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Norge-area’s Walnut Farm: State’s first zero energy ready new home community

The Virginia Gazette released a recent article that shares information about an initiative called ‘Walnut Farms’. Walnut Farm is a concept created by Jay Epstein, president of Healthy Communities, a Williamsburg-based home builder-developer that looks to construct “state-of-the-art homes in sustainable neighborhoods”.

Let’s revise some features of this residential development that looks to reduce the home’s carbon footprint:

  1. Houses are built to exceed customary homebuilding standards: “For instance, the dwellings have high “minimum efficiency reporting value” ratings, which indicate effective air filtration”.

  2. Hardware and Wiring: for new homebuyers, this recently added feature allows them to put solar panels on the roof. “Epstein guarantees a monthly power bill less than $1.50 a day, averaged over a year, for the homes with solar panels installed.”

  3. Building techniques allow better insulation and the reduction of wood use. “Framing walls with 2-by-6 studs spaced 24 inches, instead of the typical 2-by-4 studs at 16 inches”.

  4. High-efficiency windows: this feature helps to “minimize temperature loss and reflect light”.

  5. Finally, recirculating hot water pumps use less energy and save upwards of $160 per year.

“The idea for Walnut Farm found a positive reception because there’s long been a focus on environmental concerns within the James City County’s Department of Community Development. As the county has been receiving input and updating its Comprehensive Plan, environmental quality and preservation has been a through line over the years, she said, and is one of the highly ranked priorities of citizens and policymakers”.

Until now, 30 of the 75 planned houses are sold. Another key factor that helped the project to workout was affordability, homes range from $359,000 to $600,000.

“Epstein said that he is pleased with the progress at Walnut Farm and glad that he was able to build the community near Williamsburg, where he has lived for almost 30 years”.

At MKThink we are also working on community projects that look to evolve design and planning with the needs of today such as energy save and environmental impact. Learn more by contacting us. Or to read more about today's article, click here:


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