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MailTribune.com
  • Green Villages Sprouting in Talent and Grants Pass

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  • A Medford builder has announced plans for two “green,” energy-efficient housing projects in the Rogue Valley.
    Eric Artner, owner of Eric Artner Construction, has proposed a 39-acre green village in Talent that will include 100 townhomes and 52 single-family houses that will be certified by Earth Advantage, a Portland-based organization that sets standards for earth-friendly homes.
    The village, to be called Pacific Stage Heights, is located above Talent Avenue at Belmont Road. The project will include a four-mile interpretive trail system, a park, tennis courts, community gardens and a conservation area, while the homes will feature energy-efficient lighting and appliances, low-VOC paints, state-of-the-art insulation and windows, and be built according to Earth Advantage standards that require environmentally responsible building practices.
    A key part of the project is use of a wetlands area on the property, which will act as a natural filter for storm water runoff, says Matt Small, a Medford architect involved in the project.
    Artner is also at work on a green project in Grants Pass called Maple Park that will feature 88 townhomes adjacent to Centennial Park. Like the project in Talent, the townhomes will be certified by Earth Advantage for their use of energy-efficient and eco-friendly materials and practices.
    Twenty-four townhomes have already been built in Maple Park. The rest should completed within 12 to 18 months.
    Artner, a relative newcomer to the concept of green building, says he didn’t start off by thinking about Earth Advantage standards when he planned Pacific Stage Heights. “I thought about how to build a great project. Whether you think green or not, I think you’d like to live here anyway. This will be an area in the community where people will be proud to live.”
    Green projects like the two Artner is building have become popular in Portland and Bend, where 12 to 15 percent of new construction is earth-friendly, but the concept is still new to Southern Oregon. A Shady Cove developer recently broke ground on a 45-home Earth Advantage project, and a handful of custom-built homes have been built to Energy Star and Earth Advantage standards. But no one has yet embarked on a green project as large as Pacific Stage Heights or Maple Park.
    “We’ve always seen a need for this,” Artner says. “As projects have come along, we’ve seen that people are ready for the concept. I think it’s good stewardship, and it’s especially good stewardship to show people it can be done in this size project.”
    Fred Gant, a former custom-home builder who runs the Earth Advantage program in Southern Oregon, is excited about Artner’s projects. “The really unique thing about Pacific Stage is that the entire project is a green design. There is an intelligence to the way things are laid out and used. They are making it into an entirely green and healthy community.”
    To be eligible for Earth Advantage certification, a home must score at least 50 points in four different categories. The first is energy efficiency, meaning a house must meet the federal-government’s Energy Star standard for reduced energy use.
    Second, it must meet clean indoor air standards, which may involve such options as air filtration systems, controlled ventilation and low-toxic building materials.
    Third, the home must exhibit environmental responsibility, meaning materials and methods used to build the house contribute to a cleaner environment. Fourth, the house must exhibit resource efficiency. Highly efficient appliances that conserve resources can be part of the equation, along with recycled materials, and construction techniques that reduce waste.
    All of the houses in Pacific Stage Heights and Maple Park will meet the minimum standards of Earth Advantage, but Artner will offer buyers the chance to go beyond the minimum standards by incorporating solar power, geothermal features and other options.
    “We’ll offer options above the basic package, so if someone really wants to go green, they can do it,” Artner says.
    Houses in Pacific Stage will range from $250,000 to $420,000. Lot sizes range from 80,000 square feet to two acres. Townhomes at Maple Park start out at $224,900.

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