Each year, the home tour at the beginning of the NAHB National Green Building Conference showcases what the host city’s green pros have to offer local buyers. For the 2010 conference, being held May 16-18 in Raleigh, N.C., six builders and remodelers opened up recent projects ranging from a luxury custom home on a remote horse farm to a downtown Durham remodel that paid special attention to materials reuse.

To learn more, see the descriptions below and click on the slide show at left for design and product highlights.

Home No. 1: Eco Building Group’s High-End Spec Home
Located in a heavily wooded lot 100 yards from the 5,500-acre Umstead State Park, this luxury home is designed for outdoor living, including several screened-in porches and an outdoor shower. High-end finishes and custom touches highlight builder Hank Wall’s woodworking background, with built-ins and trim details throughout. Product selections for this ANSI-Silver home include pervious outdoor pavers and gravel, Icynene spray-foam insulation, Pella Premium low-E windows, Grohe WaterCare WaterSense-certified lav faucets, Kohler dual-flush toilets, a Trane 16-SEER heat pump, Rinnai tankless water heaters, dimmable Cree LED lights, zero-VOC paints, two 550-gallon rainwater collection tanks, Bosch Energy Star-rated appliances, and garage recycling center. The home achieved a HERS rating of 61.

Home No. 2: Chandler Design-Build’s Custom Home
Nestled on a large, woody property with a studio and horse barn, this home’s rustic exterior and interior fit perfectly with its surroundings. Visitors immediately notice the reclaimed bark siding as well as the flooring, countertops, and exposed beams crafted from locally reclaimed heart pine and the locally sourced yellow pine trim and ceilings. The house, which reached ANSI-Gold and a HERS rating of 58, features ICFs around the crawlspace and micro-filament fiberglass insulation. Other selections include motion-sensor bath fans, solar hot water, WaterSense-certified faucets, 15-SEER zoned heating and air conditioning, and Peachtree Energy Star, self-cleaning windows.

House No. 3: M Squared's Green Pair
Tourgoers visited one of Michele Meyers’ two side-by-side green homes that back up to a lake. The newer of the two reached ANSI-Gold and a HERS rating of 54, with features including geothermal, Energy Star-labeled lighting, spray-foam insulation, structural insulated sheathing, Toto WaterSense toilets, and Danze WaterSense faucets. The older home, which earned Gold under the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines in 2008 and a HERS rating of 79, includes a recycled concrete front walk, native landscaping, an EPA-approved wood-burning fireplace, sustainable cabinetry, and aging-in-place details.

House No. 4: Cimarron Homes’ Affordable Green Development
Tourgoers walked through two houses in Cimarron’s development of homes that combine looks very traditional to the area and priced at market rate—yet that manage to offer high-performance, efficient features and products. The 2,137-square-foot model reached ANSI-Silver and a HERS rating of 74. It includes Moen WaterSense faucets, an Aprilaire filter, Frigidaire Energy Star-labeled appliances, and low-VOC paint. Craig Morrison and David Winters report that 2009 came close to the builder’s best year ever, proving the power of affordable green, even in a recession. Keeping the homes at reasonable prices requires a lot of hard work, says Winters, including constant research for new high-value products and educating subs and buyers.

House No. 5: BuildSense’s Downtown Durham Remodel
Much of the character of this 100-year-old home remains—largely in part to BuildSense and Studio B Architecture’s efforts toward resource efficiency and reuse. The NAHB-Silver house includes the original hardwood flooring, siding, trim, and interior doors, and deconstructed portions of the structure were repurposed, recycled, or donated. Mechanicals, plumbing, and electrical were upgraded, and the walls and roof deck were insulated with spray-foam. Other highlights include argon-filled windows, WaterSense-labeled fixtures, zero-VOC paints and sealants, and a mechanical ventilation system.

House No. 6: Builders of Hope’s Affordable Remodeled Homes
The non-profit Builders of Hope specializes in high-performance rehabs of abandoned or donated houses—either in place or after moving them to new neighborhoods. When complete, State Street will include nine remodeled homes relocated from other areas of Raleigh. The homes on the tour were gutted and rebuilt with soy-foam insulation, low-E windows, Energy Star appliances, WaterSense faucets, sealed crawlspaces and attics, formaldehyde-free cabinets, low-VOC paints, fiber-cement siding, and either the original hardwood flooring or bamboo. In addition to the benefits of transforming dilapidated structures into high-performance homes, Builders of Hope provides employment, social counseling, and job training to at-risk individuals. Though priced below market rate ($109,000 to $154,000 on State Street), the homes boast Energy Star, LEED, and North Carolina HealthyBuilt certifications.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Raleigh, NC, Durham, NC.