Austin, TX (June 20, 2012) - From a covered back patio overlooking a scenic golf course, to a gourmet kitchen with granite counters and stainless steel appliances, Wilshire Homes’ new Oak Creek model in the Round Rock community of Teravista has plenty of bells and whistles.
But the most unique feature of this 3,574-square-foot home is its status as the first LEED-certified home completed by a volume builder in the Austin region. It is open to the public as a decorated model home in the new Fairway Estates neighborhood in Teravista, a 1,550-acre master-planned community located at I-35 North and University Blvd.
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system for the design, construction and operation of high performance green homes and buildings developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
This Wilshire home received its official LEED certification plaque from the USGBC Central Texas-Balcones Chapter in a recent ceremony attended by officials from that local chapter, along with Williamson County Commissioner Valerie Covey and representatives from Wilshire Homes and Newland Communities, the developer of Teravista.
“The opening of this new Wilshire home begins a significant new chapter for green building in Austin,” said Pam Losefsky, executive director of the USBGC Central Texas-Balcones Chapter. “While there have been a few high-end custom homes in the Austin area to receive LEED certification under the LEED for Home program, Wilshire Homes is the first volume builder to commit to building LEED-certified homes in the region.”
Wilshire Homes are priced from the mid $100,000s to over $600,000 in 12 Austin area communities. In Teravista’s Fairway Estates neighborhood, where the LEED certified model is located, Wilshire Homes are priced from the $400,000s to $600,000s and are offered on estate-sized 90-foot-wide homesites, many offering views of the Teravista Golf Club. Fairway Estates also offers new homes by Partners In Building, which has opened a new model next to the Wilshire model.
Wilshire also builds new homes priced from the low $200,000s in Teravista’s Huntington Villas neighborhood, and these homes are also now LEED certified.
Features contributing to the LEED certification include:
Energy saving features such as a home tightness test, to prevent air leakage, which can account for up to one-third of a home’s heat loss. Each home also has an individual A/C and heating blueprint to ensure properly sized units. Combustible appliances such as furnaces and water heaters are installed outside of the home’s thermal envelope.
Air quality. With studies showing that indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air, Wilshire’s LEED features include mechanically controlled fresh air intakes and 4-inch pleated MERV air filters.
Water efficiency measures include PEX plumbing with dedicated manifolds for each bathroom, allowing hot water to reach fixtures twice as quickly. Drought tolerant plants are used for landscaping.
Resource efficiency is another focus, and the use of engineered lumber means that fewer trees are cut down, and byproducts are recycled into new building materials. Exterior cladding materials, including brick and cementious fiber planks, have a 25-year guarantee.
Moisture management is key, since trapped moisture is a prime cause of defects. LEED standards call for a continuous, unobstructed drainage plane behind the exterior cladding material, so water can drain off and not sneak behind enclosed surfaces.
Third-party verification is another important area, and Wilshire’s process includes at least four independent verifications by groups including the EPA and Green Built Texas.
About the U.S. Green Building Council Central Texas – Balcones Chapter The U.S. Green Building Council Central Texas – Balcones Chapter is a mission-driven, 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. Founded in 2003, USGBC CT-B is the local chapter of the national U.S. Green Building Council, the leader in promoting sustainable building practices throughout the country and developer of the LEED rating system.
About Newland Communities Newland Communities is the largest private developer of planned residential and urban mixed-use communities in the United States. We believe it is our responsibility to create enduring, healthier communities for people to live life in ways that matter most to them. www.newlandcommunities.com
About Teravista Developed by Newland Communities, this Austin-area master-planned golf course community gives residents access to a community clubhouse and recreation center, with resort-style pool, fitness center, tennis, basketball, and more. Located in the thriving city of Round Rock, Texas- named one of the Top 10 Best Places to Live in the United States by CNN Money.