Betenbough Homes Opens Its First Community With 100% Green-Certified Homes
West Texas production builder Betenbough Homes is bucking the national housing slump and beating its own sales predictions with its new green-only community in Midland, Texas. At no additional cost to buyers, all homes in the Legends Park development will be certified to the National Green Building Standard.
The 127-home development, which opened in February, is 90% sold out, says marketing manager Jeanna Roach. She credits the community’s appeal to the builder’s commitment to making high-performance homes available to mainstream, entry-level buyers. Those consumers, such as recent college graduates and young families, have been Betenbough’s target market for 20 years.
But despite being drawn in by lower energy bills or healthy indoor air, homebuyers are still most swayed by cost, Roach says. Legends Park homes start at about $110,000.
“The homes are popular because buyers know we are offering a quality product, but price is the No. 1 reason people buy our homes,” she says. “The green features are tools in our toolbelt that help people make a buying decision.”
The homes feature advanced 24-inch o.c. framing, low-VOC paint, low-flow plumbing, Energy Star-certified windows and appliances, CFL lighting, WaterSense fixtures, and Huber’s ZIP System, which combines structural sheathing, water barrier, and air barrier for exceptional building envelope efficiency.
In all of its communities combined, the company has permitted 282 certified homes since late 2010, when it first announced it would build all homes to the NGBS. (Visitors to the Betenbough website can watch the number of permitted green homes go up by the week.) The builder’s high-volume construction and focus on efficient building processes allow it to absorb the cost of building to third-party standards--about $1,000 extra per house--says vice president Ron Betenbough.
Betenbough Homes had been relying for years on high-performance technologies and products, such as panelized walls and trusses, says certified green professional James Jordan. In order to attain Bronze level certification, the company had to make a few changes, such as adding fire caulking around chimneys, increasing sealing around return air boxes, and specing low-flow toilets.
“When we initially researched certification we found that our process was already pretty much in line with green building,” Jordan says. “But we felt that to be able to claim that legitimately, our houses need to be verified by a third party.”
With plans to build 400 new homes by the end of the year, Betenbough will have the most NGBS-certified homes in the Southwest. Building on that success, the employee-owned company aims to carve out a new niche catering to move-up buyers. Their latest community, Valencia, includes 12 NGBS-certified, semi-custom models from 2,500 to 3,600 square feet. The homes are priced at about $92-$98 per square foot and include professional landscaping, a first for Betenbough.