Lessons Learned Building A Lake Norman Green Home

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If you are new to the Lake Norman area you may not know that Jennifer Pippin is THE area expert in green housing.  She is chairperson of the Lake Norman Home Builders Association’s Green Building Council and is a frequent speaker in the greater Charlotte area about both environmental and green housing issues.  Below is a list Jennifer prepared for a presentation for the Center for the Environment at Catawba College.  It is her personal list of things she learned while converting her modest waterfront home into a spectacular green home.  Enjoy!


Lessons Learned Building a Green Home

By: Jennifer B. Pippin, AIBD, CPBD, CGP – Green Building Consultant  704-895-0000 

www.pippinhomedesigns.com        www.projectlivegreen.com


  • *        Choose a builder who is familiar with building Green or is willing to learn about it – they will more readily help you achieve your goals

  • *        Educate each sub-contractor on their role in greening your home, their individual tasks will ensure the energy efficiency of your home

  • *        Obtain current proof of insurance from each sub-contractor’s insurance company, not from the sub. This will verify that their coverage is up-to-date

  • *        Don’t hire the least expensive subs for your HVAC, Plumbing and Electric. These are all items that will be hidden after construction and you want to make sure they are all functionally properly, to avoid costly repairs later

  • *        Insist that everyone who makes a hole in your building, seals it, to make sure your Lake Norman home is as energy efficient as it can be

  • *        Do not remove your roof, until you’re ready to build over it. Removing it too early in the demolition process leaves you vulnerable to the weather

  • *        When tarping your home, make sure it is tented, to shed water. If not tented, it will collect water, pond and flood your home

  • *        Hire the best trim carpenter you can afford. They will be able to hide and fix a lot of things that others have done poorly along the way

  • *        The HVAC installer goes in first, then the plumber and then the electrician. The HVAC contractor has the most difficult job, so he must have the maximum flexibility to install his product, then the plumber has the next most challenging task and the electrician can usually install wires around anything

  • *        Verify that your plumber has installed shower heads at the right height, so it’s not too short for the people using it and has not left a big hole under your tub, which will be a huge energy waster if not sealed properly

  • *        Photograph the plumbing! If you have issues with it later, it should be easier to resolve with pictures

  • *        Did the Plumber remove the sewer vent caps? The plumber must cap off the vent stacks when testing the system and sometimes these caps will be forgotten

  • *        Ask for Low Sone Bath fans, which are quieter and ask for programmable thermostats, which cost a little more, but are worth it in energy savings

  • *        Supply the paint for your painter, so they will not be tempted to buy paint with VOC’s, which cost less and will be less likely to water down the paint

  • *        Provide your electrician with combo smoke and carbon detectors, otherwise they may install only smoke detectors

  • *        Housewrap and flashing must be installed properly, for it to work effectively

  • *        Do you understand how your whirlpool tub works, so that you’ll know what to do when it turns itself on in the middle of the night?

  • *        When buying skylights, order the proper flashing kits, to match your roofing material. This is critical to having skylights that will not leak

  • *        Hire a flooring installer who is familiar with installing your flooring type, otherwise, you may hear your trim guy saying “this is the worst flooring installation I have ever seen”.

*        Work with an experienced Lake Norman Green Building team!  


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