• This model, along with the 41 other homes in the Murphy's Run development, will be certified to the Silver level of the National Green Building Standard.

    Credit: Courtesy Barry Andrews Homes

    This model, along with the 41 other homes in the Murphy's Run development, will be certified to the Silver level of the National Green Building Standard.
 Barry Andrews Homes' Murphy's Run development earned the distinction in March as the 2,000th project to be certified by the NAHB Research Center under the National Green Building Standard (NGBS).

Under construction in Cecil County, Md., north of Baltimore, Murphy's Run is the 12th certified community in the country. The 42 homes also will be certified, to the Silver level, as well as to Energy Star.

Of the 120 acres in the development, 60 are set aside for open space, including picnic areas, 2 acres of walking trails, and a playground. The community will retain all of its trees except those within house footprints; those that are cut down will mulch the walking trails. Furthering the nature-tuned community feel, Murphy’s Run borders an organic farm, where residents will be able to buy locally grown vegetables as well as chicken and beef. Also nearby is a creamery, which will deliver milk and ice cream.

The houses themselves feature products and systems that increase their efficiency and indoor environmental quality, including Energy Star–labeled appliances and windows, CFL lighting, Dow’s SIS sheathing to boost wall R-values, and low-VOC paints and flooring.

Barry and Eve Andrews have been building to Energy Star standards for more than a decade, and largely because they simply feel it’s the right thing to do. This spirit—and a nimble size and private ownership—drives the builder to offer the sometimes pricier green materials at little to no extra cost to buyers (the 1,880- to 2,900-square-foot houses, start at $290,000). “We’ve always marched to that drum,” Eve Andrews says, “and that’s what’s made us successful.”

Indeed, what small amounts the builder might lose in profit, it’s likely getting back via quicker sales and happier customers: Andrews says many home buyers have approached the company because of its green-building philosophies, and those that aren’t already aware are quickly interested once they come out to look. Despite the down market, nine of the 10 under-construction homes have sold since sales opened in November.

“I know the economy is tight, but there are some people who aren’t willing to accept a house that’s not green.”

Katy Tomasulo is Deputy Editor for EcoHome.

This article was updated with corrected information.