A demolition down to two walls and the foundation was the basis for Anthony James Constructionís first Energy Star remodel.
courtesy Anthony James Construction A demolition down to two walls and the foundation was the basis for Anthony James Constructionís first Energy Star remodel.

Remodeler Anthony Cerami of Anthony James Construction, in Westfield, N.J., says that meeting Energy Star’s criteria for a remodeling project requires an extensive remodel, but it can be done with the “right project.” He found the right project in this ranch renovation.

The homeowners wanted to add a second story with a master suite and three bedrooms, a smaller addition along the back of the house for the great room, and a mudroom near the garage. To meet these goals, the crew at Anthony James Construction started by tearing down most of the structure, leaving a portion of two walls and the foundation intact.

Because this remodel involved almost a complete teardown of the existing house, it was a fitting project for Energy Star’s Qualified New Home Program, which is not specifically about green building or remodeling but focuses on the energy-efficiency of the house.

courtesy Anthony James Construction

The company is familiar with the requirements for the program because it builds two to three new homes per year and, in the past few years, has built six homes that have qualified. “We encourage our homeowners to meet the Energy Star program. It has simple procedures that are not difficult, and the expense is nominal to upgrade the house,” Cerami says.

Going the Distance

Anthony James Construction crews built on the ranch house foundation and used energy-efficient techniques and practices including: insulating the basement walls; sealing and caulking all sill plates; using mastic (not duct tape) on ductwork; installing Energy Star windows, doors, and HVAC, as well as an Energy Star hot water heater and appliances; and installing an air exchanger.

Just as with Energy Star new homes, this program requires a pre-drywall inspection and testing after completion. Cerami says that the application, inspections, and final testing are time-consuming. He estimates that using practices and products for the Energy Star label adds about $15,000 to a new $750,000 home. For renovations, it adds about $2,000 to $5,000.

But, he points out, green practices are part of the industry’s evolution. “It’s just like moving to fax machines and computers.”

—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.

Going Green

Remodeler Anthony Cerami, of Anthony James Construction, says that most of his clients are showing an interest in recycling and in increasing the energy efficiency of their homes to lower utility bills.

His website has a list of standard green practices that the company uses, as well as optional products and techniques.

Cerami includes the Energy Star label on company brochures, ads, vehicles, and its website. He recently added a simple “We’re Going Green” tag line to the company logo and ordered new polo shirts for the staff that have the tag line embroidered on the sleeve. The company is also listed in the contractor section of the Energy Star website. —N.P.