Future Cozy

If you think the house of tomorrow is some antiseptic,
Jetsons-style space ship, think again. (Photos by Laura Moss)

While the home design and building industry have embraced many green concepts, the resulting abodes often have been modern, sterile boxes with minimal creature comforts. That does not have to be the case. Tyler Schmetterer and his business partner, Mark Jupiter, have designed and built an extensive line of modular—yes, as in pre-fab—homes that are on target to be certified LEED Platinum, the highest certification awarded. Their Jersey City-based company, New World Home, is a fast-growing producer of sustainable, factory-built, site-assembled homes that are country classics.

“Our basic principle is traditional architecture converged with state-of-the-art energy performance,” says Schmetterer. In other words, new homes that look like 200-year-old farmhouses that combine green ideas with all the bells and whistles of today.

“There is a misconception that a green home has to be über contemporary,” says Schmetterer. “So many green homes look like rocket ships. There’s nothing soft and warm and cozy in them.”

Recognizing this, Schmetterer and Jupiter set out to create an affordable, attractive, classic new home that exceeds the highest green performance standards in the building industry. And yes, it’s built in a factory and ready to move into in just a few months.

This home is part of New World Home’s Country Living Collection. Originally assembled as a showcase for NWH and Country Living magazine at the base of the World Financial Center in New York City, it was disassembled and carted on a flatbed truck to Sussex County, where it was reassembled on the grounds of Crystal Springs Resort.

“No one has ever set a house, un-set it, transported it then re-set it, ever,” Schmetterer says. The home, called the Hudson, now serves as a model home and design center for sales within Crystal Springs and around the state. The two bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home’s base price is $299,000; the upgraded model is $365,000. Schmetterer predicts that by the end of 2011 there will be 10 New World Homes finished and occupied in New Jersey.

New World Homes are designed and built with these green traits:

Energy efficiency:
All appliances are energy-star rated. Tankless hot-water heaters save energy by only heating water when needed. Double-paned windows admit sunlight but keep out heat and cold.

Clean air, low VOCs: Insulation is a combination of energy-efficient formaldehyde-free fiberglass and open-cell spray foam. Wallpaper and paint are free of potentially harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds). The screened-in wrap-around porch on this model encourages outdoor living.

Recycled, reclaimed materials: Wood floors are reclaimed elm. The kitchen island is built from rough-hewn unfinished barn wood and the cabinets have no added formaldehyde and low-VOC finishes. The bedroom carpeting is even made from recycled plastic soda bottles.

Smart exterior: The siding is made of low-maintenance fiber-cement. Roofing is fire-proof, energy-star rated and largely recycled. An attached drainage system collects rain, then distributes it to the yard.

Reduced footprint: At only 1,600 square feet, the house uses less energy but feels anything but small. The open floor plan makes the home seem larger, as does the 1,144-square-foot wrap-around screened porch. The entire house costs about $175 to $225 per square foot to build (exclusive of the land), which is competitive for the area, says Schmetterer.

Additionally, this house’s components were built in a Pennsylvania factory, where the controlled indoor setting significantly reduced waste. The entire building process, from start to finish, typically takes 120 days.
“We are the anti-McMansion,” says Schmetterer. “Yet, there’s no sacrificing future comfort.”

Resources:

New World Home
newworldhome.com

Country Living
countryliving.com/homegreenhome

Crystal Springs Resort
crystalspringsbuilders.com

Katie Ridder, interior designer
katieridder.com

Key Products:

Andersen windows and doors
andersen.com

Armstrong cabinets
armstrongcabinets.com

Benjamin Moore paints
benjaminmoore.com

James Hardie siding
jameshardie.com

Johns Manville insulation
johnsmanville.com

Mohawk hardwood floors
mohawkflooring.com

Teragren bamboo countertop
teragren.com

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Circular Reasoning:

New World Home isn’t the only green, pre-fab home-builder in New Jersey. Deltec Homes, a North Carolina-based leader in green building has erected 16 energy-efficient homes in the state. And you can’t miss them: Every Deltec home is round. The concept is that a circular shape allows for better air-flow, which makes it more energy-efficient. Roger Birnbaum and Kirsten Kane have lived in a Deltec home in Morristown for the past five years. Although not the original owners, they clearly see the advantages of a round house.

“The round interior really does help with air flow,” says Birnbaum. But it wasn’t just the energy efficiency that attracted them to the house—they loved the shape. “The house comes to a peak in the center,” explains Birnbaum, “so there’s a great feeling of openness. It’s probably 15- to 20-feet high at the peak.”

Additionally, whenever possible, Deltec homes are sited to take advantage of southern exposures. In Birnbaum and Kane’s home, there’s a curved wall of windows facing south, which allows sunlight to stream in all day, yet a wooded lot provides plenty of shade from the summer heat. “There’s a certain gracefulness to this house,” says Birnbaum. “There’s absolutely no sense that it arrived on a truck.”

For more information on Deltec, visit deltechomes.com.

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