Wheaton Home Should Be First in Illinois to Achieve Emerald Certification

August 28, 2010

Only 12 new detached homes nationwide have achieved Emerald certification by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which signifies the highest achievement currently possible in residential green construction.

On pace to become lucky 13, as well as Illinois’ first Emerald status residence once it is completed and certified in early September, is a new single-family home in Wheaton crafted by JAW Builders, Inc. This one-of-a-kind, environmentally conscious home features a wealth of energy-efficient components and state-of-the-art green products designed to yield impressive savings on utility bills along with better indoor air quality.

“Our goal was to demonstrate that it is possible to build the highest quality green home within a reasonably sized footprint. From the start, we envisioned this as a green and healthy air home that’s affordable and achievable for most buyers in this area,” said Jason Werr, President of Wheaton-based JAW Builders, Inc. The Craftsman-style, 3,600-square-foot home—featuring five bedrooms, four baths and an ample basement—will serve as his family’s primary residence as well as a model for clients to tour.

Jason Werr at his Wheaton green home.

Werr’s new residential creation is so well designed, in fact, that it is targeted to achieve a rare score of 39 out of 100 on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index, which provides an easily understandable means to compare the relative energy efficiency of different homes. Each 1-point decrease in the HERS index corresponds to a 1 percent reduction in energy consumption. Thus, Werr’s HERS score of 39 means that it is 61 percent more energy efficient than the HERS Reference Home—which is quite an achievement.

One of the most important green components Werr had installed is an underground geothermal heating and cooling system by WaterFurnace that provides a renewable fuel source to maximize energy efficiency and eliminate carbon monoxide.

Other impressive green highlights in and around the JAW Builders home include:
•    Lifetime solar reflective roofing shingles that utilize contemporary granule technology to repel the sun’s rays and lower the roof’s surface temperature by up to 20 percent during warm months.
•    Low-maintenance recycled and engineered wood substrate siding with a 50-year paint warrantee.
•    Bamboo flooring, a renewable resource that is tougher than redwood and only takes up to seven years to mature versus 30 to 40 years for typical hardwoods.
•    Closed-cell foam insulation—a sprayed-on polyurethane foam that provides a higher R-value (21 in walls and 45 in ceilings) than standard fiberglass material (commonly R-13), prevents moisture transmission, blocks mold growth and improves the home’s structural strength.
•    An eco-paver patio hardscape consisting of permeable paver stones for efficient drainage of runoff water.
•    Energy-efficient windows with a 3.5 R value (versus <1.0 R for typical wood windows).

“To qualify for Emerald certification, a home must be at least 60 percent more energy efficient than a home built according to 2006 International Energy Conservation Code/Energy Star standards,” said Kevin Morrow, Senior Program Manager for Green Building with the NAHB, Washington, DC. “Earning this status demonstrates the highest pinnacle of green construction.”

Additionally, the home must be inspected and certified by an independent professional and earn a minimum number of points (697) in six different categories: energy efficiency; resource efficiency; water efficiency; indoor environmental quality; lot design, preparation and development; and operation, maintenance and building owner education. Werr’s residence is on target to earn over 800 points. Below Emerald, the next best status attainable is Gold, followed by Silver and Bronze. An Emerald-certified home has to tally more than three times the minimum points needed for a Bronze-certified home, which underscores how difficult it is to attain and how much careful planning is required by the builder.

JAW Builders is an Energy Star-qualified builder/remodeler and NAHB green-certified builder/remodeler, and Werr co-founded the NAHB Green Building Committee which helped develop green homebuilding guidelines and the 2008 National Green Building Standard that builders across the country follow today.

“We each have a responsibility to reduce our dependence on the earth’s natural resources and our carbon footprint,” said Werr, whose company name is an acronym derived from his initials.

To learn more about JAW Builders, Inc. and its construction and remodeling services, contact Jason Werr at (630) 546-4599 or visit

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About The Author

Read All Stories By Walsh Communications

Lynn Walsh is the President at Walsh Communications, LLC. Walsh Communications is a full-service public relations, marketing and advertising agency for home builders and real estate-related industries.



Great job.
Tony closets

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