Healthy, Environmentally Responsible Homes
Our houses are designed to work with their surroundings.
Lot owners may work with an approved architect to design a home that conforms to the Architectural and Environmental Guidelines or work with an approved architect in utilizing existing plans (see additional information below) or modifying these plans to suit the households' needs. Copies of the Architectural and Environmental Guidelines are available upon request to prospective purchasers.
Three nationally recognized architects, working with input from future residents and other experts, have designed six different classic, contemporary homes for EcoVillage. The three larger designs, ranging from 2,132 square feet to 2,873 square feet (including basement), offer 1 - 4 bedroom options. The three smaller designs, ranging from 1,440 square feet to 2,138 square feet (including basement), offer 1 - 3 bedroom options. EcoVillage homes can be personalized to your lifestyle and preferences by selecting from various options and alternates or by customization by an approved architect.
Each house has its own kitchen, bathrooms and living areas. The house designs eliminate wasted space yet offer plenty of extras such as porches, a first floor bedroom, vaulted ceilings and the capacity to serve as "growhomes" that can accept later building additions. Passive solar design creates bright living areas that connect beautifully with the outdoors.
Note that the six standard house designs will require modification by the owner's architect in order to meet current building code requirements and individual site and owner preferences.
Link to house plans (pdf)
Selection of construction material for EcoVillage homes and Common House has involved an in-depth review of each material according to criteria that represent EcoVillage twin goals for environmental sensitivity and marketability/affordability. Compromise was inevitable and thus final materials selection reflects a balance of sometimes competing values. Overall, construction materials have been selected according to the following criteria:
Energy efficient in summer and winter.
- Effect on the Macro Environment
- atmospheric impact
- water use and pollution
- resource depletion
- biodiversity and habitat loss
- embodied energy
- potential for energy saving
- recycled content
- potential for reuse/recyclability
- life span/durability
- waste produced during installation
- health issues in manufacturing process
- health hazards for installers
- health effects on users/occupants
In general, materials and techniques used in EcoVillage homes have been screened to reduce their adverse environmental and health impact during production, transport and use. The criteria of durability, aesthetics and value engineering also figured into the materials selection. In some cases, final decisions have not yet been made. The following description outlines a number of the products currently used, based on manufacturer information.
Geothermal Energy Systems
Utilizing electrical energy, geothermal systems are extremely efficient. Because they draw on the earth's constant temperature of approximately 55 degrees, geothermal systems use far less energy than air-to-air heat pumps. They can cut heating and cooling costs by 30% to 60% and provide hot water. They offer constant, even temperature and humidity control and have no pilot lights, chimneys, odors or fumes. They help reduce outdoor noise and air pollution. Each house includes a ventilator system to promote efficient exchange of fresh outdoor air with indoor air. www.fhp-mfg.com.
SIP being set in place at a building site.
Solar Thermal Panels
Some of the more recently constructed homes are using radiant heating that is provided by solar thermal panels. The solar thermal panels also provide hot water to these homes.
Foundations / Basements
All homes will have basements as a standard. Foundations are made of an eight-inch poured, reinforced concrete wall. Twenty percent of the Portland Cement is replaced with flyash. Fiber reinforcement may be used in slabs in place of welded wire fabric.
