But for as much as Thornton is proud of the green building efforts inside and outside the homes, he recognizes that a desire to be green is nothing if customers aren’t getting the fixtures and finishes they want. “Green alone is not enough to bring someone to the table,” he says. Therefore, Silver Woods homes are marketed just as heavily for their aesthetic amenities—such as brand-name fixtures, exotic hardwood floors, and granite or decorative concrete countertops—as they are for their eco-friendly features.

“There are so many things they buy and there’s all these other things that come with it,” Thornton says. “They can get the amenities without making sacrifices they thought they had to make to get to green.”

Katy Tomasulo is Deputy Editor of EcoHome.

  • Bob Thornton, owner of the Silverwoods development, poses in front of his latest project in Delaware on February 13, 2009. The Silverwoods Housing Development in Bethany Beach Delaware is home to the first NAHB certified green home in Delaware.

    Credit: Colin M. Lenton/WPN

    Bob Thornton, owner of the Silverwoods development, poses in front of his latest project in Delaware on February 13, 2009. The Silverwoods Housing Development in Bethany Beach Delaware is home to the first NAHB certified green home in Delaware.
PROFILE: Bob Thornton, Owner, Silver Stock Properties

Though Silver Woods is Bob Thornton’s first venture into full-scale development, he has quickly become one of Delaware’s strongest green building advocates.

An entrepreneur who also owns a sterling silver jewelry supply company, Thornton draws on a diverse career background—including the masonry trades and wastewater management—for many aspects of his current venture. Stone for Silver Woods’ entrance comes from a farm he owns in Pennsylvania, and he implemented the community’s state-of-the-art stormwater management himself.

Recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Home Builders Association of Delaware, Thornton helped draft Sussex County’s green building initiative, based on the NAHB’s Model Green Home Building Guidelines.

Thornton also is working with the NAHB to promote certification. “My mission is to educate everyone in the building industry not to get involved in greenwashing,” he says. “[People who call] themselves green without independent third-party verification [are] going to be a tremendous problem for the building industry.”

Part of his education efforts is showing that green building isn’t a penalty nor a political issue—and it doesn’t have to stand out. “They don’t understand that if someone is a sound green builder, they’re probably going to do better than those around them from an economic standpoint,” Thornton says. “People who don’t know green building don’t know the economic incentives that come as well as the badge of honor.” —K.T.

  • The Silverwoods Housing Development in Bethany Beach Delaware is home to the first NAHB certified green home in Delaware. In this photo, a skylight as seen over a bathroom to the right of the home, is used to naturally light the interior.

    Credit: Colin M. Lenton

    The Silverwoods Housing Development in Bethany Beach Delaware is home to the first NAHB certified green home in Delaware. In this photo, a skylight as seen over a bathroom to the right of the home, is used to naturally light the interior.
Siding

The homes feature HardiePlank fiber-cement siding from James Hardie. The lap siding comes with PrimePlus sealer and primer and carries a 50-year transferable warranty. 888.542.7343. www.jameshardie.com