Green House 

MLGW tries to get more people interested in eco-friendly homes.

Not only does Memphis top lists of the fattest cities, its residents are also some of the worst energy hogs in the country.

"The average household energy usage in Shelby County is higher than the U.S. average," MLGW EcoBUILD inspector Kieth Kulow said at a green building seminar at Bridges last week.

In fact, both Memphis and Tennessee were at the top of household electricity usage nationally from 1990 to 2008. But MLGW's voluntary EcoBUILD program, launched in 2003, sets building standards designed to use 30 percent less energy than homes built using conventional construction practices.

Examples of EcoBUILD standards include using recycled materials, installing energy-efficient air-conditioning units and planting native shrubs to reduce landscape watering.

Since 2003, EcoBUILD has certified 542 homes in Shelby County. EcoBUILD homes account for only about 6 percent of the building permits in the county, which is down from 10 percent several years ago. MLGW strategic marketing coordinator Becky Williamson said the number of EcoBUILD homes slowed when the overall housing market stalled due to the recession.

At the seminar, Kulow showed several examples of EcoBUILD homes, including a block of homes in Uptown that served as EcoBUILD's first project in 2003. The project will boast 400 homes when completed.

"When it's finished, Uptown will be the largest green neighborhood in the nation," Williamson said.

A 2006 study of power usage in the existing EcoBUILD homes found that customers achieved an average annual electricity savings of 34 percent and a natural gas savings of 56 percent. Those are better numbers than MLGW expected since EcoBUILD homes were designed to deliver a 30 percent savings.

Kulow also showed photographs of bad construction practices, ranging from leaking ductwork to poor insulation, in homes that weren't EcoBUILD-certified.

"It's not just old inner-city houses that have problems. It's also new houses," Williamson said. "Homebuyers assume if they have a new home, it must be eco-friendly. That's not necessarily true."

Homeowners who wish to purchase EcoBUILD-certified homes can find a list of participating builders on mlgw.com.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • River Threat

      Mississippi River mayors urge action on new climate report.

Blogs

Fly On The Wall Blog

Comedian Benny Elbows Recovering After Shooting

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Jeff Hulett

News Blog

Gas Prices Fall Across Tennessee

Tiger Blue

Familiar Foes

Beyond the Arc

James and Lakers Blow Out Grizzlies, 111-88

Tiger Blue

Tigers 94, UAB 76

Music Blog

RIP Ace: Diving Deep Into the Ace Cannon Style

Fly On The Wall Blog

Hugh Freeze Talks About His Junk

Fly On The Wall Blog

Stop, Look, Listen: Friedberg Germany Gives the King a Go

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bianca Phillips

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation