Emerald House


The home of green initiatives…

Why is Sustainable Development so important?

The environment is where we live. Development is what we do to improve our lives within the abode. You cannot separate the two. In order to sustain human progress, we must build in ways that protect the environment and in that process ensure that such development will serve future generations.

Global leaders have long recognized that the development paths of our nations are unsustainable. In October 1987, the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations published a report entitled “Our Common Future,” which introduced the most commonly cited definition to date:

Sustainable development is develop-ment that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of further generations to meet their own needs.

What are the benefits of building an NAHB Emerald Certified house?

This house is a local example of a sustainable, affordable, high performance single family residence. Some of the benefits of this green building project include:

Community Benefits
  • Improvement of vacant county-owned land, where a dilapidated structure will be deconstructed
  • Reduction of air and water pollution through innovative landscaping, rainwater harvesting and storm  water management
  • Increased use of local and regional purchasing for construction materials
  • Team building through design process and volunteer efforts
Economic Benefits
  • Addition to affordable housing stock
    Lower home operating costs due to energy efficiency, water conservation and use of durable materials requiring less maintenance
  • Increased property value added to tax base
  • Creation of new business opportunities for contractors and sub-contractors interested in innovative building design and home performance auditing and verification
Environmental Benefits
  • Protection of local area wetland and other natural features on-site
  • Erosion control due to on-site infiltration system and compostable soil amendment
  • Reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to 60% less energy use compared to comparable house
  • Reduced draw on local water supply (70% less than comparable house) due to water conservation measures
Social Benefits
  • Healthy indoor air quality due to low-VOC paints, finishes, adhesives, cabinetry and trim; non-ducted HVAC system; no fireplace, woodstove or garage
  • Access within one-half mile to mass transit and community amenities
    Enhanced quality of life from fresh fruit (trees) and berries
  • Universal Access Design for aging in place and ease of mobility through the rooms.

Imagine if everyone could live in a house like this… a house that produces as much energy as it consumes; one that isn’t an energy drain on our energy grid – a house that offers healthy indoor air, and is affordable. This is a better American Dream.

Featured articles


What is the impact of building and why is it important? The benefits of the PCEH House are immense, and include community benefits, economic benefits, enviornmental benefits and social benefits. Read more.

Design & Features

What is a high-performance home? The five elements of sustainable building relate to energy, health, land, materials, and water. This single-family home includes a modern and stylish look too. Read more.


PCEH was constructed to meet the criteria for five complimentary third-party certification program. In particular, the National Green Building Standard (NGBS ICC 700-2008) includes five common green building practice arenas. Read more. 


Emerald Certification is the most stringent certification and highest achievement in sustainable building by the National Association of Home Builders under the National Green Building standards based on budget, land and resources. Read more.