I know a great building team when I see one.  It’s the one with confident experts who raise expectations, lower egos, open up minds, and establish clear and ambitious goals. They work with passion and precision and don’t compromise on their standards unless it makes them better.  Great building teams quietly prove and improve themselves and their work over time and measure success by the qualities they bring to their homes and to the lives of the families who will live in them. I hope you proudly recognize your own team as you read this. 

And the best of the industry? These teams act with a sense of the larger role they play in contributing to, or diminishing, the sustainable health of their communities.

When I look at the team we’ve assembled to design and build the 2015 Greenbuild Unity Home--a 1,620-square-foot LEED Platinum, net zero-energy demonstration home that will be on display at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo this November in Washington, D.C.-- I see one of the best teams ever to take the field in our industry. Let’s start with our two partners, our builder Unity Homes based in Walpole, N.H., and The Cradle To Cradle Products Innovation Institute.  

Unity Homes is the two-year-old division of Tedd Benson’s 40-year-old Bensonwood Homes, launched to bring the powerful innovations and efficiencies of advanced off-site production to a growing line of affordable and practical high-performance homes. Unity’s integrated process, something Benson refers to as “montage building,” ties together rigorously developed design and performance standards; digitally synched architecture, engineering, and construction; detailed, tight production scheduling; and precision speed-cuts and joinery derived from the company’s computer-driven CNC machinery.  The quality and performance of this home, along with the production systems Unity uses in its assembly will hold lessons for builders everywhere. 

We’re also proud to announce that the Cradle To Cradle (C2C) Products Innovation Institute, which oversees the most comprehensive sustainable products certification program in the built environment, is once again helping us assemble a wide range of C2C-certified products for use in the project. C2C certifications are based on five independent product assessments that address material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. The organization recently launched a new separate Material Health Certificate to provide more information about chemicals of concern and their presence in products and the supply chain and to encourage manufacturers to begin shifting toward greener chemistry. 

And finally – we are very pleased that Steven Winter Associates has joined our team again this year to guide us toward LEED-v4 Platinum and WaterSense certifications, and SmithGroup JJR will lead us toward reaching our ambitious sustainable interior design goals. 

Mark your calendar now: The home will be open for guided tours during the Greenbuild show at the Washington, D.C., Convention Center, Nov. 18 to 20.

Rick Schwolsky’s monthly Greenbuild Unity Home Journal will chronicle each stage in the design and construction of the 2015 Greenbuild Unity Home, where BUILDER, Unity Homes, and the Cradle To Cradle Products Innovation Institute, along with leading product manufacturers, will reveal innovations in off-site production that deliver affordable advances in residential design, products, performance, resilience, and sustainability. Click here to see last month's entry.