Builder uses durability, efficiency to go green

Builder uses durability, efficiency to go green

November 13th, 2010 by Brittany Cofer in Business Around the Region

Staff Photo by Laura-Chase McGehee/Chattanooga Times Free Press Collier Construction focuses on green building techniques in these newly finished townhomes at Hamilton Heights. Collier focuses on making the "bones" of a home green versus the appliances. Collier uses window light as one of its most prominent design features of green homes.

Staff Photo by Laura-Chase McGehee/Chattanooga Times Free Press Collier...

What: Green homebuilding techniques that emphasize utility and cost savings through energy efficient design and construction practices.

Company: Collier Construction

Location: 250 Signal Mountain Road

How it's green: Durable materials are used during the building process to create a finished product that does not need constantly to be replaced, said Ethan Collier, president and chief executive. Energy-efficient light and water fixtures add to the eco-friendliness of the home, but "structure is the key part to get right," he said. "You can buy high efficiency appliances and plug them in later. A green home shouldn't be geared around products."

How long will it last? On average, houses are built to last about 50 years, Collier said, but many of the components must be replaced or refurbished multiple times during that life cycle. "The goal in green construction is to build a home to last double that time," he said. "All of the exterior surfaces are durable ... and should all last 100 years. Yeah, there's some upfront cost, but in the long-term you don't have to spend money replacing them."

Why do it this way? Collier's goal when he started his business a decade ago was to "build better," he said. It wasn't until after several years of building energy-efficient dwellings that he realized he was also helping the environment by cutting back on utility costs through creating homes with more insulation and natural lighting.

Plans for expanding: Though Collier Construction focuses on residential building, Collier said he hopes to integrate more commercial building into his business's repertoire.

Advice for others considering green initiatives: "The most important thing is to be genuine," Collier said. "Make sure it's really who you are."

-- Compiled by staff writer Brittany Cofer