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Sustainable Construction in Virginia: The Path Forward with AeroBarrier

AeroBarrier is the only method to reach any level of air tightness, the first time, every time.

Virginia's unique approach to sustainability is evident in its definition and certification of green buildings. The state recognizes the importance of energy efficiency and has set standards that encourage builders to adopt sustainable practices. Being located near public transportation and using specific roofing techniques to combat the urban “heat island effect” are also highlighted as sustainable practices.

Moreover, the state offers a plethora of incentives, ranging from tax exemptions for energy-efficient buildings to rebates for homeowners who invest in programmable thermostats. These incentives not only make sustainable construction financially attractive but also underscore the state's commitment to a greener future.

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Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality is supporting sustainable construction.

AeroBarrier: The Future of Sustainable Homebuilding in Virginia

One of the critical components of sustainable construction is ensuring that buildings are energy efficient. This is where AeroBarrier comes into play. AeroBarrier's air sealing technology addresses one of the most significant challenges in sustainable construction: air leaks.

Air leaks can account for up to 30% of a home's energy loss, leading to increased energy consumption and higher utility bills. By effectively sealing these leaks, AeroBarrier ensures that homes are not just energy efficient but also healthier and more comfortable. The technology works by applying a mist of sealant particles into the building space. As the sealant particles are drawn to the leaks, they accumulate and seal the gaps, making the building airtight.

Incorporating AeroBarrier into the Virginia homebuilding market can revolutionize the way homes are built. By ensuring that homes are airtight, builders can guarantee that the energy-saving measures they implement, such as high-efficiency HVAC systems or insulation, work optimally. This not only reduces the carbon footprint of the building but also translates to significant cost savings for homeowners in the long run.

Programs and Financial Incentives by Virginia DEQ:

Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has been instrumental in promoting sustainable construction through a variety of programs and financial incentives. These initiatives not only underscore the state's commitment to a greener future but also make sustainable construction financially attractive for builders and homeowners alike. Below are a list of several programs that are in place or being developed in Virginia to aid in sustainable construction. Realizing the financial savings that can be obtained by participating in some of these programs allows for the offset of additional upgrades like AeroBarrier to reach efficiency goals. It's also important to note how air sealing a home or building can also lead to a reduction in the heating and cooling load, allowing for up front savings when builders are able to install smaller units that are properly designed for the higher efficiency environment.

Energy Efficient Buildings Tax Exemption:

  • Applicable to businesses, industries, and residents.
  • Allows localities to exempt or partially exempt energy-efficient buildings from local property taxes. Eligible buildings exceed the energy efficiency standards of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code by 30% or meet specific green building standards.

Inflation Reduction Act:

  • The Virginia Department of Energy is developing information to support consumer rebates and tax credits under this act.

Weatherization Assistance Program:

  • For low-income homeowners and renters.
  • Provides funds to reduce heating and cooling costs, ensuring health and safety. It includes repairs and improvements to home heating and cooling systems and the installation of energy-saving measures.

Programmable Thermostat Rebate:

  • For customers of Charlottesville Gas.
  • Eligible homeowners or property owners can get up to $100 toward the purchase/installation of a programmable thermostat and a $200 tankless water heater rebate.

WarmWise Home Savings Program:

  • For residential customers of Columbia Gas of Virginia.
  • Offers cash back rebates for qualifying energy-saving upgrades and a free energy efficiency kit.

Green Mortgages:

  • For small businesses, homeowners refinancing, and soon-to-be homeowners.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers loan guarantees for energy-efficient initiatives.

C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy):

  • For commercial, multifamily, and nonprofit buildings.
  • Enables private sector loans for clean energy and resiliency projects.

Solar Energy Equipment Tax Exemption:

  • For businesses, industries, and residents.
  • Localities can exempt or partially exempt solar energy equipment from local property taxes.

Wood, Alternative Energy, or Cogeneration Tax Exemption:

  • For businesses and industries.
  • Exemption or partial exemption for equipment used to convert from oil or natural gas to alternative energy sources.

Business Energy Investment Tax Credit:

  • For commercial, industrial, and utility facilities.
  • A federal tax credit for electricity generated by qualified renewable energy resources.

USDA Rural Energy for America Program Grants:

  • For various entities including state and local government entities, tribal governments, and more.
  • Promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy through grants and loan guarantees.

Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit:

  • For commercial and industrial facilities.
  • A federal tax credit for electricity generated by qualified renewable energy resources.

Net Metering:

  • A billing mechanism that credits consumers who generate their own electricity. Virginia's law covers residential systems up to 10 kW and commercial systems up to 500 kW.

For a comprehensive list and detailed information on each incentive, you can visit the Virginia DEQ's Programs and Financial Incentives page.

Did you know?

In July of 2021, Virginia adopted the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) with some amendments. Included in amendments is a requirement for all new construction homes to meet a 5 ACH50 blower door test.

Consistently achieving a blower door test result of 5 ACH50 (air changes per hour at 50 Pascals) can be challenging, especially when working in an environment with very high volume. It requires careful attention to building design, construction techniques, and the implementation of proper air sealing measures. Builders need to pay close attention to details and ensure a comprehensive air barrier throughout the building envelope to minimize air leakage.

This is why AeroBarrier is such an attractive solution for builders in the state of Virginia. If you would like to explore this option for your projects, contact us to discuss our demo and pilot project opportunities.

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