Archive for April 2012

I just noticed I haven’t written the Green Builders Journal  Blog since Feb. 27th.  Sorry for the delay.  I’ve been writing a Blog for City Ventures giving my opinion on some of the critical questions that everyone needs to answer when deciding “Where will I live”.  Writing two Blogs, as easy as it sounds, actually takes more time and thought than you’d think.  I will be writing a Green Builders Journal once a month for at least the rest of the year and two City Ventures Blogs a month for the rest of the year.  That way I’ll have written 24 of each Blog in the two years we’ve had our website.  I get a lot of response from them and look forward to any thoughts people may have.  The City Ventures Blog can also be accessed from our website.

City Ventures is having amazing success with our Greenkey program.  As a Company we’ve doubled in size the first two years of our existence.  We closed roughly 50 homes and did $25M in revenue the first year, 100 closings and $50M in revenue the second year and we’re on track to close 200 homes and $100M in revenue in 2012.  So we’re really busy but I enjoy writing the Blogs and will continue to no matter how busy we get.

So back to Greenkey.

Greenkey is our definition of what it means to be a Green Builder.   As I’ve said in previous Blogs, early on we used LEED certification as our defining Green strategy.  The LEED program certified that the home is Green by applying a point system to what the Builder puts in the home.  The problem is we discovered early on that LEED is expensive and cumbersome to utilize and worse, didn’t really offer the homeowner real cost savings for being Green.  We invented Greenkey as a means for defining Green Building by what we believe is the best.  Having done this for a few years, we feel we have a better gauge on what really matters to todays homebuyers when it comes to being Green AND saving money.  They want both.

So what makes a home Greenkey?

It starts by making our homes all electric.  That’s right I said ALL electric.  There is NO natural gas in our Greenkey projects.  At this point Gas and Electric are the only two sources of energy in the modern neighborhood.  Gas is the preferred choice because it’s cheaper than electricity.  The problem is that Gas won’t light your home or run your gadgets, computers and TV’s.  In most homes, Gas is used to heat hot water heaters, heat furnaces, run cooking appliances, and clothes dryers.  Obviously anything that needs heat.  There are electric versions of all this equipment, but the cost of the electricity to heat water, air, clothes, and food is WAY more expensive than Gas.  Thus Gas and Electric have been doing double duty in virtually all new homes.

As a Builder we have to install the infrastructure in each home that makes them able to provide Gas and Electric energy.  That’s not inexpensive and the cost is obviously built into the price of the home.  No one would buy the home if it were all electric because the cost every month to the homeowner would be so much larger than the Gas/Electric home.  I would venture to say the monthly electric bill would be triple to four times as great as the combination of a gas bill and an electric bill.  In fact it’s so energy INEFFICENT that in California, Title 24 would not allow you to even build the home because it wouldn’t meet State mandated energy efficiency requirements.  The utility companies would burn too much coal and fuel to provide the electricity needed to power all electric homes.

So how can City Ventures build and sell all electric homes?


That answer next month.  Hint:  The electricity cost will be zero, or close to zero.


Until then




The Green Builder’s Journal is written by Herb Gardner, President of City Ventures Home Building Group. Herb has 30 years experience managing the building of residential and apartment communities in over 60 municipalities in 3 different states.

A big proponent of in-fill communities and the urban lifestyle Mr. Gardner has extensive experience in all aspects of residential home building, ranging from land acquisition to warranty management, he specializes in managing teams of people in delivering communities on time, on budget and to the quality standards the marketplace demands.

For Questions, Feedback or observations you can Click here to Email Herb