Knoxville's First Group of Gold-Certified LEED Houses Opening

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email

Knoxville's First Group of Gold-Certified LEED Houses Opening

Posted: 12/11/2008
The City of Knoxville's Community Development Department and the Knox Housing Partnership will celebrate the completion of the first group of affordable Gold-certified LEED houses in the State of Tennessee on Saturday, December 13.

The Five Points Housing Fair and Grand Opening will be from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., at 722 S. Chestnut Street with a ribbon-cutting at 12 noon.

The seven houses - five located on Chestnut Street and two others nearby on Houston Street - join former Vice President Al Gore's home in Nashville as the only LEED certified homes in the state.

The moderately-priced homes, built by the Knox Housing Partnership with funding provided by the city's Community Development Department, are available to any qualified buyer. However down payment and other financial assistance will be available to low-to-moderate income families. 

"This is a great example of how the City and other agencies like KHP and the Partnership for Neighborhood Improvement are working together to make good things happen in our neighborhoods," said Mayor Bill Haslam. "We've been looking forward to this day. These are going to make great homes for some great families." 
KHP built the houses with Empowerment Zone (EZ) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The City of Knoxville administers the EZ program in cooperation with the Partnership for Neighborhood Improvement (PNI). Additional HUD funds are available to lower the purchase price for qualified buyers.

The homes were also built on formerly rundown lots obtained by KHP through the city's Homemaker Program. 
"This ground breaking development demonstrates that innovative high quality development can be brought to our inner city neighborhoods through creative public private partnerships. Each homebuyer, our neighborhoods and the environment will all benefit from these beautiful homes," said Madeline Rogero, director of community development for the city of Knoxville.

The homes will be open for viewing during the housing fair on Saturday.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a standard created by the U.S. Green Building Council based on strict measures for environmentally sustainable and energy efficient construction.

Gold certification is the second highest level of LEED certification offered by the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED certification is based on stringent standards including water and energy efficiency, materials and resources used in construction and indoor environmental quality among others. The certification for these houses, for example, was based on elements like energy efficient windows, doors and light fixtures, low-flow toilets and landscape design that will minimize rainwater runoff among many other features.

All LEED certified homes are high quality structures that use resources more efficiently than conventionally constructed homes that meet city code standards. The U.S. Green Building Council rates LEED certified homes at four levels based on performance, ranging from certified to silver, gold and platinum certifications.

The seven houses located at 714, 718, 722, 730, and 732 Chestnut Street and 418 and 422 Houston Street range in size from 1245 square feet to 1256 square feet. All are three-bedroom and two-bath homes. The homes are designed to be visitable and meet the Energy Star New Homes energy efficiency standards. Visitable homes offer a few specific features that make the home easier for people with mobility impairments to live in and visit.

The green construction practices will make a significant difference in heating and cooling the houses. Electric bills, for example, are expected to be 30% less in these houses than conventionally-built new homes.

The Knoxville Housing Partnership builds affordable housing and offers down payment assistance and homebuyers education programs in addition to providing affordable rental housing and senior housing among other services. 
"Knoxvillians should be very proud of these 7 LEED Gold homes. They will serve as a model for green residential development and reinvestment in our city's neighborhoods. The new homeowners will benefit from lower utility costs and our city will benefit from a cleaner environment," Rogero said.