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In order to minimize the impact of house construction on the climate and maximize the resilience of the homes to the effects of climate change we are embracing sustainable and resilient building practices and guidelines.

General Guidelines

Net Zero

Houses will be built in such a way that they are net zero ready. This means that the building envelope uses energy efficient construction with a continuous insulating envelope all around the building which minimizes heat losses. In addition to the insulating envelope there also needs to be an airtight layer as most insulation materials are not airtight. Both insulation and airtight layers need to be continuous.

Size Restriction

Buildings will have a maximum size limit.

General Building Materials Guideline

Homes shall avoid the use of materials with high GWP (Global Warming Potential). The BEAM tool can help identify the best choices for building materials in any given assembly.


All homes in First Light Neighborhood shall have solar roofs. One option is Tesla solar roof tile roofs as they carry both the highest fire rating as well as highest wind rating while also producing solar energy. While generally solar roof tiles are more expensive and less efficient than solar panels, not installing asphalt shingles or metal roofs in the first place offsets the cost.

Fortified Gold

FORTIFIED is a voluntary construction and re-roofing program designed to strengthen homes and commercial buildings against severe weather such as high winds, hail, hurricanes, and even tornadoes. When protecting against severe weather, your roof is the first line of defense. It’s also the most vulnerable. FORTIFIED Gold includes enhanced nailing, a sealed roof deck and locked down edges – to give your home its best chance of weathering a storm. See


Siding shall be fiber-cement (when available with recycled wood fiber and fly ash) for it's durability and fire resistance.

Rainwater Catchment

All homes shall have an underground rainwater tank system to ease the pressure on the two wells which provide water to the community.

Electrification Priority

According to the New York Times burning gas is now a bigger source of pollution than burning coal in residential and commercial buildings. Since First Light Neighborhood will produce renewable energy from the solar roofs, electrification makes the most sense. Homes therefore will not rely on fossil-fuels, other than an EPA certified wood stove or efficient masonry stove, for backup heat.


All appliances shall at a minimum be Energy Star rated but cooktops shall be Induction cooktops. They are the newest cooktop innovation which takes the efficiency of electric cooking to another level with more precision and speed.

Plumbing Fixtures

All plumbing fixtures shall at a minimum have a WaterSense label.

Unity Homes

There is a panelized building company in our region called Unity Homes which can provide a net zero ready shell in 5 basic designs with many variations. We are showing examples of their designs here. The advantage of working with them is that their off-site construction methods bring a degree of predictability to the quality and schedule that is rare when a home is built entirely on site. It also means that variables such as weather, time of year or availability of subcontractors is not a factor. Once the shell is in place Basswood Builders will act as the General Contractor, working with the homeowner to complete the construction.

Architect Designed Homes

If you plan to work with an architect to design your home, the home needs to follow all of the above guidelines.

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