Whitestown company helps “passive” homeowners


By Sophie Pappas

Last month, Custom Woodcraft Builders, an Indianapolis-based timber-frame builder, was recognized with five awards from the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis (BAGI) for its role in building Indiana’s first passive home during the Monroe County Builders Association Parade of Homes, which took place earlier this month.

A Whitestown company, The Beamery, was hired by Custom Woodcraft Builders to help construct the passive home.

According to the BAGI, a passive home uses 75 to 95 percent less energy than current new buildings that meet today’s U.S. energy efficiency codes, which means immediate savings starting with the first utility bill.

Zionsville resident and LEED-certification professional Tom Santelli said he hopes that more passive homes will come to Whitestown or Zionsville in the near future.

“That’s one of the things I would like to try and get motivated with through the Boone County Council,” said Santelli, who beat Gene Thompson for a seat on the Boone County Council in the May primary. “It’s disconcerting because there are not a lot of LEED standards being initiated in Boone County right now.”

The home that received the awards from BAGI is located in Nashville, Ind., and was built without a traditional furnace or air conditioner, and is sealed air tight to control air movement by use of a state-of-the-art air exchanger which pumps fresh clean air into the home.

 “The house is one-of-a-kind,” said David Marquart, owner of Custom Woodcraft Builders.

Special design features created by The Beamery include: handcrafted timber wood frames with peg joinery (no nails or screws), a centrally located 28-foot poplar tree with a wrap around spiral staircase and maple stair treads leading up the third floor loft, screened in porch with wrap around deck, walk out basement, and cypress wood from the Tennessee River.

“We just need to push more builders in this direction,” Santelli said. “I am happy to hear that The Beamery is helping an Indiana home like this.”

For maximum energy efficiency, the 4,500-square-foot home is wrapped in an envelope of foam made in Indiana, which is also under the basement floor. In addition, it features the following energy-efficient designs: R24 structurally insulated wall panels (also known as SIPs), LED lighting, triple pane windows, and energy-saving appliances.

The residential home faces south to get as much solar energy as possible through the long vertical windows, which allows the house to get more sun in the winter, and shade during the summer.

“The key to being energy-efficient is sealing the house, and then you can enjoy a constant year-round temperature indoors,” Marquart said. “Our contractors sported T-shirts all winter long while working on the home.”