The Roanoker - September/October 2014 - 89
efficiency, based on its low Home Energy Rating
Score, or HERS, a rating system that measures
The Smiths, both engineers, relocated from
Atlanta to Blacksburg and moved into the house
in August 2013. They hired Green Valley Builders
of Blacksburg to design and construct their green
"We wanted to build a home that would be
inexpensive to own in respect to utilities," says Joan
Smith. "We've seen how quickly houses age and what
Green Valley is building the Mount Tabor
Meadows community with an energy-conservation
vision. All of the homes are certified by EarthCraft,
a green building certification program for homes
in Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, South
Carolina and North Carolina. So far, there are 30
homes in this community off North Main Street,
and 50 total lots.
The Smiths' three-bedroom abode uses very little
energy. That's largely because of the home's tight
insulation, a feature of Green Valley houses, says
Justin Boyle, co-owner of the company.
The key is to create a "tight envelope" that allows
air flow to be controlled, he says.
Solar tubes in the Smiths' ceiling shine light
into the living room. These tubes are more energy
efficient than skylights because they extend higher,
keeping air from traveling into the house, Joan Smith
says. The Smiths' living room opens up into an eat-in
kitchen with gray-green colored cabinets and high
end energy efficient Mueller appliances.
A laundry room and a spacious master bedroom
and bathroom complete the main floor.
The rest of the house is downstairs. The Smiths
opted to have half of the house built underground,
which keeps the lower rooms 50 percent cooler than
the rest of the home and reduces cooling costs.
"We have central air conditioning, but it doesn't
Joan and Howard Smith's
(right) Blacksburg home
(left) ranked No. 2 in the
state last year in energy