Northern Virginia Builder Embraces the Value of NGBS

Craig Havenner recognizes the countless benefits of building to the National Green Building Standard (NGBS). As president of Christopher Companies in Northern Virginia, Havenner has built more than 450 units to the NGBS, and two more of his properties under development are on their way to meeting the standard: a single-family home in The Reserve at May Hill and a multifamily 55+ four-story low-rise building at The Crest of Alexandria.

“As energy-conscious builders and active members and supporters of local, state and national builders’ associations, our choice to participate in the NGBS program was a no-brainer,” said Havenner. “We asked ourselves, ‘What is the most cost-effective solution that allows us to deliver high-quality with reasonable paybacks?’ And after experiencing several other programs over the years, we chose to adopt the NGBS standard company-wide in all our active markets.”

Christopher Companies’ high-performance building projects include LED lighting, high-efficiency toilets, insulated water heaters, fresh-air ventilation, cool roofing, electric vehicle charging stations for multifamily buildings, and batt insulation for better noise abatement and comfort.

Havenner said some of the green strategies he tends to avoid are low-flow shower heads and framing on two-feet centers in single-family homes because of difficulties keeping the sheathing flat.

The Reserve at May Hill community is a previously developed site that used crushed demolition material from existing buildings as clean fill — both of which earned him points in the NGBS Chapter 5 Lot Design, Preparation and Development.

Havenner and his team met with NAHB staff recently to discuss the practicality, success and market trends for different high-performance strategies. They discussed material choices for insulation and finishes, noise abatement, lighting, ventilation and plumbing fixtures.

At The Crest of Alexandria, NGBS verifier Brandon Roark, Nations Capital Energy Solutions, demonstrated a blower door test in a unit, which is a compliance path option in the 2012 NGBS Energy Efficiency chapter (and required in the 2015 NGBS). The test checks the air tightness of the unit and is an important indicator of the quality of the envelope construction.

By getting into the field, NAHB staff is able to keep current on construction practices and techniques being used by our members and maintain an edge in advocacy efforts.

For more information about NAHB’s sustainable and green building programs, contact Program Manager Michelle Diller.

To stay current on high-performance building, follow NAHB’s Sustainability and Green Building team on Twitter.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Aunt Deanna says:

    Congratulations, Craig!

  2. Peter McGuire says:

    I am glade that Dominion Energy Rater Grp plays a small part in growth and embracing of the NGBS program. We also feel that it’s the best program for all home builders
    Pete McGuire

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