Structural insulated panels (SIP), or alternative materials with equivalent capability, will be used for above ground exterior walls (6 inches thick at R-24) and roofing (10 inches thick at R-40). SIP is a strong, one-piece structural system of oriented strand board that sandwiches expanded polystyrene insulation and lends itself to conventional building materials and methods. It will not twist or warp and provides optimum comfort for temperature, noise and dust control, and is insect repellent. No CFCs, HCFCs or HFCs are given off by the product. There is a lifetime limited warranty on SIP. www.rcontrolibs.com
Windows & Doors
High efficiency windows (R-4 as a minimum standard) are argon filled with low emissivity features to reduce solar bleaching effects on furnishings. Aluminum or fiber glass cladding requires limited maintenance. Because of the south facing placement of all homes and the placement of windows on all sides of the house, interior daylighting will reduce the need for artificial lighting. Insulated metal doors with magnetic weather stripping are planned for all exterior openings. www.weathershield.com
Made from 100% recycled vinyl and sawdust, EcoShake roofing shingles have an attractive woodshake appearance and are used in most of the homes. They are hail-proof and are warranted for 50 years. Colorants are solid throughout the product so the color cannot wear off, chip off or wash away. These shingles offer high resistance to moisture and are UV protected. Freeze/thaw cycling causes no cracking or deterioration. Shingles have a Class "A" fire rating and may lower household insurance premiums. www.oikos.com
Hardiplank looks like wood, but is a fiber-cement composition that installs like traditional sidings. It has a variety of surface textures that can be finished with paint. The product is immune to termite and insect damage. It is non-combustible, won't split, crack, rot, warp or buckle and comes with a 50 year warranty for the siding and a 15 year warranty for the exterior paint. www.jameshardie.com
Lighting, Electric Wiring & Telecommunications
Interior house lighting has been custom designed to complement the natural day lighting of these passive solar homes. The lighting design includes full spectrum florescent, low energy lights and automatic dimmer functions on some fixtures. Wall sconces will be featured in bedrooms and basements. Uplighting over kitchen cabinets will flood kitchen ceilings with light. Task lights over sinks and under cabinets will direct light to needed work areas. Where outdoor lighting is necessary, ground lights that preserve starlight, will be used throughout EcoVillage.
Homes have use innovative internal systems
Homes are pre-wired for telephone and video with outlets provided in each occupiable space. Optionally, homes may be pre-wired with "homerun" Enhanced CAT 5 cable for telephone/data/internet and RG6 cable for video in each occupiable space.
Plumbing Fixtures, Appliances, Wells & Septic Systems
EcoVillage homes have low-flow plumbing fixtures as a standard. Gerber Ultra Flush toilets have been selected by most homeowners. Gerber is the top choice of "Consumer Reports," with a siphon jet action that virtually eliminates double flushing of the 1.6 gallon per flush system. Maytag ranges and refrigerators are standard in all homes. The models are Energy Star rated and have extremely high energy efficiency ratings; excellent warranty and service. Individual wells are associated with each lot in the EcoVillage. Advanced, environmentally benign, pretreatment septic systems are standard for all homes.
EcoVillage property owners are welcome to use any licensed builder they wish for construction. Only individuals/organizations holding a sustainable builder certification (LEED® Accredited Professional or Green Advantage Residential Certification) are permitted to conduct major construction. Non-certified builders may bid on projects but must obtain certification prior to commencing construction. Information regarding a listing of builders used in the community as well as sustainable builder certification is available at the Association Office. Also see www.usgbc.org or www.greenadvantage.org.
EcoVillage property owners submit their house and landscaping plans for review and approval by the Architectural and Environmental Committee. During construction, owners are responsible for litter control, minimizing land disturbance, maintenance of silt fencing, etc. The Architectural and Environmental Committee assist property owners in achieving compliance with Architectural and Environmental Guidelines by providing advice, document approvals and periodic inspections.
Homes that meet certain energy standards may be eligible for special home loans called Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs). These mortgages allow consumers to buy more home--either through a traditional 2 percent stretch, which adds energy savings to income to qualify buyers for 2 percent more debt, or through flexible loan-to-value ratios of up to 100 percent of home value. There are standard EEMs with no upper income restrictions and ones for borrowers who are at or below 100 percent of area median income. For more information see:
To secure a lot and begin the construction process or to purchase a home, there are a multitude of financing options from which to choose. The following mortgage brokers have worked with buyers at EcoVillage before and can provide more information. They are prepared to help determine the mortgage arrangement that best suit your needs.
Sun Trust, 888-838-5726 (office)
CTX Mortgage Company
1728 Shookstown Road
Frederick, MD 21702