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The MEAN LEAN DREAM GREEN Home . . . becomes a Reality

Local “green” enthusiast, Drude Corbet, co-Founder of The Mobius Company in partnership with Kelly McArdle Construction, completed the “Mean Lean Dream Green Home” (www.MeanLeanDreamGreenHome.com) in New Hope Township in Iredell County. Since its completion at the end of 2009, the home has been certified as a Platinum Level LEED for Homes™ home, a Gold Level NAHB National Green Building Standard™ home, an Energy Star™ home and Department of Energy Builders Challenge™ home. Corbet and Kelly McArdle worked with Energy Wise Solutions for the aformentioned certifications.

The Corbet home is the third home in the state of North Carolina to achieve the Platinum Level LEED for Homes™ certification, the highest level certification awarded by LEED for Homes™. Similarly, the home is the second home in the state of North Carolina to achieve the Gold Level NAHB National Green Building Standard™ certification, the second highest level of certification awarded by NAHB. According to the Department of Energy’s E-Scale, the home’s 52 HERS rating is indicative of the fact that this “average home” will use about half the energy of a home built to code, thus resulting in the Builders Challenge™ certification.

In order to achieve these high-level certifications, Corbet, in partnership with Kelly McArdle Construction incorporated features that focused on sustainable living, water and energy efficiency, the use of environmentally preferred products, recycled material and local, healthy products. Corbet is thrilled the way the partnership has worked. “Green building really requires a highly collaborative team approach. We brought our ideas to Kelly McArdle, they shared their ideas with us, and we met with trades people who shared their ideas as well. We ultimately incorporated the best of all the ideas”, Corbet stated.

The “mean” traditional ranch home is the average size, 2200 square feet, and cost $124.00 per square foot, less than the average price, to build. Corbet incorporated many of the “desired” features for the typical home of the future as described by the National Association of Homebuilders. The house has four bedrooms, two of which serve as the Corbets’ offices and have French doors that open to the living space, two bathrooms, an open living space with kitchen, eating area and family room, a screened porch, expansive rear patio, front porch and large two-car garage with a workshop. Corbet also chose to use a “cradle to grave” and universal design so many of the features in the home are elderly-friendly and hand-capped accessible.

Likewise, Corbet incorporated “lean” features. Although the house is a simple ranch design, it faces True South. It was designed with the proper sized overhangs, so that the winter sun comes through the front windows but the summer sun does not. Corbet also chose to use a concrete floor in the house which acts as a heat sink, collecting heat during the day and throwing heat off at night in the winter months. In addition, the south facing exposure, allowed Solar Pros of Lake Norman to easily install the solar panels for the SolarHot™ system supplied by SOLARNow which heats over 85% of the Corbets’ hot water. At Kelly McArdle’s suggestion, Corbet worked with Ferguson Bath & Kitchen Gallery to purchase Kohler™ and American Standard fixtures that are very high-efficiency products. Corbet further achieved water conservation with a BRAE™ rain-catchment system and the use of native, drought-tolerant plants, purchased from Farm House Gardeners, who landscaped the property.

In keeping with a lean house, Kelly McArdle believes that 90% of building green is about the building envelope and the energy efficiency. Towards that end, the discussions with Ross & Witmer, who designed and installed the HVAC system governing the heat and air conditioning as well as the ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator) and the fans through-out the house and garage, were particularly valuable. As Corbet stated, “We believe that the 52 HERS rating which is indicative of the fact that this “average home” will use about half the energy of a home built to code, was accomplished because Ross & Witmer did such a great job on our project”. Likewise, Corbet approached Kelly McArdle to partner with Members Interiors. Members Interior Construction sells ClimatePro™, a Johns Manville blown-in fiberglass insulation product. Danny Kelly believes, “The combination of upgraded blown-in insulation, 2×6 finger-jointed studs, advanced framing techniques, exterior foam sheathing, radiant barrier roof sheathing and the overall tightness of the structure made for a high-performance, energy-efficiency home.“

Corbet has not only built a “dream” home for himself but is planning to demonstrate that an “average” green home can satisfy the American dream – a home that is affordable, attractive, high quality and low maintenance. He also hopes to demonstrate that building green is not just for the wealthy; rather the average American family can build a durable, energy-efficient, healthy home that appreciates in value. He plans to use the home as a showcase to educate and empower others to build green.

Corbet spent almost two years working with Joy Kennedy Young, finding the right piece of land for the home. Once he purchased the land, Corbet worked with Charlotte architect Jim Gleeson, AIA in creating the house plan. Gleeson has been a pioneer in the field of green design for many years. Corbet then spent over a year interviewing builders while researching products that could be used in the home. He chose Kelly McArdle Construction. Kelly McArdle is an award-winning company which combines the latest construction methods and materials with traditional styles and attention to details.

The company’s philosophy as stated by Danny Kelly, “We are eager for people to see that you can build green and still have traditional details in your house” added to Corbets’ confidence in choosing the firm. Towards that end, the traditional brick ranch, uses brick purchased from Cunningham Brick and is 92% recycled brick. In addition, what appears to be a simple fireplace between the living space and the master bedroom is a Lennox(TM) model, with outside air supply, which can help serve to heat the house as well.

Corbet is very proud of the decision that he made with respect to the green kitchen. While visiting a cabinet-makers shop, Corbet noticed pieces of wood on the floor. When he inquired about the wood, he was told that it was Ambrosia Maple, a “scrap” wood that is used for interior furniture, not as cabinet doors. Corbet loved the unusual markings and patterns in the wood. After convincing Dave Anthes of Hardwood Creations that he really liked the look of the wood, Hardwood Creations partnered with him to do the kitchen cabinet doors, fireplace mantles and bathroom cabinet in the Ambrosia Maple. The interior cabinets are PureBond(TM), a Columbia Forest Products healthy choice and was supplied by Catawba Hardwoods.

Now that the house is completed, Corbet continues to educate others about building green. Corbet hopes “to partner with like-minded organizations – whose mission is to bring green building to the average person as a way to honor Mother Earth: her land, air, water and inhabitants as well as a way to put disposable income back into the pockets of the average person.”