via email chad@collinsdesignbuild.com

To learn about homeownership opportunities, contact Emilee at emilee@collinsdesignbuild.com

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This post was written by Chad Collins


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